Lee Hawkins Garby

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Lee Hawkins Garby
Born Lee Hawkins
Missouri, US
Died 1953
Genre Space opera
Notable works The Skylark of Space

Lee Hawkins Garby (1892–1953) was the coauthor with Edward Elmer Smith of the 1928 serial novel The Skylark of Space, the first science fiction story in which humans left the solar system. She was the wife of Dr. Carl DeWitt Garby, a friend of Dr. Smith's from college at the University of Idaho.

The novel was first published as a book in 1946, as The Skylark of Space: The Tale of the First Inter-Stellar Cruise (Buffalo Book Company(?)), naming Garby and Smith on the title page but Smith alone on the cover[1] —with frontispiece by Charles Schneeman. The Library of Congress catalogs it as "by Edward E. Smith, in collaboration with Mrs. Lee Hawkins Garby"; publisher Southgate Press.[2] A revised edition by Smith alone was published by Pyramid Books in 1958 and reissued many times.[3][4] From 2007 the original by Garby and Smith has been in print again.[1][3]


Lee Hawkins was born in Missouri in 1892 and died 1953.[5] She was the daughter of Jameson R. Hawkins (1849–1917) and Julia Valinda Offutt (1857–1929), and had five siblings, William, Sarah Valinda, Ellen, Mary, and Elijah.[6] The family is living in Bonner County, Idaho in the 1910 Census.[7] However, no marriage record is currently included in the Western States Marriage Index maintained by Brigham Young University, Idaho.[8]

Doctor Garby was born in Lewiston, Idaho in 1892, the son of Charles Henry Garby (born Germany) and Adelaide Laventia Strickland (born New York),[9] and after graduating from Lewiston Normal School in 1910 was a classmate with Dr. Smith in the Class of 1914 at the University of Idaho in Chemical Engineering.[10] In 1919 Dr. Garby was working for the Bureau of Chemistry in Washington DC.[11] The Garby's had a daughter born in mid-1918; the impact of Mrs. Garby's pregnancy and daughter's birth, and the apparently simultaneous pregnancy of Jeannie Smith and birth of Roderick, in the midst of the end of Dr. Smith's studies and his World War I service, on the completion of the Skylark manuscript is unknown.[12] The Garby's later have a son, Dr. Rodes Garby, who has contributed interviews regarding the writing of The Skylark of Space.[13]

Gharlane of Eddore describes his conversation with Dr. Smith on the writing of The Skylark of Space in a rec.arts.sf.written post from 1998:

Mrs. Lee Hawkins Garby's name is listed on the title page of all known hardback editions of "THE SKYLARK OF SPACE," since she co-wrote. She was not, repeat, not, "dragged in" to "spice up" the story for magazine publication. "Spice up?" It is to guffaw; both Richard Ballinger Seaton and Dorothy Vaneman were virgins when they married! ... As for the actual publication history, E. E. Smith, who was not yet a PhD at the time, began working on the yarn in the middle 1910's, but was being desultory about it due to his discomfort with the writing of love scenes and social dialog. His college buddy, Garby, had a wife with literary pretensions, who was actually pretty fair for the era; she offered to help out, and did a bunch of the writing and typing. This is why the original manuscript, completed in 1916, was listed as "by Edward E. Smith and Mrs. Lee Hawkins Garby." There was an extensive rewrite, by the original two writers, around 1919, right after EES got loose from his Army responsibilities after WWI.[14]

Mrs. Garby is acknowledged in some circles as an early female writer of science fiction,[15] but little is known of her life and she made no known contributions to the field beyond her involvement with Skylark. The brief reference to her in Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926 - 1965 notes that Dr. Smith never hesitated to mention either her gender or marital status, always referring to her as Mrs. Garby.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lee Hawkins Garby at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-19. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  2. ^ "The skylark of space; the tale of the first inter-stellar cruise" (1946 edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  3. ^ a b "Formats and Editions of The skylark of space". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ The Library of Congress evidently hold the revised edition only in its 1975 reissue.[1]
  5. ^ [2]. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  6. ^ [3]. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  7. ^ 1910 Census of Bonner's Ferry Precinct, Residence 353, Family 362, Bonner County, Idaho, enumerated by (illegible) on 6 May 1910. Courtesy of www.ancestry.com.
  8. ^ Special Collections.
  9. ^ [4]. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
  10. ^ [5]. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  11. ^ J. A. LeClerc and C. D. Garby, "Pearl Barley: Its Manufacture and Composition". Industrial Engineering Chemistry 12(5), pages 451-455, 1920. (first page). Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  12. ^ 1920 Census of Seaton Place Apartments, Residence 243, Family 218, Precinct 8, Washington DC, enumerated by Florence M. Townsend on January 14–15, 1920. Courtesy of www.ancestry.com.
  13. ^ Bleiler, Everett F. Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Kent State University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-87338-604-3.
  14. ^ [6]. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  15. ^ [7]. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  16. ^ Davin, Eric Leif. Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926–1965. Lexington Books, 2006. ISBN 0-7391-1267-8

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