Saturday, January 16, 2016

E. L. Moore on selfies

On April Fool’s Day 1962 E. L. Moore submitted a manuscript to Railroad Model Craftsman that would eventually be published as build a Covered Railroad Bridge in the June ’62 issue. Hal Carsterns, editor of RMC at the time, wrote back on 4 April with the good news that he’d accept the manuscript and a request to provide a little biographical material. The covered bridge article was one of the earliest E. L. Moore articles to be published in RMC, so they likely still didn’t know each other too well. Here’s the reply from Mr. Carsterns to set the scene,

April 4, 1962

Well, Eee Ell . . .

I hope we do pick up a lot of Model Trains readers. What with Uncle wanting more and more postage money and other prices going up, we could use a few new readers.

The covered bridge don’t look too bad and it sorta fills a void in our scheduled June issue planning. So – barring any catastroscopes [sic] or last minute changes – the bridge will be in our June issue.

And how about rushing up a photo of you with a brief history.


signed Hal

H H Carsterns

There’s a number of E. L. Moore projects that I’d classify as his high-end, precision builds and the covered bridge is one of them. A few more were to come over his career, but for now, the demand was for some biographical material. This request seemed to touch a nerve – and a humorous one at that. Let’s read!

April 8th, 1962

The Editor,
Himself . . .
R. M. C.  etc.

Ah no, my kind sire, no thumbnail sketch, I beg of you. It would only bring envy to the hearts of those readers who are less fortunate . . . this finding a railroad modeler among the unbedeviled by telephone, television or wife. One who shares none of their wearisome worries over a failing battery or an out-of-date driver’s license, but who is still agile enough to side-step the mad speed demons who are caught up in the mad whirl of today’s rat (or should we say, monkey?) race.

The ape, racing to the moon, holds no fascination for me . . .  I much prefer the sedate company of the tomcat who suns himself out on the back porch.

Happy dreams . . .

signed E. L. Moore

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.
P. S. Being a photographer, I find it highly unprofitable going around taking pictures of myself – besides it offends my sense of good taste, if any.

This one, taken at nine . . .  or perhaps it was after the ninth drink . . .  I forget which, is still a good resemblance, although I now part my hair on the opposite side.

signed ELM


  1. I like Hal Carsten's assertion that the bridge "don't look too bad"...I guess EL could see the humour in that! I don't think I had seen a photo of the great man, so that was fun to see what he looked like (pretty much what I imagined).

    1. I've seen a couple pictures of him in different getups - variations on the backwoods gentleman or Chic Sale. There was a more 'normal' picture that appeared in Model Railroader's 1980 tribute article. But, in all of those I still have no idea on which side he parted his hair :-)