Monday, February 19, 2007

Rare Copy of The Fossil Features HPL's Last Recruit

The Fossil, Official Publication of The Fossils, Inc. The Historians of Amateur Journalism, Vol. 82, No. 3 – 250, April 1985

“Lovecraft’s Last Surviving Recruit: A Profile of Victor E. Bacon”
By Willametta Keffer

Victor Edward Bacon was living on Cheshire Street in Jamaica Plains in the Boston area in the early 1920’s, and attended some meetings of the Hub Club; in May 1923 he was listed as a member of the Club. In early 1924 he was sponsored for membership in the NAPA by J. Bernard Lynch, at the time president of the Club, by which time he had returned to his St. Louis home (3723 Sylvan Place) and his credential was “News Notes from Beverly Times”.

In the July 1925 official organ of the United Amateur Press Assn. ( now through the 1969 merger, the United Amateur Press) he was sponsored for membership by Howard P. Lovecraft, a former President, then currently official editor of The United Amateur; and to the best of our research, Bacon is the last surviving a.j. sponsored by that legendary figure. VEB’s credential was given as “Reportorial and Editorial work.”

The UAPA did not hold a convention 1925, so election was conducted by mail. The president, Edgar J. Davis, a Bostonian, appointed VEB to the post of Official Editor, since none had been elected, and his first official action was to issue a mimeographed Special Bulletin with details of the mail election. His first issue of The United Amateur, dated September, ran to 8 pages, including membership list, but was not published or distributed until January 1926. His editorial in the second (May 1926) stated that copy had been prepared and mailed to the “official publisher (Harry Marlowe of Warren, Ohio) on August 16, 1925, and publisher reports he lost some of the copy in the post office or on a street car. After the issue was mailed, the lost copy was found in the returned manuscript of a fellow amateur editor. Repeated inquiries have failed to elicit a satisfactory explanation from the publisher as to the reason for the lapses of four months between the date he received copy and the date the issue was mailed.”

He located a publisher in St. Louis for the second and third (his final issued in July 1926), by which time his address was 5932 Julian Ave., St. Louis, his parents home. His sister Gladys, late an NAPA member, also lived there.

His personal paper was Bacon’s Essay; I/I Summer 1927 issued for both the UAPA and NAPA, had as its opening article by H.P. Lovecraft, “A Matter of Uniteds” which related how a 1912 merger attempt ended unpleasantly when a hotly contested election was not settled to the satisfaction of either ticket of candidates.

Only six issues of bacon’s Eassays are in our personal library, but we believe this to be the complete file. Two of them had gorgeously colored covers, and the paper won an Editorial Laureat. In the Sixth (Spring, 1931, IV/I) VEB amusedly referred to a statement in the Boaston Herald, edited by Edwin Hadley Smith, that after VEB “became editor of the UAPA Official Organ, that society never met again.” For the record, VEB stated, it had not held meetings for several years prior to his election, and that during his term he issued more copies than had been published in the entire preceding two years. For comparison: May 1924 (edited by HPL) was 16 pages & cover, including a membership list. The next, July 1925 (HPL editor) 14 printed pages including the two on the bac cover of the membership list.

He continued very active writing in the years after his return to St. Louis. A news item reported he had been chosen from a large field of …

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