Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Let's Learn More About J C Henneberger Part 3b

Well, Chrispy has learned over the years that Lovecraft played his cards close to his vest. Even in his personal correspondence to his closest friends, he cleverly spun to his audience just what he wanted the reader to hear. We know that C M Eddy - a close pal - had no clue he was off to be married to Sonia, nor for that matter did his aunts until the last moment.

All this makes interpretation of Lovecraft's life - when it comes to Houdini and Henneberger - a bear.

Joshi indicates that Frank Belknap Long believed that a $60 HPL used on a book buying spree store credit was from Henneberger, but did not know of the offer of editorship of Magazine of Fun. He thought it was for stories in lieu of cash. Except for Robert Weinberg, perhaps no one would have ever known? (1)

We can see what Long says (2) ... (3) "I did not find out until later, - for some reason he had been reluctant to tell me - that he had a bookseller's credit slip for sixty dollars, given to him by J. C. Henneberger, the founder of Weird Tales, in lieu of cash payment just before Farnsworth Wright had assumed the editorship of the magazine and story sales on a cash basis had come to an abrupt halt. I have never had any doubt that someone had given Henneberger the credit slip and, being in Chicago, he could not have readily availed himslef of a pleasure he had passed along to Howard, without giving much thought to the money he might have saved had he purchased the story for cash."

You decide. Did HPL earn the wage for stories, or as an advance for a job that never happened?

It is clear Long had little respect for Henneberger based on this remark. Lovecraft, elsewhere, states the same {for instance see the 1924 Baird Letter that Willis Conover reproduced in 1936.}

One thing is clear, this was a stupendous sum by Henneberger to dole out. Especiially when he was strapped for cash. Who was Henneberger's mysterious backer who had lots of dough to give out? Hmm. We know one generous superstar who was lavish with his friends - who gave out money to anyone whom he considered in trouble - Houdini. Hmm.

However, why pay HPL anything? Why a huge sum? And this was a lot of money.

The best information Chrispy can find is that the NICB for December 1927 declared manufacturing wages to be $29.35 per week for males. (4). Henneberger's $60 was phenomenal as an advance. The NICB for December 1927 states that $40 per week was a solid and desirable wage - and $100 was a king's ransom. (5) Surveys showed a middle income family of two wage earners made $75 a week.

...to be contiinued ...

1. Chrispy does not have a copy of Weinberg's reference.
2. Chrispy does have a copy of Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Night Side, Long, 1975, Arkham House (expanded edition).
3. Ibid. p. 83
4. 1927: The High Tide of the 1920's, Gerald Leinwald, Four Walls Eight Windows, NY, 2001. p. 51. Skilled wages (in 1927) ran to $30.80. Unskilled ran $24.12. NICB = National Industrial Conference Board.
5. Ibid. , p. 12, on p. 35 we read, Henry Ford was worth $1.2 Billion - Rockefeller and Mellon trailed. A $6000 per annum income placed one in the top 5% of the US. In 1914 the per capita was $320 and in 1927 it was $770. There were 15,000 millionaires in the States. In 1914 the number was 4500 and in 1924 it was 11,000. Gainfully employed workers carried home about $2010 ($40 a week).

No comments:


Blog Archive


Google Analytics