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J. Allan Dunn

Dunn's "The Greenstone Mask" was the cover story for the October 1914 issue of Adventure
Dunn's "The Gold Lust" was cover-featured on the November 1915 issue of Adventure
Dunn's "Blue Shroud" was the cover story for the June 1934 issue of All Detective

Joseph Allan Elphinstone Dunn (21 January 1872 – 25 March 1941), best known as J. Allan Dunn, was one of the high-producing writers of the American pulp magazines. He published well over a thousand stories, novels, and serials from 1914–41. He first made a name for himself in Adventure. Well over half of his output appeared in Street & Smith pulps, including People's, Complete Story Magazine, and Wild West Weekly. He wrote approximately 470 stories for Wild West Weekly alone. His main genres were adventure and western; although he did write a number of detective stories, most of them appearing in Detective Fiction Weekly. He was a specialist in South Sea stories, and pirate stories. He also published a lot of juvenile fiction; including many stories for Boys' Life, primarily in the 1920s. A number of his novel-length stories were reprinted in hardbound, some under the pen name "Joseph Montague" for Street & Smith's Chelsea House imprint; many of his books were issued in the United Kingdom. His stories were frequently syndicated in newspapers, both in America and around the world, making him, for a time, a very widely known author.



Dunn was born in England.[1] He came to the United States in 1893. He spent about five years in Colorado, five years in Honolulu, ten years in San Francisco, and then relocated to the East Coast in 1914, after which his writing career blossomed. From 1914 forward, and in his pulp-writing career, he was known as "J. Allan Dunn"; before that he primarily went by "Allan Dunn."

While living in San Francisco, he worked for the Southern Pacific Company, which published Sunset magazine. He wrote an article for Sunset on author Jack London.[2] The two became friends. In 1913, Dunn was a frequent visitor to London's Beauty Ranch in Glen Ellen, California. According to the diaries of Charmian London, London's second wife, she and Dunn spent a lot of time together, which prompted Jack London to reinvigorate his interest in her.[3]

A perennial "clubman", Dunn was a member of San Francisco's Bohemian Club. Later, he belonged to New York's Explorers Club, and, in 1937, was elected to the board of trustees.[4] He also belonged to the Adventurers' Club of New York, eventually becoming vice-president.

Dunn died, according to friends, of complications from chronic malaria; he had contracted the disease in Honolulu.



  1. ^ "J. Allan Dunn Dies; Author, Explorer", The New York Times, 26 March 1941.
  2. ^ "The Sailing of the Snark", Sunset, May 1907.
  3. ^ Jack London: A Life, by Alex Kershaw, 1999.
  4. ^ "Heads Explorers Club", The New York Times, 4 February 1937.

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