Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Royal W. Jimerson

Royal W. Jimerson  (b. Minneapolis, Minnesota, 4 September 1895; d. San Francisco, California, 3 August 1958)

Royal Wade Jimerson was the oldest of two children of Herbert W. Jimerson (1865-1964) and Harriet M. Page (1874-1972), who were married in Minneapolis on 7 November 1894.  Royal had one sister, Faith, who was six years younger than himself.

The family moved to Wisconsin before 1910, and Royal was educated at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. For about five years he worked as a reporter on The Minneapolis Star and The Minneapolis Tribune.  He married Mabel Weik (1886-1974) in Chicago on 24 February 1917. At the time he filled out his draft registration card for World War I, Jimerson was a newspaper reporter in Chicago. Jimerson and his wife had two children; their oldest son Herbert was born in Minneapolis in 1917 but died of bronchial pneumonia in 1929.  Their second son, Royal W. Jimerson, Jr., was born in 1920.

In 1925 Jimerson joined The San Francisco Examiner as a rewrite man, and the family moved to California.  He went over to The San Francisco Chronicle in 1935 as a reporter, but later returned to The San Francisco Examiner as financial editor.  In 1938 he was appointed political editor, a position he held until 1954 when he retired because of illness.  He died in San Francisco at the age of 62.

In April 1928 he published a single story in Weird Tales magazine, “Medusa”, with a headpiece illustration by Hugh Rankin.  E.F. Bleiler has noted that it is a modernized version of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”, calling it “well-written, and one of the more effective horror stories of the period.”  It was reprinted by Christine Campbell Thomson in her anthology By Daylight Only (1929), the fifth volume in the British “Not at Night” anthology series. “Medusa” was also reprinted in the May 1938 issue of Weird Tales. It is Jimerson’s only known published work of fiction. 

Jimerson also had two letters in “The Eyrie”, the letter column of Weird Tales, in the January and May 1928 issues. In the latter letter, Jimerson wrote: “Your March issue hits a new high level.  My own preference is for stories that leave something to the imagination, and the March number hits the ball. Its literary quality is about the best you have attain; from cover to cover, the boys have done their job beautifully.”   

NB: Thanks to Alistair Durie and Terence McVicker for assistance on this entry.  

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