Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bassett Morgan


Bassett Morgan (b. Chatham, Ontario, 26 November 1884; d. Alameda, California, 28 January 1977)

"Bassett Morgan" and Forrest J. Ackerman
Grace Ethel Jones was the daughter of British-born parents, Edwin Bassett Jones (1846-1910s?) and Emily Dunkley (1851-1920s?), whose families emigrated to Canada when they were very young. Grace Jones had two older brothers; the family grew up in Chatham, in southwestern Ontario, where Edwin Jones was Waterworks Superintendent and City Engineer. Grace Jones married Thomas Russell Morgan (1881-1930s?) on 20 August 1905; the couple had one daughter and one son. They emigrated to the United States around 1918, settling in Alameda, California, where Grace Jones Morgan died in 1977 at the age of 92.

Bassett Morgan's first cover
illustration, September 1927 
She is best remembered as a contributor to Weird Tales, in whose pages she published thirteen stories, between 1926 and 1936, under the pen-name “Bassett Morgan,” which was made up of her father’s middle name combined with her own married name.  And though she also contributed to Ghost Stories, most of her writing appeared outside the weird-fiction field in periodicals ranging from The Royal Magazine, Cassell’s Magazine, The Smart Set, Argosy, All-Story, Munsey’s Magazine, Sea Stories, Boy’s Life, Woman’s Journal, Top Notch, and Black Mask, among many others.  She also published three novels, two under her real name and the third under her pseudonym.     




The 1928 New York edition
of Morgan's first book
Salvage All (New York: Thomas Crowell, 1928; London: Grant Richards, 1928), as by Grace Jones Morgan, concerns a young street waif at a British Columbia seaport, and the men who seek to aid or abuse her.  Tents of Shem (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1930), also published as by Grace Jones Morgan, is a complicated story of a reckless young woman, born of an old Irish family and a San Francisco dancing girl with lax morals, who could not escape her heritage. The Golden Rupee (London: John Long, 1935), as by Bassett Morgan, is a South Sea adventure of young Captain Paradise, who murders a leper and takes the man’s treasure, including an intricately beautiful model of a ship called the “Golden Rupee.”  Captain Paradise has a vessel built to this design, but he is fated never to sail in it, as he is killed by a rival the night before his wedding, and his rival takes the ship. However, the ghost of Captain Paradise still rules over the lives of those who had known him, with tragic results. 

In 1974, under her full name Grace Jones Morgan she introduced and self-published an edition limited to one hundred numbered copies of her father’s autobiography, The Recollections of Edwin Bassett Jones.  This gives some accounts of his amateur archeological work, including his finds of Indian artifacts and of a mastodon.

NB: An earlier version of this entry appeared in my column “Notes on Lost and Forgotten Writers” in All Hallows no. 42 (October 2006). 


Morgan's second and last
cover illustration , January 1935 
A Bibliography of Bassett Morgan's weird fiction: 

Bimini
            Weird Tales, January 1929
            Donald A. Wollheim, ed. Avon Fantasy Reader 10 (1949)
Black Bagheela
            Weird Tales, January 1935
The Demon Doom of N’Yeng Sen
            Weird Tales, August 1929
The Devils of Po Sung
            Weird Tales, December 1927
            T. Everett Harré, ed. Beware After Dark! (1929)
            Christine Campbell Thomson, ed. By Daylight Only (1929)
            Weird Tales, March 1939
            Kurt Singer, ed. Satanic Omnibus (1973)
            Kurt Singer, ed. Shriek (1974)
Gray Ghouls
            Weird Tales, July 1927
            Weird Tales, September 1939
            Donald A. Wollheim, ed. Avon Fantasy Reader 15 (1951)
The Head
            Weird Tales, February 1927
The Island of Doom
            Weird Tales, March 1932
            Christine Campbell Thomson, ed. Grim Death (1932)
            Christine Campbell Thomson, ed. Not at Night (Arrow, 1960)
Laocoon
            Weird Tales, July 1926
            Christine Campbell Thomson, ed. You'll Need a Night Light (1927)
            Herbert Asbury, ed. Not at Night! (1928)
            Weird Tales, December 1937
            Hugh Lamb, ed. Star Book of Horror No. 2 (1976)
Midas
            Weird Tales, November 1936
The Punishment of Barney Muldoon
            Ghost Stories, October 1929 
            Mike Ashley, ed. Phantom Perfumes and Other Shades (2000)
The Skeleton under the Lamp
            Weird Tales, May 1928
Tiger 
           Strange Stories, March 1932

            Startling Mystery Stories, Spring 1969
Tiger Dust
            Weird Tales, April 1933
            Christine Campbell Thomson, ed. Keep on the Light (1933)
            Donald A. Wollheim, ed. Avon Fantasy Reader 12 (1950)
            Weird Tales, January 1954
            Short Stories, Feb. 1959
The Vengeance of Ti Fong
            Weird Tales, December 1934
The Wolf Woman
            Weird Tales,  September 1927
            Robert Weinberg, ed. The Eighth Green Man and Other 
                            Strange Folk (1989)
            Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dzemianowicz, Martin H. 
                           Greenberg, eds. Weird Vampire Tales (1992)


2 comments:

  1. Your list does not include Tiger published in Strange Tales, March 1932, and in Strange tales reprint #4 by Wildside Press.

    ReplyDelete