This is part of our Take a Closer Look series. This regular feature offers a behind-the-scenes view of some of our hidden treasures in our library and what they reveal about our shared past.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875—1950), best known as the creator of the Tarzan books, also wrote a popular science fiction series featuring the thrilling adventures of John Carter of Mars (and Virginia). The eleven books deal with the exploits of Captain Carter, a Confederate officer who left his native state of Virginia after the Civil War and headed west to prospect for gold. He found ore worth millions but was attacked by Apaches before he could mine it. He escaped to a mysterious cave, fell asleep and awoke to find that he had been transported to Mars, a dying planet inhabited by warring kingdoms. Displaying great courage and skill, Carter rose to the position of Warlord, after battling giant rats, headless humans, and a deadly radio beam known as the Gridly Wave.
The first of the John Carter books appeared in 1917, and ten sequels followed over the next three decades, further developing Burroughs’s vision of the mysterious red planet, known to its local inhabitants as Barsoom.
The cover art is by Frank E. Schoonover, one of the premier illustrators of his day.