J. Eric Holmes Photo Gallery

These photos appeared in various publications and are arranged here in chronological order. I'm always interested in better scans of the photos. If you have one, please email me a zenopusarchives at gmail dot com. See also the Gaming Artifacts photo gallery.

This is Holmes' yearbook entry from his senior year of high school, from the 1947 edition of The Oahuan, a publication of the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii --- the same school President Obama would graduate from several decades later in 1979. The bio is neat as it attests to his long interest in the pulps and writing --- "Eric keeps busy trying to crash the pulp market" and is "planning to make writing a career". Posted with permission of Chris and Tristan Holmes.

From the biographical sketch accompanying Holmes' first published short story, "Beachhead on the Moon", in Blue Book magazine, February 1951. The sketch reads: "Sidney Leland is the pen-name of of Eric Holmes, the son of Captain W. J. Holmes of Honolulu - better known to BLUE BOOK readers as Alec Hudson, writer of popular sea stories. The younger Mr. Holmes is a senior in the psychology department at Stanford University. He will graduate this June ... He joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1948, and has served two summers as a reserve officer candidate at Quantico, Virginia. He expects to receive a second lieutenant's commission in June. "Beachhead on the Moon" is his first story." Scan of photo from article courtesy Tony Rowe of the Cryptic Archivist blog.

Holmes in a labcoat & with a black cat on his shoulder. Photo courtesy Chris Holmes, who thinks it is from the late '50s or early '60s

From Dragon #20, November 1978, page 16. This was part of the "Gen Con X Photo Album". The original caption read "Guest of Honor, J. Eric Holmes, and his son (face obstructed), Chris. Per the Gen Con schedule published in Dragon #17, on Sat. August 19th at 1 PM, "Guest of Honor J. Eric Holmes" hosted a "seminar of great interest to fantasy fans" including "a discussion of "Fantasy Literature, Fantasy Art, & Fantasy Gaming"" with "a showing of slides". And on the morning of Sunday the 20th, Holmes also ran a "special beginner’s D&D adventure".


From in the article "Fantasy Life in a Game Without End", L.A. Times newspaper article by Beth Ann Krier, July 11, 1979, page H1. Photo by Tony Bernard. The article used a cropped version that was captioned "Holmes with a few of his D&D figures". Read more about the miniatures shown in the picture here: "Holmes Little Metal People, Take II". The photo was taken in Holmes' basement on his game table that was painted with chalkboard paint. Scan of original print courtesy Billy Galaxy.

From Dragon #31, November 1979, pg 7, 5th Annual Strategist Club Banquet and Awards, which took place at Gen Con XII in August 1979. Ran with the caption "TD Editor Tim Kask shares an anecdote with the Holmes family - son Chris, Wife Sig-Linda, and John-Eric, whose short story "Trollshead" appears elsewhere in this issue". Scan courtesy Tony Rowe of the Cryptic Archivist blog.

This is the small author photo that accompanied "Confessions of a Dungeon Master", his article in the November 1980 issue of Psychology Today. The author bio with the photo began "John Eric Holmes is a staff physician at Los Angeles County Hospital and associate professor of neurology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine". Original photographer not indicated in the article. Scan courtesy Paul Go of the Holmes Basic G+ community.

From the back flap of the Tales of Peril dust jacket. Photo by Steve Pyryeztov. This photo is from the same session as the one near the front of Holmes' book Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981). This was also taken in Holmes' basement. In the back you can glimpse some of his comic book collection. Read more about the minis here.

From the back cover of the dust jacket of the US publication of Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981). The back cover of the UK publication instead shows the cover of the Basic Set, and a small cropped version of this photo appears inside the dust jacket. The same wizard mini with upraised arms appears on page 171 of the book where it is named as "Alkarzotz the sorcerer". It is Ral Partha's first mini, RP-01-001, Evil Wizard Casting Spell.

"Guest of Honor at the 1993 ECOF [Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship annual convention] in Willows, California, hosted by Ralph Brown". Photo by John Martin. Published in April 2010 in The Gridley Wave #331, on-line here.

This is a photo of Holmes' gravestone at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu (source). His father's gravestone is to left and can be seen in another photo on the linked source page.