By the time of his death in 1940, Farnsworth Wright had become one of the most influential editors the field of the fantastic would ever see. Wright was born in 1888 on July, 29. I would argue his influence on science fiction, fantasy, and horror has been greater than any other editor, including John W. Campbell, Dorothy McIlwraith, Fred Pohl, Ray Palmer, or Hugo Gernsback.
Yes, I realize that last sentence could be controversial, especially the inclusion of Campbell and Gernsback. So be it. Farnsworth Wright edited Weird Tales during what is considered to be the magazine’s golden age. The authors he published have had a greater impact on the literature of the fantastic than those of any other editor at any time in history.
Consider the following: Wright bought the first stories of Robert E. Howard and C. L. Moore. He published more horror and fantasy stories than I’ve got space to list by such writers as H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Henry S. Whitehead, Jack Williamson, Robert Bloch, Henry Kuttner, Seabury Quinn, Frank Belknap Long, and E. Hoffman Price, just to name a few. Many of the stories he published are considered classics.
Consider that new editions of many of these authors have been published in the last few years. Howard and Lovecraft are still influencing the field today. Case in point, the recent controversy over the bust of H. P. Lovecraft as the World Fantasy Award. That’s influence.
None of these things would likely have happened without Farnsworth Wright publishing their work. There simply weren’t any other markets for that type of fiction. Yes, many of those writers went on to write for other magazines and editors, notably Kuttner, Moore, Willamson, and Long for Campbell at Astounding and/or Unknown, just to name a few. But that was because Campbell paid better. All professional writers know you try to hit the top paying markets first.
But without Wright their careers would have been vastly different, and so would the field today.
So raise your glass to the memory of Farnsworth Wright, and if you have a moment, read something by one of the authors he published.