Thornton Taylor Shively was born on 26-Feb-1913 in Fairfield, Clay County, NE and died 21-Jun-1980 in Aptos, Santa Cruz County, CA. He was married in 1939 in California to Susan E. Collinson. Thornton Taylor Shively was the son of Thornton Pickenpaugh Shively who was born 21-Mar-1874 and died 13-Feb-1949 buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, CA and Harriet Bigelow. Thornton P. Shively was the son of Jacob Shively born 9-Jun-1837 in Monongalia County, WVA and Emily J. Snyder, married 9-Jan-1862. Jacob Shively was the son of Jacob Shively born 11-Feb-1787 Monongalia County, WV died 4-Mar-1869 in Monongalia County, WVA and Catherine Pickenpaugh born 11-Jan-1794 in Monongalia County, WVA died 15-Nov-1871, daughter of George Pickenpaugh and Charlotte Barrickman. Jacob Shively was the son of Phillip Shively died 1841 in Monongalia County, WVA and Abigail (Appolona) Back (Bach). Phillip Shively was the son of the immigrant ancestor Michael Shively.
Thornton Taylor Shively was a writer and author who wrote under the pseudonym of Thorne Lee. He wrote more than 30 tales which were published in various pulp magazines. Pulp magazines contained fiction stories written for inexpensive fiction magazines from 1896 to the 1950’s. Some of the pulp magazines that contained Thornton Shively’s work included Black Mask, Dime Detective, New Detective, Doc Savage, The Shadow, and Ten Detective Acres. Thornton Shively’s (Thorne Lee’s) first novel, The Fox And The Hound, was a story about an amnesiac trying to find out who he was and whether or not he committed murder. The novel was published complete and unabridged in the August 1944 issue of Mammoth Detective but unlike some of the other full-length novels it was never published in book form. He did have at least two books that were published which include The Monster Of Lazy Hook (Duell, 1949) and Summer Shock (Abelard-Schuman, 1956). The following newspaper article appeared in the Medford Mail-Tribune, Medford, Oregon, Friday, May 20, 1949, Page 3, Column 4:
Ashland Author Has First Book Published
Ashland, May 20 – An Ashland author, Thornton Shively, had his first book published yesterday. It is a suspense story entitled “The Monster Of Lazy Hook”. Shively has had numerous short stories published and his friends are eager to see his first full length novel. Shively was a player in the 1948 Shakespearean festival.
An “Authors Tea” in his honor is to be given on Saturday, May 21, from 3 to 5 pm. at the Ashland public library.
The following newspaper article was extracted from The Daily Review, Hayward, California, Sunday, February 16, 1975, Page 6, Columns 4-5:
He Wants To Keep Everyone In Suspense
By Bob Norberg
Somewhere in Thornton Shively’s expansive collection of notes and story outlines is the material for a best-selling novel. Of that, he’s sure.
An incorrigible optimist, Shively likes to fantasize he will turn out a best seller some day, perhaps when he retires from California State University, Hayward, where he is a senior assistant librarian.
“All writers have the fantasy of writing the great novel”, Shively said. “I have the material in my notes to achieve that potential”.
The question, he acknowledges, is whether he has the writing ability.
Shively, 62, of Fremont, has been a writer all his adult life, even though his livelihood has been various other jobs.
He has worked for a florist in Hastings, Neb. To get him through Hastings College.
He was a florist again in the late 30’s when he moved with his brother and his brother’s family to Los Angeles while the Depression was frustrating job seekers.
“It was in the Beverly Hills Hotel I saw a lot of movie stars passing through that hotel”, Shively said.
He worked at another Southern California hotel to get him through graduate school, worked for the Southern California Gas Co. during World War II, taught for awhile, and became a librarian.
But this as all secondary to writing, a passion that has remained since he was a child and read his first book.
“I knew I wanted to write from the time of the first books I’ve ever read”, he said. “I never gave up on this ambition, and I never expect to”.
At Hastings College, Shively, wrote the script to “Uncle Sam, Jr.”, a musical comedy with a measure of political satire.
The theme of the play, Shively said, was war and peace on an international scale. On side in a conflict lays down its arms, accepting a peaceful solution to the war. The other follows suit. It was an idealistic play – but it was also 1933.
“The basic philosophy of it was sort of negated by the emergence of Hitler. He shook the foundations of a lot of peace ideas at that time”, Shively said.
Nevertheless, the play was produced by the college and toured Nebraska, with Shively in one of the leading roles.
“I played the lead in it – a nice fat part written in it for myself”, Shively said. “I was interested in acting as well as writing”.
