With the first publication of Tarzan of the Apes in 1912, author Edgar Rice Burroughs captured the hearts and imaginations of adults and children around the globe. To celebrate 100 years of Tarzan, Oak Park Public Library, in collaboration with the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, will host two Saturdays of festivities. Both centennial celebration events are free and open to the public:
- Film Screening: “Tarzan and His Mate”
Saturday, November 10
2:00 pm Main Library
In this 1934 film starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen Sullivan, Tarzan and Jane run into conflict with poachers who plan to raid an elephant burial ground for the ivory. Film historian Doug Deuchler will introduce the film and lead a discussion following the screening. Plus, Frank Lipo, Executive Director of the Historical Society, will share the history of the years Burroughs spent living in Oak Park.
- Author Scott Tracy Griffin with The Centennial Celebration: TARZAN
Saturday, November 17
2:00 pm Main Library
Enjoy the ultimate review of a century of Tarzan – from the first writings to the latest stage musical. Griffin, an internationally-acclaimed Edgar Rice Burroughs expert, has authored the only official commemorative illustrated history of Tarzan. Copies of The Centennial Celebration will be available for sale and signing.
Tarzan Books on Display
A special selection of Tarzan books will be on display in November at the Main Library. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote several Tarzan sequels while living in Oak Park, thus Oak Park Public Library has a special collection of Burroughs’ work. Tarzan books written by Burroughs may also be borrowed from Oak Park Public Library. Hundreds of titles about Tarzan and Burroughs  are available in print, audiobook, ebook, and movie formats through the library.
About Scott Tracy Griffin’s The Centennial Celebration: TARZAN
This lavishly illustrated book is a visual treasure trove of classic comic strip, cover art, movie stills, and rare ephemera, offering fascinating insight into every element of Burroughs' extraordinary legacy. Each of the 24 Tarzan novels written by Burroughs and the many varied appearances on stage, screen and in print receive a detailed commentary, illustrated with some of the most evocative and beautiful artworks, illustrations and photographs, many rarely seen in print before. With features on Korak, Jane, Tantor, and Cheetah, plus their innumerable friends, foes and exotic adventures, this is an amazing celebration of all things Tarzan. Author Scott Tracy Griffin has produced 30 years of articles appearing in magazines, journals, academia, and fanzines. He lives within swinging distance of Tarzana in California.
Tarzan, the fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was of the orphaned son of English nobility raised by apes in an African jungle. The first Tarzan story was published in All-Story Magazine in 1912; the editors called it “the most exciting we have seen in a blue moon, and about as original as they make ’em.” Its success was followed by the first book edition in 1914. The novel has never been out of print, and led to a Tarzan franchise of sequels, comic strips, radio shows, movies, and merchandise.
About Edgar Rice Burroughs
After spending years in dead-end jobs, Edgar Rice Burroughs decided to try writing pulp fiction, figuring that he could write better stories than those he was reading. He is best known for his adventure stories featuring the legendary characters Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Burroughs also wrote westerns, cave man fantasies, historical novels, and more. Several of his Tarzan stories were written while he lived in Oak Park.
Oak Park Public Library has a special collection of Burroughs’ work . We are digitizing as much information as we can in our digital archive. If what you need isn’t available online, call us at 708-452-3467 to schedule an appointment for viewing the materials we have on the Third Floor of the Main Library.
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More library events, by location and topic, in our events calendar .