THE ROBERT E. HOWARD MUSEUM
Robert E. Howard’s house is now a museum in Cross Plains, Texas. The museum is fully owned by Project Pride. I would like to thank especially Arlene Stephenson and Rusty Burke for helping me out with the details. Please anyone, let me know if I’ve missed or left something out.
Rusty Burke went to Cross Plains in 1985 for the first time. And the experience of seeing Howard’s home and the surrounding countryside led him to organize a trip for members of REHupa (the Robert E. Howard United Press Association), to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Howard’s death. On that trip they met members of the Friends of the Library group in Cross Plains, many of whom would become members of Project Pride.
The nonprofit organization, Project Pride, was organized in 1988. It was organized as a civic group to encourage local residents and businesses to clean up their yards or business premises, so Cross Plains could project an image they could be proud of. Many small towns in the region were dwindling fast, turning into virtual ghost towns, and Project Pride wanted to help Cross Plains avoid that.
In 1989 Project Pride were able to purchase the home where the Howard’s had lived from 1919 until a few years after Roberts and Mrs. Howard’s deaths in June of 1936. The home had been occupied all that time and was really in quite poor condition. With a lot of research help from a few locals and several members of the REH United Press Association (REHupa) they were able to restore it to what it was when Robert was writing in his little room.
Project Pride has the full ownership of the museum and is totally responsible for the upkeep. The organization relies on income from the annual Howard Days (planned by REH Foundation and facilitated locally by Project Pride), a silent auction of Howard related items, memberships (both annual and lifetime). Donations in general are quite common and appreciated.
The lovely Arlene Stephenson is currently the President of Project Pride. They have a very active and talented board of 10 people who bring a wealth of experience, skills and enthusiasm to the table.
The REH Foundation and the REH Days Facebook page encourage donation too. In 2020 some of this was used for painting and repair work on the house.
Become a member now!
Letter from Project Pride regarding membership registration 2021.
Feel free to use the information and join the organization.
The Howard House and the REHupa
November 1989 was the date for the 100th mailing of REHupa, and they decided that they would like to mail it from Cross Plains. Several of the members met at Rusty Burke’s home in Houston (He lived there from 1985-1992) and drove up to Cross Plains, where to their surprise, learned from what librarian Billie Ruth Loving had told them was coming: Project Pride had bought the Robert E. Howard house. They got to tour through the house, which was not in very nice shape at that time. They also learned that several members of Project Pride had signed the contract to buy the house, and certainly would not mind any help they could get from Howard fans to help pay off the note.
The REHupans got busy and mailed out flyers about the house to every fan, group, and publication they knew about. The internet was brand new, so postal mail and phone calls were the only way they had to spread the word. But they did manage to get a lot of contributions to Project Pride. Ever since then REHupa and Project Pride have had a close relationship.
More about the museum
The museum enjoys a wide range of visitors from all over the USA and the rest of the world. People come from Japan, Australia, Russia and South Africa. Howard is very popular in the whole European area too.
The house itself is a simple whitewashed structure, restored to its original condition by Project Pride. It has been listed in the National Register of Historical Places since 1994.
The generosity of people connected to Howard is evident, and a number of items donated over the years can be found throughout, some following a circuitous route of discovery in an old forgotten attic trunk or found among the possessions of distant relatives. L. Sprague de Camp, Howard’s controversial editor after his death, donated several pieces once owned by the Howards that help capture the feeling of a connection with the author and his family.
The museum also has a number of rare and unique items on display, from photographs that capture images of Howard throughout his life, to copies of his intriguing correspondence with fellow Weird Tales author H.P. Lovecraft that shaped much of his period as a pulp writer.
Virtual tour of the museum
Howard Scholar Rusty Burke narrates a tour of Robert E. Howard’s home in Cross Plains, Texas:
Robert E. Howard Remembrance Day
In early 1990s – Project Pride decided that there should be Robert E Howard Remembrance Day every year.
Howard Days happens every year on the second full weekend in June (closest to June 11th). Project Pride pulls out all the stops in welcoming folks. Sponsored by Project Pride and the Robert E. Howard Foundation, with help from the members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association (REHupa), it is a two-day extravaganza of tours, panels, auctions, banquets, speeches, readings, rare collectibles and – most importantly of all – great Howardian fellowship.
The first several years were very low-key, only a few Howard fans and locals attending. But by the late 90s more fans started showing up, and it has steadily grown ever since. The Project Pride volunteers do pretty much all the real work for the weekend. First the REHupans and after 2006, the Foundation, collaborate on planning the program events, and of course publicity. The Foundation arranges and provides funding for the Guest of Honor, and holds its annual awards presentation at Howard Days.
People have been coming from all around the world to Howard Days to celebrate the life and writings of acclaimed author Robert E. Howard. Held at the Robert E. Howard House & Museum, it is a two-day gathering of fans, scholars, writers, artists, historians and enthusiasts, all gathered together in fellowship to celebrate and discuss the life, work and legacy of the incomparable Robert E. Howard.
For fans of Ol’ Two-Gun Bob Howard, it is a unique get-together, unlike any other fan “convention”. In a sense, it’s more like a friendly family reunion of sorts. All the activities at Howard Days, with one exception, take place at no cost. The Museum is open to all, the tours of the house and grounds are free (as is the parking!) and the adjacent Alla Ray Morris Pavilion is available for all to enjoy a respite from the hot Texas sun while enjoying a cool soft drink or water.
The only real fee for the whole weekend is for the Friday night Celebration Banquet, held at the Babtist Church. It has more space than the Cross Plains Community Center where it used to be held. Registration for this is required, as seats are limited at the Banquet, but this money helps to pay for cool drinks, Friday morning doughnuts, coffee and a Hot Dog Lunch. All the panels, seminars and readings over the event are presented at no cost. You won’t find a better deal anywhere!
Many thanks to
Arlene Stephenson and Rusty Burke for providing valuable information. Also thanks to pandabrett where I borrowed some of the information from his visit to Cross Plains. And thanks also to howarddays.com where I also found great information.