JACK O'CONNOR: CATALOGUE OF LETTERS
Author: Jack O'Connor
Publisher: Trophy Room Books, Nov 2002
An unprecedented offering of correspondence from the legendary gun writer, Jack O'Connor. A rare opportunity read nearly 300 letters written to his longtime friend & confidante, John Jobson. 7x10 inches, 250+ pgs.
A chance for those who want to learn more about Jack O'Connor to read through descriptions of these letters--all for sale and all priced individually--and delve even deeper into his thoughts and feelings.
In 1937, Jack wrote his first article for Outdoor Life. That began his relationship with the magazine for which he became Gun Editor in 1941. (He started working for them full-time a few years earlier.) Ultimately, this writing career would last almost 50 years, during which time he would come to be known as "The Dean of Outdoor Writers." Yet, for a man who produced so much written material for mass consumption, a great deal of Jack O'Connor remains a mystery to this date. He wrote for a public that both adored and followed his writings, but which also often frustrated him. Having risen to popularity early in his long career, he was always in his public's eye.
Eventually, Jack came to enjoy an exceedingly close relationship with another writer, John Jobson. The men respected each other. In fact, John often wrote to Jack as "Dear Maestro", and Jack called Jobson, "Dear Amigo." The O'Connor-Jobson correspondence lasted for almost 1/3 of the time Jack was actively writing. During the course of over 16 years, almost 300 letters changed hands. Jobson almost became a psychiatrist for Jack. Jack could write about things he might never otherwise put in print. He revealed his true feelings about many subjects. He even confided facts regarding his income, working conditions, etc. Jobson was the first to know about Jack's leaving Outdoor Life after so long and for what reasons. He was one of the few to know that, behind all of Jack's comments about Elmer Keith, there was a basic respect for the fact that Keith at least wrote well, (better, in Jack's opinion, than many other writers).
Although there have been other individual letters appear and other correspondence come to light, to our knowledge, there is no other archive as impressive as the one curently being offered. About three years ago, when the chance to acquire this tremendous collection of "Original Jack O'Connor" letters came up, a colleague and I decided that this represented a chance to offer a long devoted reading public an extraordinary opportunity to "own a real piece of Jack O'Connor." Thus began the idea of this catalogue of correspondence.
Each letter is described in detail, enough to let you know what the letter is about, and hopefully to entice some into purchase. We have tried to describe the letters so that even those who will not purchase any will enjoy reading through this catalogue--by the way, a FIRST in sporting offerings, and perhaps collectible on its own.
Incidentally, while many people collect big game hunting and/or gun books, not many are familiar with the collecting world of ephemera. This includes printed or written items produced for short-term use. The most common are, of course, letters. Interestingly, many of the big game hunting or gun writers in America were not such prolific letter writers so there are no precedents for this offering.
The letters contain much information on guns, especially Jack's beloved .270. There is also a lot on reloading. Jack offers his opinions on many other writers and participants in his industry, his salary, the good and bad things about writing books, prices he paid and received for guns he bought and sold and details of his contracts. In short, there is something on almost every facet on his legendary writing and hunting career.
The letters are written with the same wit and wisdom and no-nonsense opinions that earned Jack both a wide admiring audience and a group of those who were "on the other side". Jack had a unique ability to recapture in writing much of his experience and also to express his candid opinions in "no uncertain terms." Remember, Jack started his career as a journalist and newspaperman (having been head of the journalism department at university.) These letters are every bit as colorful as his life. If the stories he wrote can be described as rich and varied, then many of these letters must be put on the same plateau.
Almost 300 letters are presented in chronological order, making reading through this catalogue as enjoyable and fascinating as if it were a book. There are also several offerings of manuscripts and a few books presented by O'Connor to Jobson. Whether or not you want to purchase any letters, we are sure this Jack O'Connor Catalogue of Letters will become an important volume for O'Connor collectors and fans. We do not know how long it will take for the letters to sell out. Obviously, the catalogue might go out of circulation in short order. Order your copy now.