Thursday, July 21, 2011

De Witt Newbury

De Witt Newbury (b. New York, New York, 10 July 1888; d. Riverdale, New Jersey, December 1967)

De Witt Newbury published no books, but he was a frequent contributor to the pulps magazines in the 1940s and 1950s, specializing in westerns and in adventure stories, some of which were stories about the Vikings, all of which showcase Newbury's interest in history.
De Witt Newbury

He was born De Witt Mirrielees Newbury in New York, the son of George Newbury,  a shipping manager of Canadian and British descent, and his wife Jessie, née Mirrielees, whose parents came from Scotland and Wales. De Witt Newbury had an older brother and a younger sister; he seems never to have married.  Early in the twentieth century, the Newbury family moved to a house on the Pompton Newark Turnpike in Riverdale, New Jersey, where De Witt lived the rest of his life.  He worked for a time in advertizing, and then followed his father as the manager of a shipping firm, but in the late 1930s, he turned to writing.  His first pulp story seems to have been "Good Men's Luck" in Adventure in July 1939. This was followed by some Viking stories in Adventure, and further ones in Argosy in 1943 and, later in the decade, in Blue Book. He published one novelette, "A Man Can Swear", in Doc Savage (June 1946). Otherwise, he contributed more regularly to Frontier Stories, where eight tales appeared between 1946 and 1953.  His last known short story appeared in Western Short Stories in June 1954. 

In a letter to "The Camp-Fire" in Adventure in the July 1939 issue, Newbury revealed that his nickname was  "Doc", and he gave the following biographical information:
Have been a framer and a machine-gunner with the A.E.F., Company C, 105th Battalion. Have done some knocking around, had a brief and inglorious career as a commercial artist, and put in years of business hustling in New York City. Now I have dug into the old home acres to battle the depression. . . . I have always liked to write, and have always written.  More for pleasure than profit, though my stuff is published now and then.  I like to write fiction based on sound historical fact. About men who really lived and things they actually did.  The Norsemen are my favorites. I don't want to pose as a great authority on Scandinavian history, but I have done a lot of studying and thinking about them. They were the toughest, hardiest adventurers of all time.  And real humans, too.
The former home of De Witt Newbury, in Riverdale, New Jersey

NB: Thanks to Morgan Holmes for assistance on this entry.  

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