The back ground photos are book covers from his books.

 Roger Brucker says that when he was growing up in Shelby, "Aunt Retta, (who was the subject of the previous section), was my writing hero. At the age of 10 or 11, I visited her house on Marvin Avenue where the back bedroom was her writing room. She wrote on a portable typewriter on yellow paper. A chapter each day. Then she would heavily edit the previous day’s output with red ink. A typist would come by, leave a typed copy on white paper, and take the edited yellow mss. She then edited the new copy mercilessly. I admired her industry. "

While Margaretta was the oldest child in Francis Brucker's family, the youngest was Franklin Henry (F. H.) Brucker, born in 1899, who married Marian Jane Love, born in 1901. Roger Warren Brucker is their only child.

Marian's parents were Dr. Matthew Thompson Love (born in Knox Co., Ohio in 1860) and Luella Lulu Jane Bloom (born in Shelby in 1865). Matthew's parents were Joseph and Anne Jane Thompson Love. Anne was born in Ireland in 1827, while Joseph was a native of Ohio born in 1821 of Irish parents. Marian's mother Luella was born to Samuel Stambaugh (born 1834) and Jane (Jennie) Mickey Bloom (born 1837).

In 1906, Marian, her parents and older brothers; John Willis, born 1892, and Francis Bloom, born 1894 were living in Shelby at 20 North Gamble street, just one door north of her father's doctor's office. 



The Brickley Block fire of 1897 threatened Dr. Matthew Love's office ( on the right below) and could have moved further north and destroyed the Love home. 
DR. M. T. Love
By 1939, after Marian's parents' passing, she and her son Roger were living at 20 North Gamble Street and Dr. James A. Ellery had his office at 18 North Gamble St.
where Dr. Love had been previously located.



 Eight years later Roger graduated from
Shelby High School, having been chosen
editor of the 1947 Scarlet S year book.
That experience would pay off first, when
he edited the 1950 HI-O-HI yearbook
at Oberlin College where he graduated in
1951 and then secondly, when he began
his professional writing career.
1950 HI-O-HI
Not long after college graduation, Roger enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to Wright-Patterson AFB outside of Dayton, Ohio where he wrote and directed technical, documentary, and training films. It was during this period he followed and further developed the interest in caving that he first experienced in his youth when his mother took him on his first visit to Mammoth Cave in 1937.
He spent most of his spare time exploring in the Mammoth Cave region in Kentucky, with an Air Force friend Richard Watson, who had an interest in photography as well as caving. Roger and Richard would later co-author
Roger's second book, "The Longest Cave".
In 1954 he was selected to participate in a week long expedition in Floyd Collin's Crystal Cave. It was this and later experiences that led to Roger's first book,
"The Caves Beyond", which was co-written with Joe Lawrence, Jr.
Roger Brucker's fascination with the Kentucky Cave System has influenced all five of his books. At the time of Mammoth Cave's establishment as a National Park in 1941, it was thought to be the largest of the known caves in the Edmonson, Hart, and Barren Counties area in Kentucky. This understanding would eventually change as the result of exploration by both amateur and professional cavers. Roger Brucker is one of those cavers whose continuing efforts to tie several of the other existing caves into one system resulted in it now being acknowledged as the largest cave system in the world.

Roger's books, taken as a whole, tell the stories of these caves, their discoverers, the rivalries and comradeship of the caving explorers, and their struggles to chase down all passages and to eventually map them in detail. Their equipment was often crude and sometimes even "state of the art", but usually somewhat primitive compared to what we are now accustomed.

The areas where these caves exist were generally not suited for farming so the properties were often considered rather worthless. Then some inquisitive landowners discovered that many of the sinkholes that pock-marked their properties led to underground areas that might be used for storage. Further exploration revealed these storage areas occasionally extended further into darkness beyond the light from the surface. Since early exploration of these passages was sometimes done alone and with little planning, the results were often disappointing or even tragic.

When this exploration began, who the explorers may have been, and some of the tragedies and successes that occurred are all discussed in the Brucker books.
First published in 1955
Often the expression, “They wrote the book on (fill in the blank)” is applied casually; however, in this instance it is absolutely correct and more. Roger Brucker and Joe Lawrence combined to write the bible on the scientific approach to cave exploration! The book is explicit in it's comprehensive description of the methods used as well as the sometimes hour-to-hour events that occurred during the 1954 week-long expedition into Floyd Collins' Crystal Cave (C-3). The number and qualifications of those involved, as well as the in-depth study and preparation for the C-3 event, set a high standard for future cave explorations.
Sixty-four people were included in the expedition. Fifty persons spent a total of 4,646 hours underground, rotating to carry in food and other supplies and to allow others to spend some time above ground. A wired telephone communication system was installed as the expedition began. Some in the party remained above ground to maintain communications and direct the delivery of supplies, etc. Medical personnel were always on hand for possible emergencies as well as to monitor the impact on those who spent extended periods underground.
Add the history of Floyd Collins' Crystal Cave itself and you have a book that should be required reading for any caver.

