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Burroughs festival a treat for bibliophiles and historians

WILLCOX — Learning the history and celebrating the life and work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Burroughs Bibliophiles gathered in Willcox.

The four-day festival, from Aug. 1 to 4, included presentations on the history of Willcox, the recent discovery of the Apache Juh/Cushing Battle site and an overview of the Apache Wars. The guest of honor was Bob Boze Bell, editor of True West Magazine. Caravaning in multiple vehicles, festivalgoers also visited the Fort Grant historical site, where Burroughs helped build several of the original roads as a young cavalryman.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the local history,” said Burroughs Bibliophiles Board Chairman Joan Bledig. “We have gone all over the 48 states in having these conferences. And these conventions are put on by the people living in the area, generally. And we try to always support them. It’s kind of like attending a party for 50 or 60 of your closest friends that you can only get to see once or twice a year.”

The Burroughs Bibliophiles was founded in 1960, and Bledig has been a part of the group since 1965.

“He (Burroughs) joined the cavalry and he told them, ‘Send me to the worst place there is.’ They sent him to Fort Grant. He said, ‘My job was to chase outlaw Apaches. Luckily for me, I never caught up with them’, ” said Jim Sullos, of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. “That’s his quote. But he only lasted one year because he caught dysentery.”