The controversy surrounding Vinson’s “Hell Bent” no doubt continued in the November issue; unfortunately, we’ll never know as that is one of the missing issues. And, while the actual mailing lists for the September and October issues don’t survive, some of the comments that were written on them were included in “The Commentary” section of the December issue. The relevant passages follow:

Besides the above, Mooney also included the following, signed by “S.A.S.”:

Bob Howard’s poetry is, as a usual thing, delightful to an extraordinary degree, but I must say that his “A Hairy-Chested Idealist Sings” is distinctly disappointing. There is very little that may be commended in the poem, and, after reading it over several times, I was reluctantly forced to conclude that a page and a half of that issue of The Junto was wasted, insofar as I was concerned.

Undoubtedly “A.M.Y.” is “hell bent,” if there is a hell. But, also undoubtedly, he will not lack for company, and I am sure that it will be interesting and stimulating company. I’d like to know “A.M.Y.” and I have an idea that he is Clyde Smith in disguise—though that doesn’t explain his initials, of course.

When I come to one of Hildon V. Collins’ articles in The Junto, I invariably feel that I have got a copy of some Lions Club publication, by mistake. With no intention whatsoever of giving offense to Mr. Collins, I wish to hell that he would quit writing articles in praise of the “liberty” and the “justice” and the “beauty” of these United States. However, if he feels that that is too much to ask, I should like to request that he attempt to rid himself of his platitudinous style of writing.

Clyde Smith’s style is great! His themes are fresh and original and amazingly well expressed. I number his prose as some of the best that has appeared in The Junto. I, for one, welcome everything that he writes. Let’s have more by him.

Now, before we get to the actual content of the December issue, let’s take a look at what was going on behind the scenes during the fall of 1928.

Circa Oct. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Booth wants some autobiographies so for God’s sake, give him a line — all bull, get me, of course. I’m going to start mine:

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I was a nun until the age of fourteen. At four I robbed a bank and burned down an insane asylum. At nine I raped my governess. I was a nun until I got a change of heart (?) when I became a monk. At seventeen, like all the other Juntoers, I knew everything there was to know in the world and started out to reform people by picking their pockets. Then I went to the Antarctic with a bastard whose name I don’t remember. He had four hands.


For God’s sake you somnolent jackass, write something for the damned Junto to clear the muck. Don’t get sore at Booth for not publishing your Yapoo business — he will next time, likely didn’t get it in soon enough. He’s a good kid but he’s got a lot of anti-religious fanatics dizzying him. Don’t let this letter get mixed up and don’t send it on in the Junto. I am drunk, but I know what I’m talking about.

Circa Oct. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Thank you very much for the two contributions. I assure you that all material is appreciated, and that the more you send in, the better I like it. I certainly like your poetry, and will be glad to get a great deal of it . . . the same goes for your prose. According to comments, you and Bob Howard stir up quite a bit of notice—not all favorable, by the way, but, of course, that doesn’t matter. [. . .]

I am also heartily in favor of the get together of you, Preece, Truett, and Bob (and myself) sometime during the Christmas holidays. I believe that the days immediately following the twenty-fifth would be best. I believe that I could make it, though I might, as you said, be forced to hitch hike it. Anyway, it would be well worth any time and money spent. I certainly am in favor of the meeting being held in Brownwood, and I appreciate the offer you made. Let’s don’t let this thing die down. We want to carry it out. [. . .]

I’ll be very glad to receive any contributions for “Misapprehensions” [a proposed regular column for The Junto] from you. So far, only one has been received; it will be used in the November issue, which is due to appear within three weeks.

Oct. 15, 1928, Harold Preece to Tevis Clyde Smith:

The Junto came today, and its contents would have highly elated the American Association for the Advancement for Atheism. An article on “Religion” by H. P., “The Autobiography of an Atheist” by my sister, Lenore, and some choice comments by Bob.

Circa Oct. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I am receiving quite a bit of material for The Junto now from yourself, the mysterious “H,” “A Virgin,” “A.M.Y.,” you, Bob, Lenore Preece, Harold, and others. [. . .]

I suppose that you have seen Bob recently, as a letter which I received from him yesterday was sent from Brownwood. Bob’s a genius. He sent quite a lot of material for The Junto. A poem, “Swings and Swings,” was very good, as were also several articles, principally about him, you, and Truett.

Around this time, the end of October 1928, Volume 1, Number 8, the November issue of The Junto appeared—as stated above, that issue does not survive, but there are some comments in the surviving correspondence:

Nov. 5, 1928, Harold Preece to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I presume that you received The Junto which I mailed you, several days ago, in a besmeared envelope. I don’t like the “Snappy Stories” tendency of the Junto. [. . .]

I am planning to be at the Brownwood gathering if I walk both ways. What date are you fellows planning to throw it?

Circa Nov. 1928, Booth Mooney to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Yes, do send some more material for The Junto if you can. I have enough for the next issue or so, but we mustn’t forget the March anniversary issue. [. . .]

I’m glad you met Harold [circa mid-October]. He and I have met four times, and I have never failed to enjoy his company. He has a very brilliant mind, and can discuss very intelligently on almost any subject that is brought up. I have known him for almost two years, much longer than any of the others of the Junto bunch. It was through him that I got acquainted with the rest of you.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

Thanks for your comment in the Junto. I think Amy must be a boy but if he can’t fight any better than he writes, I don’t think we have anything to fear. [. . .]

I hope to hell Mooney puts some of yours and Truett’s work in the next Junto. Most of the last was a lot of hokum, though Harold and Lenore did good work. After writing a lot of scathing denunciations of the present day system of life in most of my letters, my last epistle to Harold contained a passionate defense of the gilt and tinsel of life, and the gaudy shams. I spoke gloatingly and lip-smackingly of pageantry and golden banners and knighthood and the old days of war and glory. I haven’t heard from him since.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I’m glad Truett has made such a hit with the Junto she-males. That boy has sex appeal. I’m also glad you saw Harold before he emulates Sacco and Vanzetti. I guess you got the Junto I sent you. Another ought to be out soon.

Circa Nov. 1928, Robert E. Howard to Tevis Clyde Smith:

I’m enclosing a letter and articles to Booth Mooney. Read the articles and if you don’t want them published, don’t hesitate to send them back. Also if you want any changes made. If o.k., just mail the letter on to Mooney, will you? Now, get this straight, if you’d rather not have these articles published, I want you to say so and it will be alright with me.

We’ll hear more about these articles, and the proposed Christmas gathering, next time.

[Go to Part 4]


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