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VAN DEMARK, HARRY VAN DUSEN

VAN DEMARK, HARRY VAN DUSEN (1881–1948). Harry Van Dusen Van Demark, writer, son of George C. and Mary (Van Dusen) Van Demark, was born on January 28, 1881, in Roxbury, New York. With his father, he settled in Webster, Harris County, Texas, about 1893, and on June 22, 1894, began publication of the Webster Star ("It shines for Webster"), a four­page weekly newspaper. Later called the Weekly News, the paper was issued regularly until the Galveston hurricane of 1900. While editing the paper he also edited several juvenile periodicals, including Scribs and Quibs and Our Boys, containing his articles and serials written under noms de plume. In January 1901 Van Demark moved to Houston, where he entered the theatrical business writing such plays as The Texan and The Texas Ranger (1919), which were widely and frequently produced by amateur casts throughout the United States. He also wrote stories, poems, and historical articles for such magazines as American Boy, Nation's Business, Judge Sunset, and Columbia. In ten years he was established as the most prolific writer in his area, turning out a ten-volume series of boys' books called the Comrades Series (ca. 1911) and occasionally taking up a narrative of a faltering series which had been started by someone else. Once using the name Evelyn Raymond, he wrote a long sequence for teenage girls, the Dorothy Books. About 1907 he was publicity promoter of the Texas Five Million Club. From 1910 to 1913 he was editor and manager of the Texas Magazineqv in Houston, and in 1913 he was also editor of the Texas Tradesman.

Just prior to World War I, Van Demark began to write mystery stories, including "The Vanishing Diplomat," which appeared in Black Cat. This was followed by a thirty­year avalanche of stories of action and crime with the Western story formula predominating. He wrote under more than twenty aliases, including Harry Vincent, Colin Crawford, Jared Kingsley, and Clarence Coyle, his stories appearing simultaneously in a half­dozen pulp thrillers. Tangible recognition came to him posthumously in 1949, when his stories in Triple Western, Rio Kid Western, Rocky Mountain Life, and Rig and Reel appeared under the name of Harry Van Demark. As a hedge against the hazards of free­lance authorship, he was always otherwise employed. He managed theaters from 1916 to 1928, worked on the staffs of the Houston Chronicle and Houston Post, edited Texas Parade, Texas Week, and countless house organs, wrote script and announced Texas history plays for radio, and was ghost writer for various books of Texas history. During the 1930s he also ran his own advertising agency in Houston. Van Demark married Josephine Bonifay on February 7, 1906; they had eight children. After her death in 1943 he married Audrey (Watson) Guididi on April 17, 1944. He died in Houston on December 6, 1948.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Emory A. Bailey, Who's Who in Texas (Dallas: John B. McCraw Press, 1931). The Bohemian, October 1907. Davis Foute Eagleton, comp. and ed., Writers and Writings of Texas (New York: Broadway, 1913). Will T. Hale, "A Bunch of Texas Writers," Texas Magazine, April 1912. Houston Post, December 7, 1948.

Herbert Fletcher

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Herbert Fletcher, "VAN DEMARK, HARRY VAN DUSEN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fva03), accessed July 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.