Published in 1976
The Longest Cave is a comprehensive fact filled story of a sequence of discoveries leading to the connections between individual Flint Ridge Caves and the final connection to the Mammoth Cave system.
The story begins only months after the C-3 event described in Brucker's previous book (see above). A connection between Floyd Collins' Crystal Cave and the neighboring Unknown Cave was made September, 1955. Rivalries between caver groups, mentioned earlier, grew. The two main groups at that time were: National Speleological Society and the Cave Research Foundation (newly formed by Roger Brucker and the team of cavers, many of whom were a part of C-3). Using mapping techniques born of that event, the new team's first goal was to connect the remaining Flint Ridge Caves.
The second connection occurred in August of 1960 when Salts Cave and Colossal Cave were joined. A year later a connection was discovered between the Unknown/Collins Crystal Cave combination and Colossal/Salts. These united caves formed a cave system consisting then of approximately 30 miles in length, but still shorter than Mammoth.
Now only a half mile strip of Houchins Valley prevented the Flint Ridge/ Mammoth Cave connection. To solve this, initial attempts came from the Flint Ridge system, following passages that held the promise of crossing beneath the valley, but all ended in disappointment. Another group organized to quietly enter the Mammoth Cave system and proceed from that side of the valley. It also proved futile. After twelve years of probing from both directions a passage was found from Flint Ridge that finally intersected with Mammoth Cave. This was Hanson's Lost River passage, originally found by Stephen Bishop (see 5th book), and was included in his map of 1842. The new length of the Flint Ridge/Mammoth Cave system was soon calculated to be 144.448 miles and made it the world's longest cave system (1972)!
The book includes extensive photos, drawings, and maps. Appendix I outlines the history of the caves and provides a bibliography of associated explorers. Appendix II is a chronology of the major discoveries and Appendix III lists a glossary of caving terminology.
An absolute must for any caving enthusiast.

Published in 1979
There have been many books and articles written about the Floyd Collins Sand Cave tragedy; however, they all fall short of "Trapped".
In this revised edition (1982), Roger Brucker adds to his voluminous research presented in the first edition (1979). Brucker uses maps, photos, diagrams, and news sources of the period to fashion the Collins' story. He explores the many factors: family issues, caver rivalries, and land disputes that, combined with Floyd's drive to develop his cave into a tourist attraction, contributed to the disaster.
After describing the events leading to the entrapment, he meticulously covers the specifics of Floyd's whereabouts in the cave, his health situation, and the cave shaft condition in that exact area. All those who were involved in the initial attempts at Floyd's recovery and the methods attempted are discussed in detail. After this failure, disagreements develop between family members and friends regarding the next steps to be taken. Then local media becomes involved which escalates the situation, heightens the tension, and further aggravates the already explosive atmosphere. Conflicting suggestions and growing national media attention accompanied by over-aggressive reporters soon elevate the event and the rescue attempt becomes almost secondary. A 50 foot shaft is started, designed to reach a position below Floyd, to free him from his trapped position. All archival historical details of the rescue are presented as well as the aftermath of the frustratingly sad failure.
Roger Brucker's is the most complete, factual, and well written Floyd Collins book available.

 Published in 2001
 Caver rivalry and secrecy have been previously mentioned, however it becomes a major issue throughout this book. James Borden and Roger Brucker co-author this detailed description of events following the Flint Ridge/Mammoth Cave connection. Starting in 1976 Borden, who represented the Central Kentucky Karst Coalition (CKKC), begins a narration of the exploration of Roppel Cave and the initial attempts to find "cave" that would lead under Toohey Ridge. This in turn was suspected to be a pathway eventually leading to a Mammoth Cave connection. Brucker, associated with the Cave Research Foundation (CRF), then begins a narrative which starts with the investigation of Proctor Cave and the possibility of cave extensions into Doyle Valley with hopes of finding passages leading to a Mammoth Cave connection. These events were occurring simultaneously during the period 1976 - 1983. As each story unfolds and progress, although frustrating, is made by both competing groups, the desire to find the most "cave" to add to the Mammoth/Flint system intensifies their rivalry.
The search enlarges to include closely located Morrison Cave which will be first connected to the developing Proctor Cave and finally attached to Mammoth via the "French Connection" passage (CRF). Meanwhile "Big Cave" was being added to Roppel Cave by CKKC. The drive to make the final connection between Roppel and Mammoth led to some secretive and devious tactics described in the closing chapters of this exciting follow-up to "The Longest Cave" (above).
The final Mammoth/Roppel connection was made September of 1983, and both CRF and CKKC took part in that final event. This junction created a system consisting of over 296 miles. By 1996 The Mammoth Cave system had been increased to 365 miles, or more than 3.5 times as large as the second largest cave system in the world.
The book includes many photos, maps, and drawings that help describe the events as they occurred. This should be required reading for cavers.

