The Danton Burroughs
JCB Treasure Vaults
JOHN COLEMAN BURROUGHS
JOB INSTRUCTION MANUAL NO. 11
Part 1: Pages 1-19
From the Mark
and Susanne Brower
Hillman and Danton Burroughs
This 40-page training manual was illustrated
by John Coleman Burroughs
with wonderful images of anti-Axis propoganda.
It was produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company
of Santa Monica, CA in 1943.
There are obvious science fiction influences
in the renderings and
if you study the faces in the illustrations
you will probably see the likenesses of
JCB, wife Jane Ralston, brother Hulbert Burroughs,
and maybe even his father
Edgar Rice Burroughs.
X MARKS THE SPOT
In tracking the source of this manual, I spoke with someone
whose father was owner and President of the plant which came under the
control of the War Department and Douglas, during World War II. He was
told that this was the only one of the Douglas series done by John.
He recalls that the other manuals are much more technical in nature and
not nearly as "graphic" (his words). None of the others were done
without real photographs. However, he was just going by memory of
myraid materials sold at a recent estate sale. One other ominous
thought he shared was that they held materials drives in WW II and he stated
that since this was property of the company -- most were likely recycled
I purchased the manual from a vendor who had been at the estate auction.
This area is very conservative and he felt some of the images were anti-axis
and "disturbing" (his words). I got it for a little over $10.
What drew me were the images and the obvious merging of creative media
with a tough message about industrial accidents. There also is the
use of women in prominent roles which was unheard of and very rare in these
types of publications. In my limited experience, however, John would
have been a very logical choice to tone down the subject matter (via the
science fiction and fantasy type characters) and make it comfortable to
view. Remember, the majority of people who read this were essential
war workers with draft deferments and not any experience working in an
industrial setting. This manual successfully blends a hardcore safety
agenda with the then ongoing patriotic spirit.
I am a Homefront Collector and this is, by far, the most magnificent
work I've ever seen. Our collection runs from World War I to II and
includes almost all hand-made materials (posters, pinbacks, etc.).
This is the gem of my collection and it came at a fraction of the cost
most my manuals came at -- and many are very costly. I also have
most of the pieces restored to library quality. My grandfather got
me started on this as he was a war worker supervisor in WW II. He
found the humor and message in John's work to be unique and exceptionally
very well done for the time.
As I am sure you are aware, it was not at all uncommon during the
war years for artists in the Hollywood area to give talents for the nation.
It was obvious that was the case with this manual. Our son Jeff,
who is about to enter art college next fall, also saw the mastery in the
work. Too bad there is not a John Coleman Burroughs Scholarship at
the school he is to attend (ha-ha!)
We are very interested in obtaining more information about this booklet
and about John Coleman Burroughs' involvement in the war effort.
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Visit the John
Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site:
Bibliography ~ Art ~ Photos
all correspondence to
Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar
Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
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part of this Web site may be reproduced without permission.