Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Happy Halloween To 2007 from Halloween 1921

A real photo postcard of a group of people posing for the camera in their version of Halloween costumes. On the verso, written in period ink are the names of those depicted in the photo and the note that the photo was taken on Halloween night of 1921. The two people on the ends, standing, are young ladies dressed as men, and the person in the middle, standing, is a man dressed as a woman. This photo is from an old paper and photo lot of the Almonte family of Federal Hill, in Providence, Rhode Island. Their dry goods store has, for many years, been on Atwells Ave. on Federal Hill, a well known Italian neighborhood in Providence.




Monday, October 29, 2007

Lovecraft Letter to C M Eddy Jr. 5 September 1925

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (ALS). 6 pages, dated 5 September, n.y. [but 1924], to "Dear C M E Jr." [Clifford M. Eddy, Jr.], signed "yr most obt grandpa HPL." Written on three sheets of 6 x 9 1/2-inch paper with Hotel Pantlind letterhead, from 259 Parkside Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. Approximately 1000 words. Apologizes for delay in writing, citing pressures of work. Complains about the uncertainties of free-lance work; reports efforts to find regular literary employment, including for a trade journal, The Haberdasher -- undoubtedly arranged by his wife, Sonia, who worked in the fashion business. He refers to her in passing a couple of times, but never by name ("the frau," "the upper half," "the wife"). Thanks him for the loan of recent All-Stories issue with sequel to A. Merritt's THE MOON POOL ("É very good, thought its diffuseness, romanticizing & explanatory quality make it a bit less powerful than 'The Moon Pool' itself.") Reports the reading of Eddy's story "The Better Choice" at a meeting of "the gang" and its favorable reception aside from a few problems, chiefly the presence of so many formulaic phrases, of which HPL then lists a dozen examples ("rubbed elbows", "Cimmerian darkness", "wild-eyed, staring"). "The idea is to get away from formulae & state things in some new & arresting form. Of course it's darned difficult -- but it's worth it!" Reports current status of various titles on the private postal circulating library that Lovecraft and his friends used to exchange reading material. (It should be remembered that the current inter-library loan system had not yet been established.). Unpublished. Letter has faint mailing creases, but is in fine condition. (#109139) Price: $1,500.00

Lovecraft Letter to Muriel Eddy (September 1923)


Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (ALS). 4 pages, dated 5 September 1923, to "My dear Mrs. [Muriel G.] Eddy", signed "very sincerely yours, H. P. Lovecraft." Written on two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper with Hotel Statler Detroit letterhead, from 598 Angell Street, Providence, R.I. Clifford and Muriel Eddy were the only other devotees of the weird tale, both as readers and writers, whom Lovecraft knew in Providence. Accounts differ on the question of when the friendship began, but the most reliable evidence would put it near the time of this letter, in the fall of 1923. As one of the earliest letters in their correspondence, this was written under circumstances that make it particularly interesting for the student of Lovecraft and weird tales today. He knew of their strong interest in this subject, so he felt free to delve into it. He didn't know them very well, so he felt obliged to introduce himself, but in an economical manner, since any letter much longer than this would seem to presume on their interest. And the newness of the relationship, the absence of familiarity, meant he could not retreat into that bantering, cynical tone so often found in letters to old friends. The result, in the two middle pages of this letter, is as good an explanation of his literary style as one could find. Even to those who have read dozens of such apologiae pro suis litteris in his letters, this one may bring out a new glint or two on the subject. The focus here is on his authorial voice, that curious blend of professorial calm and preternatural alarm, lulling regular rhythms and jarringly esoteric diction, cozy antiquarianism and cosmic alienation, that has come to be known as "Lovecraftian." It is not an authentic Georgian style, or course -- if Sam Johnson or Alexander Pope could read one of HPL's stories, it would suggest the sly mania of a bedlamite -- but a Georgian style as refracted through the amber of modern nostalgia. "It was the old style which I venerated in youth, & with which I became so saturated that it grew to be my instinctive utterance." If he tried to write with the clipped precision of moderns such as Sherwood Anderson and Ben Hecht, "É I should be floundering about as clumsily & artificially as if I were using a half-foreign dialect." Because Lovecraft is so connected in people's minds with the pulp magazines that sprang up after World War I, that watershed between the Victorian and modern ears, it is hard to remember sometimes that Lovecraft spent his formative years (24 of them) in a Victorian world. He disavowed any sympathy for the Victorian, but the question of which bygone aesthetic he yearned for is secondary to the fact that it was a lost world, as lost as his childhood and youth. "And the ironic part of it is, that I have a very keen intellectual appreciation of what the moderns are doing, so that (as in the Conservative I sent you) I am often forced to defend them against the reactionaries whom I myself resemble in my actual use of language. Truly, a grotesque cleavage between theory & practice!". Unpublished. Letter has faint mailing creases, but is in fine condition. (#109137) Price: $2,500.00

