As fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs know, 1941 found the author of John Carter and Tarzan living in Honolulu, and on that fateful Sunday morning Burroughs was playing tennis with his son Hulbert Burroughs when the attacks occurred. He watched the attacks, and shortly thereafter volunteered as what would be (and remain until now) the oldest war correspondent in US history. He was 66 at the time, and spent the next four years in the Pacific theater with the troops. His health was never the same after he came back, and he died in 1950 at age 75.
ERB and the Pearl Harbor Attacks
Honolulu, December 9, 1941
To Whomever Gives a Damn: (Letter by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
As our experiences during and immediately after the Jap blitz may interest several of our friends and relatives, I’ll record what I recall, send the ms to Tarzana with a request to Mildred to mimeograph several copies and mail them around. This will save me the trouble of writing the whole thing over a number of times. With the principal facts you are all acquainted, so I’ll just set down our personal experiences and reactions, together with some of the wild rumors which circulated. You will be fully as capable as I to judge of the truth of such rumors.
When we awoke Sunday morning, December 7th, we heard a great deal of firing, some of it very loud; but we hear a great deal of firing here and had been informed by the newspapers the day before that heavy guns would be fired from various parts of the island during the ensuing several days; so we thought nothing of it and went to breakfast.
After breakfast we dressed for tennis and went out to the court which is on a point that projects out into the lagoon, giving an unobstructed view of the coast from Diamond Head in one direction far beyond Pearl Harbor to Barbers Point, with the Waianae Mountain Range looming up in the background.