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"Edgar Rice Burroughs was, and is, the most influential writer, bar none, of our century." - Ray Bradbury
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Grace and Stanleigh B. Vinson in their home, c. 1954

Photo by Bill Graham.

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The Vinson Collection on display at The Book Shop (Mansfield, OH), c. 1960.

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Stanleigh B. Vinson in his office, c. 1954.

Photo by Bill Graham.


Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) was one of the most prolific and influential American authors of the 20th century. His literary debut, an adventure story featuring the character John Carter on the distant planet of Mars (“Barsoom”), appeared as serialized stories in the pulp-fiction magazine The All-Story beginning in 1912, and gained him widespread readership among American youth. Having spent most of his early life working low wage jobs as a ranch hand, miner, railroader, and pencil-sharpener salesman, Burroughs was an unexpected literary icon. His stories resonated with readers and his audience grew rapidly and exponentially.


Within nine months of the Barsoom Series’ first appearance in The All-Story, Burroughs had completed two additional novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, which instantly became a cultural sensation. Burroughs moved swiftly to capitalize on a budding literary enterprise and against the advice of his literary agents, the character of Tarzan began appearing in films, comic strips, and merchandise.

Burroughs’ serialized stories for the series Barsoom, Tarzan, Pellucidar, Caspak, and Mucker, along with various independent stories including jungle adventure, science fiction, western, and historical novels were published at a feverish pace between 1912 and 1918, arguably the most productive period of the author’s decades long career. During this period, Burroughs purchased a large ranch north of Los Angeles, CA which he lovingly called “Tarzana”, and by 1923, had established his own publishing company: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

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Burroughs holding a copy of Tarzan and the Lion Man, 1st ed., c. 1933.

Courtesy of ERB, Inc.

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Burroughs continued to publish novels throughout the 1930s via Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and while his stories remained popular with international readership, the author's vigorous spring of output calmed with age and success. From 1934 to 1937, Burroughs turned his attention to the film industry, co-founding the financially strained and therefore short-lived studio: Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises. Following the United States' declaration of war on the Empire of Japan, and having experienced the attack on Pearl Harbor from the adjacent shores of Honolulu, Burroughs applied for and became a war correspondent. By the late 1940s, declining health retired Burroughs to his home in California where he passed away in 1950 at age 75.

Letter written to J. Allen St. John by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1920.



The Vinson Collection is a multi-generational, family collection comprised of artwork, literature, and memorabilia celebrating the masterful storytelling of American author, Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). It is the most thorough compilation of Burroughs' literature and illustration outside of the Edgar Rice Burroughs' estate.


Stanleigh B. Vinson began collecting Edgar Rice Burroughs stories in the early 1940s. His pursuit to become the leading authority on the author began as a bet during a friendly debate in which Stanleigh stated: “You can become an expert at anything, if you put your mind to it, in 10 years.”


In the beginning, Stanleigh collected first-edition copies of Burroughs' books, published stories, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. He befriended J. Allen St. John (American, 1875-1957), the artist responsible for illustrating more than half of the author's books. Out of their mutual admiration of Burroughs' storytelling, the two men formed a lasting bond. The friendship spanned decades, a period of time in which Vinson acquired original artwork by St. John, including published cover art and interior illustrations featuring Burroughs' scenes and characters. Vinson commissioned St. John to create a self-portrait of the artist, a portrait of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a reproduction of the lost painting The Golden Lion.


Stanleigh B. Vinson is considered to have been the leading most expert on Edgar Rice Burroughs and the collection is testament to his knowledge and passion; a passion inherited by his son, S. Bradleigh Vinson, PhD.

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Stanleigh B. Vinson, c. 1965.

Drawn to the strange animals and environments described in Burrough's stories, particularly those from the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars series, Bradleigh, a renowned entomologist, picked up where his father left off. Under his stewardship, the collection grew vastly to include Burroughs illustrations from books and magazines published in the later half of the 20th-century, memorabilia, comic strips, original films, and movie posters.


Now in the care of Bradleigh's children, Shirleigh and Brent Vinson, the collection is published here in recognition of Stanleigh and Bradleigh's lifetime commitment to the preservation of the art and story of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Vinson family invites you to explore select works from the collection below.

S. Bradleigh Vinson and The Golden Lion, c. 2004.




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