Shively continued writing in Los Angeles, while working, attending school, getting married, becoming a father – all of which represented financial obligations.
His first sales were in 1940, under the pen name of Thorne Lee, and they were detective stories “for the old pulp magazines”.
Shively worked for a gas company during the war, writing as much as he could, knowing that the time would come when he’d strike out as a full-time writer.
The image of the writer then, as now, involves a Bohemian and quite respectable lifestyle, he said.
“Bohemian in the sense that it’s difficult to convince to people who aren’t writers that you’re making a living at it. Society casts you in this light”.
“Writing isn’t quite a respectable profession, unless you write a best seller or become a name writer. Then you join the literary ranks”, Shively said.
After the war, Shively moved his family to Ashland, Ore., in the search for a cheaper place to live, to enable him to write full time.
He wrote for four years, publishing two novels, another novel published in serialized from, a large quantity of short stories and novelettes, all for detective magazines of that late 40’s era.
Shively’s first novel, under the pen name of Thorne Lee, had two characters which his readers were to see in a number of other mystery stories he wrote.
The characters were a brainy wheelchair detective and his private-eye partner, the physical dimension of the team.
“They weren’t based on anyone I knew, just what I thought would make an interesting detective team”, he said. “But they didn’t achieve literary fame”.
Shively and a number of writers grew up in the era of the pulp magazines, some moving on to larger and more prestigious publications, others into the movies and then-emerging and lucrative television.
“The pulp magazine field was the most open one to writers”, he said. “And of course they emphasized mysteries and Westerns and science fiction. I never tried much science fiction, although I did sell a couple stories”.
Shively tells of earning a reasonable living during those days, doing odd jobs on the side to keep things together.
It wasn’t like that for all writers, though, Shively said, telling about Vern Athanas, a lumberjack he became friends with while Athanas was working in an Ashland bookstore.
“Here I’d been writing all my adult life and he was an ex-lumberman working in a bookstore. He started writing for pulp magazines, writing westerns, and within six months he was hitting the major magazines, like the Saturday Evening Post”.
Television precipitated the collapse of the pulp magazine market in the late 40’s, Shively said, and those who couldn’t make the transition to television and moves had to turn to other things.
Shively left Ashland for Visalia, where he taught English on a junior college level for several years, beginning in 1950.
During the summers off, he wrote his second novel, “Summer Shock”, a mystery with the Ashland Shakespeare festival as its backdrop.
It sold 2,000 to 3,000 copies, he said – not a major success.
Shively left Visalia for the Bay Area, stopping in Berkeley long enough to receive a librarian’s degree from the University of California.
Then it was back to Ashland, Shively said, for four years working in the Southern Oregon College library.
The next stop in his seemingly restless trek was Guadalajara, Mexico, where he sought a reduced standard of living for another shot at being a full-time writer.
It was to be home for a year, but his stay only lasted six months as the financial pressures closed in.
“The writing just wasn’t paying off”, Shively said. “That’s when I began looking in California and took this job at Cal State”.
That was 12 years ago, Shively said, and he’s remained at Cal State, looking at his retirement as another opportunity to write, this time without the usual financial pressures.
The 12 years at Cal State haven’t been non-writing years, though, since he’s written two plays which were produced at Encinal High School in Alameda.
The first play, Shively said, was based on one of his mystery works, a novel which was serialized in 17 magazines, his first work to appear in “the slicks”.
“Basically, my ideas seem to run in those lines – suspense. Don’t know whether it’s that or because I wrote in that area for so long, but my best ideas always come out in suspense”, he said.
“To classify myself as a write, I’m one to whom the ideas come very readily, but the complete writing of the work doesn’t come as readily as the ideas”, Shively said.
Being a librarian and being around books is an offshoot of the love of writing, Shively said, but “It’s frustrating to see all the books being published and not your own”.
He remains an optimistic and smiling person, though, and keeps his notes up-to-date, outlining his ideas for his future novels, any one of which could be that best seller.
The following was located in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz, California, Sunday, June 22, 1980, page 70, Column 6:
SHIVELY – In Santa Cruz, California, June 21, 1980. Mr. Thornton Shively. Survived by his wife, Mrs. Susan Shively of Aptos; two daughters, Mrs. Susan Zare of Stanford and Mrs. Sally Legakis of Winston Salem, North Carolina. Also survived by five grandchildren. Native of Hastings, Nebraska, aged 67 years.
Private cremation I.O.O.F. Crematory. Norman’s Family Chapel (Norman Benito, director), 3620 Soquel Drive, Soquel in charge of arrangements.