Published in 2009
After four non-fiction books, Roger Brucker continues bringing more information pertaining to his favorite area of expertise - the Mammoth Cave area in Kentucky. This book is historical fiction with an emphasis on "history". Facts are fleshed out by using narrative typical of the period to transport the reader through the life of Stephen Bishop as told by his wife Charlotte Brown Bishop.
In 1838, Stephen was brought as a slave to the Mammoth Cave area by his owner Franklin Gorin. Gorin used slave labor to clear pathways and passages of obstacles, etc. to make his newly acquired cave property more suitable as a tourist attraction. In the process, Stephen became fascinated by the cave and spent his "spare" time exploring the more remote trails and passageways. As visitors arrived, Stephen was assigned by Gorin to be a guide and though uneducated, Stephen quickly developed a thorough knowledge of the known cave and in his exploring time, he went beyond. He was the first to cross the "Bottomless Pit" and discover new portions of Mammoth Cave. He added those areas to tours for special visitors and quickly became Mammoth Cave's favorite guide. Stephen continued his cave exploration through a series of "owners" and later, by employing methods he observed road surveyors use, he drew the first map of the Mammoth Cave system (in the book) that was used in tourist advertising literature of the time.
This book, like the previous four Brucker books, is well researched, completely documented, and presented in a manner that pulls the reader into the story of this self-educated man and his fascination to know the limits and extent of his favorite (Mammoth) cave.

This summer (2019) Roger Brucker will reach his 90th birthday. He is still very much involved in Mammoth Cave expeditions geared to enlarging the now over 412 mile long system. In mid- February of this year, in email correspondence, Roger mentioned taking part in an expedition involving 40+ cavers working out of their CRF headquarters at Hamilton Valley, Kentucky. The complex, adjacent to Mammoth Cave, includes: bunkhouses, map room, large kitchen, archives building, and classrooms.
His email continues:
"You indicated that we surveyed with primitive instruments, but that is a relative term. Many surveys are made with a Leica rangefinder fitted with a special board containing a magnetometer and an accelerometer. It measures the distance between stations to the tenth of a foot, the magnetic bearing, and the vertical angle. The memory will hold 1000 stations. We still use Suunto compasses and tape measures for some surveys. The surveys are plotted from the data recorded in each survey book using Adobe Illustrator. So the maps are professional in every sense of the word, annotated with information and survey station labels. Passage detail is shown, breakdowns, sand floors, streams, and pools in blue. The 412 miles continue to grow at about 8 miles per year, from a high point of 10 to 12 miles per year. We have about 40% of the trips to resurvey to obtain higher accuracy, but duplicate surveys are not counted in the total. This is one of the most massive cave surveying and exploring projects in the world. Jewel Cave has just passed the 200-mile length and Wind Cave is at 150-miles. One of our members has created a Gazetteer of about 1500 items pertaining to the history, location, date of first reference, etc. So the database can be searched. In my opinion this project is unique in the cave world because it has been going on for so many years and the number of cave experts involved."
On the subject of growing up in Shelby, Roger wrote:
"When I lived in Shelby, Frank Long and I became magicians, entertaining lodges, clubs, and church groups. We staged magic shows at such far distant places as Mansfield and Orville, OH during the 1940s. Frank became a lawyer and served as mayor of Shelby.
I held many jobs, starting with cleaning wallpaper (coal heat sooted walls), mopping floors in Bob Bussom's gift shop after school, summers working as labor for contractors, draftsman at Autocall, and deckhand on a Great Lakes freighter. I was the product of unconditional love and plenty of opportunities to fail cheaply!
I would not trade the experience of growing up in Shelby for anything -- it was adventure at every turn, learning new things every day. For example, in winter after school we'd roll big snowballs and poise them on the rail of the overhead bridge on the CCC RR. When a steam train came, we got expert at timing the drop to hit the locomotive's smokestack bullseye. We invented the mushroom steam cloud before the A-bomb."

Roger's professional life included adjunct professor of marketing at Wright State University as well as working as an advertising executive. His interest in art is apparent after viewing his drawings that appear in his books.
In addition to the five books already mentioned, Roger has written more than 87 short stories under the anagram pen name, Ergor Rubreck. They have appeared in caver publications for over five years.
Roger's son Tom is also an avid caver and played a major role in the discoveries documented in Roger's 2nd and 4th books. Roger and wife Lynn (also a caver) are bicycle enthusiasts who in 2000, rode their tandem bicycle 3200 miles from San Diego, CA. to St. Augustine, FL. Many more bike trips have taken place since that time.
I thank Roger for his interest in and contributions to this article. He wrote of fond memories of his hometown Shelby and reminiscences of his Aunt Retta, her early book writing, and influences on him. I wish Roger many more miles whether it be on bicycles or in cave passages; may it be smooth going!
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