Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator and author of Tarzan
By age 35, Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) considered himself a failure in business and struggled to support his wife and three young children. But once the Chicago native began writing, his fertile mind created one of the earliest science fiction series, John Carter.
Burroughs also would bring to life a mysterious world deep in the jungle featuring the ape man Tarzan, stories that would entertain children and adults for many decades to come. The Tarzan book series led to a multimillion dollar empire with dozens of movies that solidfied Burroughs place in American culture.
Burroughs wrote his very first stories while living in Chicago's West Side, and lived in Oak Park in 1910-1911, and again from 1914-1919, where he wrote many of his fantastic tales. He completed his first Tarzan story, Tarzan the Ape Man, in May 1912.
Burroughs also wrote 22 subsequent books including the "John Carter of Mars" books while living in Oak Park. He left Oak Park for the warmth of California and Hollywood, which had embraced Tarzan and would immortalize him in film.
The full story of this master of pulp fiction is told in Tarzan, Mars, and the Fertile Mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a permanent exhibit at the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest.