Earl Conrad

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Earl Conrad (17 December 1912 - 17 January 1986), birth name Cohen, was an American author who penned at least twenty works of biography, history, and criticism, including books in collaboration. At least one that he 'ghost' wrote was the biography of actor Errol Flynn, titled My Wicked, Wicked Ways.

Conrad was born to Eli and Minnie Cohen in Auburn, New York, into a Jewish family with nine siblings. He was "reared in the Judaic tradition" but chose to Anglicize his name when he began his career as a professional journalist. He wished to be a writer from a young age, and his early experience included a stint at the Auburn Advertiser-Journal.[1]

He married Anna Alyse Abrams in 1938, and they had one son, Michael Earl Conrad.[2] The Conrads lived in San Francisco at least during the 1967-1972 period in an apartment near downtown, not far from Union Square. In the early 1980s, they lived in Coronado, California. Some of his papers are in the local history collection of the Cayuga Community College in Auburn. He died on January 17, 1986, of complications from lymphoma.[3]

His interests as a writer included biographies of show business personalities, such as his memoir of Errol Flynn and his biography of Dorothy Dandridge; and issues related to African Americans, such as his biographies of Harriet Tubman. He wrote a fantasy novel about an African American nation being carved out of the American South, a country in the shape of Africa.


Conrad penned these following works under his name, or with collaboration.

  • Harriet Tubman: Negro Soldier and Abolitionist (1942)
  • Harriet Tubman (1943)
  • Rock Bottom (1952)
  • The Da Vinci Machine (short stories, 1968)
  • The Governor and His Lady
  • Crane Eden
  • News of the Nation
  • El Cristo de Montserrat
  • Club
  • My Wicked Wicked Ways (with Errol Flynn)
  • Errol Flynn: A Memoir (1978)
  • Typoo
  • The Premier
  • The Trial of William Freeman
  • Scottsboro Boy (with Haywood Patterson)
  • The Philology of Negro Dialect
  • Horse Trader
  • Gulf Stream North (1954)
  • The Invention of the Negro
  • Battle New York
  • Jim Crow America
  • The Public School Scandal
  • Billy Rose: Manhattan Primitive
  • Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy


  1. ^ Sernett, Milton C. (2007). Harriet Tubman : Myth, Memory, and History. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0822340737. 
  2. ^ Reginald, R. (1979). Contemporary science fiction authors. 2. (2. ed. ed.). Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co. p. 861. ISBN 978-0810310513. 
  3. ^ Sernett, Milton C. (2007). Harriet Tubman : Myth, Memory, and History. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0822340737.