Handwritten Under the Pyramids


Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. "UNDER THE PYRAMIDS" [novelette]. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT SIGNED (AMsS). 34 pages, handwritten on the rectos of 34 sheets of white 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper with typed and handwritten business and personal letters on the rectos. Undated, but written in late February 1924. Lovecraft was commissioned by WEIRD TALES owner J C Henneberger to ghost-write this story for Harry Houdini, part of a big push he was making to revive the magazine's sagging fortunes one year after its debut. He wrote it in a hurry during the last week of April, 1924, as he was preparing to marry Sonia Greene; lost the typescript in a train station; then had to spend the first two days of his honeymoon re-typing it from the manuscript which he had providentially brought with him. The story, retitled "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs," ran in three consecutive issues, May, June and July (sharing space with "The Loved Dead," a tale of necrophilia by C. M. Eddy which had been rewritten by Lovecraft; it alarmed some authorities and prompted editorial caution in WT which later hampered some of HPL's efforts. He was paid $100 for "Under the Pyramids," a high-water mark for a piece of fiction by him. Written in the same year (1924) as THE SHUNNED HOUSE, this is, beneath the veil of its Egyptian "color," another story, like THE SHUNNED HOUSE, about monsters in a graveyard. For that, after all, is what the pyramid is, what the surrounding district is, what the hero realizes the whole country is. "All these people thought of was death É." Just as THE SHUNNED HOUSE reduces the motif of burial down to its modest minimum (the tomb of one ancestor under the basement of a small run-down house in a small run-down city); so does "Under the Pyramids" inflate it to its grandiose maximum: a pyramid, symbol of the most venerable bloodline of Western culture. Undoubtedly, Lovecraft himself understood the difference between these two efforts, one a bit of hired hackwork to keep the pot boiling, the other an ambitious and thoughtful master work. In letters to Frank Belknap Long around this period (SL1, #163, 164, 166, 172), HPL explains that the idea for the story began with a yarn told to Henneberger by "this bimbo Houdini" (p. 312), which, after some research, HPL determined to be "all a fake" (p. 317). This probably encouraged him to embellish it without restraint -- once he got started writing the piece, which was due March 1. As of Feb. 25 he hadn't started. "I went the limit in descriptive realism in the first part, then when I buckled down to the under-the-pyramid stuff I let myself loose and coughed up some of the most nameless, slithering, unmentionable HORROR that ever stalked cloven-hooved through the tenebrous and necrophagous abysses of elder night." (p. 326) To retype the story, the honeymooners rented (for $1) a typewriter at the Hotel Vendig in New York and HPL typed while his bride dictated from the manuscript -- "a marvelous way of speeding up copying, and one which I shall frequently employ in future, since my spouse expresses a willingness amounting to eagerness so far as her share of the toil is concern'd. She has the absolutely unique gift of being able to decipher the careless scrawl of my rough manuscripts -- no matter how cryptically and involvedly interlined." (p. 332). (In truth, HPL's handwriting is not especially hard to decipher.) HPL must have been pleased at the setting for his assignment, returning him, as it did, to the scene of his childhood's first literary obsession, the Arabian Nights. Of course, that's only one section in the trackless wastes of Egypt's history, and the narrator's voyage up the Nile into its Canopically-preserved heart of darkness finds him penetrating down and down through the layers of that history: Anglo-American, Napoleonic, Saracenic, Greco-Roman, Pharaonic -- and Beyond. He finally reaches that ultimate layer, found in so many of his stories, of a primordial past of monstrous gods, hinted at by rumors of atavistic survivals and glimpsed in moments of agonizing revelation. We also see in the story an archaeology of Lovecraft's literary influences (the M. R. Jamesian voice of dry scholarship, establishing credibility; the fabled Eastern landscapes of Dunsany, establishing mood and expectation; and, in the climax, the secret atavistic rites of Machen, establishing psychological resonance). Looking beyond these we see those thematic and stylistic qualities which complete the mixture now commonly known as Lovecraftian. A tour of the various levels of meaning in the story, however casually its author may have approached its composition, takes us through important regions of personal, generic and archetypal significance. The looming prospect of marriage, an unexpected and ill-fated adventure, given Lovecraft's eternal boyhood, could well have inspired some of the nightmare imagery in the story, with its obvious sexual overtones: the bound and gagged hero must descend through a long shaft to an immense subterranean space at one end of which is glimpsed the