Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in 1875, into a wealthy Chicago family, although he later claimed to have spent his childhood in Peking. During his early years, he attended several private schools and served in the military, where he first heard stories of battles with American Indians. He married Emma Hulbert in 1900, and spent the next decade in near-poverty, attempting various careers without success.
The turning point for Burroughs came in 1910, when he began writing for pulp magazines. A story called Under the Moons of Mars, which introduced the hero John Carter, was his first professional sale, published in 1912. All of Carterâ€™s adventures were published in book form in 1917 as A Princess of Mars - the series eventually swelled to eleven titles. Burroughsâ€™s other popular series included the Carson of Venus books, Pellucidar, and The Land that Time Forgot.
However, his most stunning success was the Tarzan series, beginning with Tarzan of the Apes in 1912. Burroughs eventually wrote 24 more Tarzan adventures, which were adapted into many films. In order to cover his financial losses, he wrote an average of three novels a year.
After serving as mayor of California Beach and a correspondent in the South Pacific during World War II, Burroughs died of a heart ailment on March 19, 1950. Although critics have labeled his novels badly-written, sexist and racist, they inspired a generation of adventure and science fiction writers and continue to be enjoyed today.