Tarzan Goes To America

The last calendar date that can be reasonably proven by Edgar Rice Burroughs' provided information in Tarzan Of The Apes is the July 17, 1893 boarding of a French steamer by Tarzan and D'Arnot  to Lyons, France.  From that point on Burroughs covers the time travel vaguely.  Burroughs does not reveal how long it takes Tarzan and D'Arnot to travel between Portuguese Angola to Lyons.  Once there, Burroughs says the two spend a few days before going on to Paris.  The author leaves us to surmise just how long.

Once in Paris, Burroughs says that one of the very first things that D'Arnot does is to get an appointment made to have Tarzan fingerprinted.  At that fingerprinting, D'Arnot reveals that Tarzan is sailing for America tomorrow.  From this presented information, we know  that Tarzan spends very little time in Paris on this first  visit.  Also at this fingerprinting, D'Arnot's policeman friend promises to have results of the test within two weeks.

After this occurrence, time is lost again until Tarzan shows up in northern Wisconsin and rescues Jane from a forest fire, and Robert Canler.  Nothing is said about Tarzan's sea voyage, arrival in the U.S., very little about the jungle lord's arrival at Baltimore, and nothing about his trek to Wisconsin.  Since the cable gram, which supposedly would be ready within two weeks, was not waiting for Tarzan upon his arrival at Baltimore, we know the ape man's sea voyage positively took less than two weeks.  Discovering the Porter family had departed for Wisconsin, and Canler after them, Tarzan immediately sat out leaving instructions to forward the expected cable gram.

It is now that Burroughs delivers a positive clue as to the time period.  While the Porter party are packing to go to Wisconsin Jane makes this statement.  "I want you to be sure, papa, to indicate all that you can do without until fall."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  In North America fall is between September 23 through December 22.  From this information we can now deduce this conversation must occur before September 23.

While Tarzan is driving Mr. Philander to the train station Burroughs drops another clue which proves not much time passes between the ape man's African exit and American entrance.  Tarzan is questioning Mr. Philander about the bones in the cradle found in his African cabin.  The jungle lord then states, "I have been entertaining a theory concerning those skeletons for the past two months, and I want you to answer my question to the best of your knowledge - were the three skeletons you buried all human skeletons?'  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

Although a chronologist is unable to come up with exact Burroughs provided dates for Tarzan;s out of Africa travels, we can determine working dates that will go along with all the provided information that is provided by the author

The first hurdle to a working chronology is Tarzan and D'Arnot's voyage from Portuguese Angola to Lyons, France.  Phil Farmer, in Tarzan Alive, credits the two's voyage taking a total of five days in 1909.  I do not have the means to research the ship's traveling time so I will depend on Farmer's research.  One thing to keep in mind is that Phil's research is based on 1909 travel time, where this chronology is based on 1893.  Since my 1872 chronology shows this travel occurring sixteen years earlier I have added an extra day to Phil's time to cover any extra length of time due to technology advances.

Our next hurdle is the amount of time, "a few days", that Tarzan and D'Arnot spent in Lyons.  To me a few days is more then a couple, yet is less than several, or a week.  We are talking three, four, five or six.  It's your pick.  They all fit.  Just keep in mind that Tarzan is anxious to get to Baltimore.  I feel the jungle lord wasted little time in getting there and in my 1872 chronology I used four days as a working number.

Now, how long did the ape man stay in Paris?  Burroughs says, "One of the first things D'Arnot accomplished after their arrival was to arrange to visit a high official of the police department."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  At that meeting D'Arnot states, "I had hoped to know at once.  Monsieur Tarzan sails for America tomorrow."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  From this presented information we learn the jungle lord definitely sails for America the day after the fingerprinting.

Note that no mention of time is given between the fingerprinting appointment being made and the actual fingerprinting taking place.  We do know it was not immediate because of statements made in The Return Of Tarzan.  In chapter 1 Burroughs writes, "they remind Tarzan of melodramatic villans he had seen at the theaters in Paris."  ERB-The Return Of Tarzan.  In chapter 3 Burroughs states, "Tarzan spent the two following weeks renewing his former brief acquaintance with Paris."  ERB-The Return Of Tarzan

From this information it is quite clear Tarzan spent at least a little time in Paris.  We know for a fact that the jungle lord at least had enough time for more then one theater visit, and had some time to go out on the town sightseeing.  My personal research leads me to believe the ape man's Paris visit to last shortly over a week.

Both Phil Farmer, and fellow ERB-APA whiz, Alan Hanson's, research show that ocean voyage takes approximately seven days in 1909.  Since my 1872 chronology shows this travel occurring sixteen years earlier I have added an extra day to Phil and Alan's research to cover any extra length of time due to technology advances.

At the police station D'Arnot's friend promised a wired cable gram within two weeks.  When Tarzan reached Baltimore that cable gram had not arrived, so we know the voyage, at the longest, was under two weeks.  Before leaving Baltimore the jungle lord had the expected cable gram transferred to Jane's address in Wisconsin.



  • DateJuly 17, 1893
  • Event:  D'Arnot and Tarzan sail for Lyons, France.
  • Source:  "Three weeks later Tarzan and D'Arnot were passengers on board a French steamer bound for Lyons,"  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateJuly 17, 1893
  • Event:  William Clayton and Mr. Philander go to Wisconsin.
  • Source:  When Jane arrives in Wisconsin it is stated, "The farmhouse, which stood on a little elevation some hundred yards from the tenant house, had undergone a complete transformation during the three weeks that Clayton and Mr. Philander had been there."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateJuly 23, 1893 Sunday
  • Event:  Tarzan and D'Arnot arrive in Lyons, France.
  • Source:  Phil Farmer, in Tarzan Alive, credits the two's voyage taking a total of five days in 1909.  I do not have the means to research the ship's traveling time, so I will depend on Farmer's research.  One thing to keep in mind, is that Phil's research is based on 1909 travel time, where my 1872 chronology is based on 1893.  Since my 1872 chronology shows this travel occurring sixteen years earlier, I have added an extra day to Phil's, to cover any extra length of time due to technology advances.


