Carl Richard Jacobi

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Carl Richard Jacobi
Carl Richard Jacobi.jpg
Born (1908-07-10)July 10, 1908
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Died August 25, 1997(1997-08-25) (aged 89)
St Louis Park, Minnesota, USA

Carl Richard Jacobi (July 10, 1908 - August 25, 1997) was an American author. He wrote short stories in the horror, fantasy, science fiction and crime genres for the pulp magazine market. He also produced some science fiction, mainly space opera.


Jacobi was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1904 and lived there throughout his life. He attended the University of Minnesota from 1927 to 1930 where he began his writing career in campus magazines and was an undergraduate classmate of Donald Wandrei.

His first stories were published while he was at the University. The last of these, "Moss Island", was a graduate's contribution to The Quest of Central High School, and "Mive" in the University of Minnesota's The Minnesota Quarterly. Both stories were later sold to Amazing Stories and Weird Tales respectively and marked his debut in professional magazines. "Mive" brought him payment of 25 dollars.

He joined the editorial staff of The Minnesota Quarterly, and after graduation in 1931, he became a news reporter for the Minneapolis Star, as well as a frequent reviewer of books and plays. He also served on the staff of the Minnesota Ski-U-Mah, a scholastic publication.

Jacobi met August Derleth in January 1931 when Derleth was visiting Minneapolis to see Donald Wandrei. Jacobi had read Derleth's stories in Weird Tales and his Solar Pons stories in Dragnet and asked to be introduced; they met for an evening at the Rainbow Cafe. Though Derleth and Jacobi corresponded for 40 years thereafter, Jacobi saw him but a few times in St Paul and never visited Derleth's home of Sauk City, Wisconsin. Over the following summer, when Derleth worked briefly as an editor for Fawcett Publications, outside Minneapolis, the three men frequently got together for barnstorming sessions.

After years with the Minneapolis Star, he was the editor for two years of Midwest Media, an advertising and radio trade journal. Later, he devoted himself full-time to writing. He owned his own private retreat, a cabin at Minnewashta in the Carver country outlands of Minneapolis. His intimate familiarity with the terrain and environment there provided the setting for many of his most distinguished stories. Jacobi was a lifelong bachelor.

From 1932 until his death in 1997, pulp writer Hugh B. Cave corresponded with Jacobi. Scores of their letters are quoted in Cave's memoir Magazines I Remember (Chicago: Tattered Pages Press, 1994).

He wrote scores of tales for all the best known magazines of fantasy and science fiction and was represented in numerous anthologies of imaginative fiction published in the United States, England and New Zealand. His stories were translated into French, Swedish, Danish and Dutch. Many of his tales were published in anthologies edited by Derleth, and Arkham House published his first three short story collections. Stories also appeared in such magazines as Short Stories, Railroad Magazine, The Toronto Star, Wonder Stories, MacLean's magazine, Ghost Stories, Strange Stories, Thrilling Mystery, Startling Stories, Complete Stories, Top-Notch and others. Though best known for his macabre fiction, Jacobi also wrote science fiction, weird-menace yarns and adventure stories.[1]

By 1935, Jacobi was seeing a greater percentage of rejected stories. Pressed by financial problems and the need to help his parents survive the Depression, he took a $50 a week job as a continuity writer for the local radio station where he stayed until 1940. When the pulp markets collapsed he took regular employment with one of the Honeywell Corp defense plants as an electronics inspector, a job he had through WWII and beyond, while writing part-time. He worked the night shift at Honeywell seven days a week, which had a severe impact on both his writing schedule and his health, leading to heart problems.[citation needed]

Jacobi was fascinated by adventure tales with a Southeast Asia setting, particularly in regard to Dutch central Borneo and the Maritime Southeast Asia. Jacobi wrote to officials working in Southeast Asia to obtain details for his stories,[1] and he had considerable knowledge of that background in his fiction.[citation needed]

At the time of the compilation of Revelations in Black (1947), Jacobi was at work on a novel, but it is unknown whether this was completed.[citation needed]

Illness crippled him during the final half-decade of his life, although his literary agent and biographer R. Dixon Smith did much to alleviate his various afflictions.[citation needed]

Jacobi died at St Louis Park, Minnesota on August 25, 1997.[citation needed]


(All of the following are short story collections)


  1. ^ a b "Jacobi,Carl" in Encyclopedia of pulp fiction writers by Lee Server. Facts on File, 2002 ISBN 978-0-8160-4578-5 ,(pp. 155-6)
  • Don Herron. "Carl Jacobi" in Jack Sullivan (ed). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. New York: Viking Penguin, 1986, p. 229.
  • Pugmire, Wilum H.(ed). Carl Jacobi: An Appreciation. Pensacola, FL: Stellar Z Productions, 1977.
  • Ruber, Peter (ed). Arkham's Masters of Horror. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 2000.
  • Smith, R. Dixon. Lost in the Rentharpian Hills: Spanning the Decades with Carl Jacobi.. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Press, 1985.

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