  • DateJuly 23 through July 27, 1893 Sunday through Thursday
  • Event:  Tarzan and D'Arnot spend a few days in Lyons.
  • Source:  "and after a few days in that city D'Arnot took Tarzan to Paris."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateJuly 29 through August 5, 1893
  • Event:  D'Arnot and Tarzan in Paris.
  • Source:  Burroughs says, "One of the first things which D'Arnot accomplished after their arrival was to arrange to visit a high official of the police department."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  At that meeting D'Arnot states, "I had hoped to know at once.  Monsieur Tarzan sails for America tomorrow."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  From this information, we learn Tarzan definitely sails for America the day after the fingerprinting.  Note that no mention of time is given between the fingerprinting appointment being made, and the actual fingerprinting taking place.  We do know it was not immediate, because of statements made in The Return Of Tarzan.  In chapter 1 Burroughs writes, "They reminded Tarzan of melodramatic villains he had seen at the theaters in Paris."  ERB-The Return Of Tarzan.  In chapter 3 Burroughs states, "Tarzan spent the two following weeks renewing his former brief acquaintance with Paris."  ERB-The Return Of Tarzan.  From this information it is quite clear Tarzan spent at least a little time in Paris.  We know for a fact that the jungle lord at least had enough time for more then one theater visit, and had some time to go out on the town sightseeing.  My personal research indicates the Paris visit to last shortly over a week.  We also know that D'Arnot and Tarzan had the Porter treasure appraised.  "The treasure was most carefully appraised by experts, but lest there should be any question in your mind, D'Arnot himself bought it and is holding it for you, should you prefer the treasure to the credit."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateAugust 4, 1893 Friday
  • Event:  Robert Canler speaks to Professor Porter about marrying Jane.
  • Source:  "There is young Clayton, you know," suggested Canler.  "He has been hanging about for months."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  Jane at this time also makes a statement which helps establish a time perspective.  "I want you to be sure, papa, to indicate all that you can do without until fall."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  In North America fall is between September 23 and December 22.  Therefore, we know this conversation must occur before, or after those dates.

  • Date August 5, 1893
  • Event:  Tarzan was fingerprinted.
  • Source:  "One of the first things which D'Arnot accomplished after their  arrival was to arrange to visit a high official of the police department."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  "You forget  that for twenty years the dead body of the child who made those fingerprints lay in the cabin of his father, and that all my life I have seen it lying there."  said Tarzan bitterly.  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateAugust 6, 1893
  • Event:  Tarzan sails for America.
  • Source:  "I had hoped to know at once," said D'Arnot.  "Monsieur Tarzan sails for America tomorrow."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateAugust 7, 1893
  • Event:  The Porter's go by train to northern Wisconsin.
  • Source:  "She is planning on our going up there the first of the week."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • Date August 14, 1893
  • Event:  Robert Canler arrives at Wisconsin.
  • Source:  "a week later, Robert Canler drew up before the farmhouse in his purring six cylinder."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  It is important to note that the first car with a six cylinder, according to History Of Cars, was a Napier.  They were produced in London and Boston from 1906 through 1909.  Therefore, in an 1872 chronology the modern car, as described by Burroughs, could not exist.  It is very possible, however, that Canler could have driven a car.  In this earlier time steam and electric cars were the norm, but a gas powered car was produced by the Daimler Motor Company which was founded in Steinway Avenue, Long Island, N.Y. in 1891.

  • DateAugust 14, 1893
  • Event:  Tarzan arrives in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Source:  Both Phil Farmer and Alan Hanson's research show this sea voyage takes approximately seven days in 1909.  Since my chronology shows this travel occurring sixteen years earlier I have added an extra day to Phil and Alan's date to cover any extra length of time due to technology advances.  Once their Tarzan looked up the Porter home where he received divesting news.  The Porter's had recently moved to Wisconsin and Canler had followed to marry Jane.  "But in Baltimore - Oh, how I have searched for you - they told me you would possibly be married by now.  That a man named Canler had come up here to wed you."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • DateAugust 21, 1893
  • Event:  Jane agrees to marry Robert Canler.
  • Source:  "A week passed; a tense, uneventful, but uncomfortable week for all the inmates of the little Wisconsin farmhouse."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • Date early morning August 22, 1893
  • Event:  Robert Canler goes to town to bring back the license and a minister.
  • Source:  "Early the next morning Canler set out for town."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • Dateabout noon August 22, 1893
  • Event:  Jane goes for a walk and gets trapped by a forest fire.
  • Source:  "About noon Jane started off for a walk."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.

  • Date August 22, 1893
  • Events:  Minutes later Tarzan arrives at the Porter's Wisconsin farmhouse in a French automobile.
  • Source:  "Suddenly, out of the northeast, a great black car came careening down the road."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  While riding to the train station with the jungle lord Mr. Philander says, "and now you are driving me along a Wisconsin road in a French automobile."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  Burroughs does not provide the brand of Tarzan's auto, but in 1893 it was most probably a Panhard, or a Peugeot.

  • Date evening August 22, 1893
  • Event:  The Porter party is at the train station on the way back to Baltimore.  Tarzan receives the telegram proving that he is Lord Greystoke.
  • Source:  "That evening in the little waiting room at the station Tarzan caught Jane alone for a moment."  ERB-Tarzan Of The Apes.  "She, too, was happy, for was she not returning to her beloved Maryland?"  ERB-The Return Of Tarzan.


James Michael Moody





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