opening of yet another ominous shaft ("the foul aperture," "the noxious aperture"), big enough to fit a house in, as the narrator notes. Old words for "house" form the etymological sources of both "husband" and "pharaoh." The one would represent to HPL a side of himself as the sacrificial victim being dragged to the altar. The other identifies the chief villain in the story, the evil pharaoh Khefren (bearing an uncanny resemblance to the guide who lured him to his doom) who, with his evil consort Queen Nitocris, presides over the unholy assemblage of monsters making sacrifice to the chief monster of them all. As a voluntary bridegroom, HPL would become both the sacrificial victim and the officiating priest. The loss of the typescript, with its resulting diversion of the author's attention away from his bride to a typewriter, would surely have prompted his analyst (if he'd had one) to label the accident a slip of the hand intended to mitigate this doom. On the level of literary genre, here again, in the shape of the pyramid, is the malignant castle or haunted house that resides at the center of the Gothic, blind guardian of "unwholesome antiquity," and framework for those subterranean passages, dank basements, hidden chambers, dungeons, oubliettes, hollow earths, fairy grottoes and ragged pits that form the setting for the hero's descent into the underworld, that climactic phase of his adventure, which we find so frequently in dark myth and weird tale. What the hero finds in that subterranean world reminds us of Lovecraft's inventiveness (allied no doubt to his learnedness) in the nitty-gritty phenomenology of supernatural horror. Building on accepted facts and popular traditions he gives us, in this case, three-dimensional hieroglyphs the size of skyscrapers; an army of soul-less zombie mummies whose souls have been weighed and found wanting; a shambling horde of reanimated composite animal/human mummies, three-dimensional counterparts of those painted chimeras in Egyptian frescoes; and the glimpse of a Thing that may have been the model for that life-size statue we know as the Sphinx. Ruling over them, as noted, are the necromantic pair, Khefren and Nitocris (one side of whose face has been eaten away by rats), coordinating their rites of worship to propitiate one of those buried Old Ones that under-gird the Lovecraftian mythos. The final payoff in "Under the Pyramid," as in THE SHUNNED HOUSE, is the glimpse of a buried something that only after the fact does the hero recognize as a part of the hole, a minor anatomical feature of the half-buried monster, whose overall shape is thus left for the reader's own half-buried fantasies to customize. Mindful of its upcoming serialization in Weird Tales, HPL has kept a running word count of the story and indicated the point where he thinks the story should be broken in two. WT editor Farnsworth Wright divided the story into three parts. Not a great piece of work, but noteworthy from a literary point of view, and of documentary value during this pivotal period of HPL's life, when he was about to get married, about to move to New York and form an in-the-flesh literary circle that would sustain him afterwards, and as he was putting down roots at the magazine that would be his most important market and of which he was about to be offered the editorship. Accompanied by an autograph letter unsigned, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Upper left hand corner has been scissored out, with resulting loss of salutation. No date but internal evidence puts this at the end of February 1924, as he writes, "Working like hell on the Houdini thing -- it's a fearful job but I know Cairo by heart now!" Inserted into the middle of this sentence, in margin, is written, "just finished it! SHOCKING climax! Now to type!" On the verso are two comical drawings of Egyptian scenes with accompanying poems, one a limerick ("There was an old geezer from GhizehÉ"), the other a more stately quatrain ("Frantick with rumours of eternal night É"), neither of them listed in the Joshi bibliography. A charming footnote to the saga of the "Pyramids". The letter is also missing a tiny section at bottom right hand corner and has a horizontal tear and old folding creases. The manuscript has some wear at edges, but overall is in excellent condition. Accompanied by a fragment of an undated two-page letter handwritten by Lovecraft on both sides of a single sheet, salutation and conclusion clipped away, but perhaps to Frank Belknap Long, in which Lovecraft says he is "working like hell on the Houdini thing -- it's a fearful job..." and, in postscript at top, "just finished it! SHOCKING climax! Now to type!" Verso has two small sketches (the Pyramids and on the Golden Road to Samarkand) which illustrate two short limericks, unpublished no doubt. (#108232) Price: $55,000.00

Interesting Anecdote by Donald Woldheim

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Wollheim, Donald A. TYPED NOTE SIGNED (TNS). 1 page, dated 20 July 1953, to "Dear Mr. [Philip Jack] Grill," signed "Donald A. Wollheim." On 8 1/2 x 11-inch sheet with Ace Books letterhead. Wollheim declines "to part with any of my own Lovecraft material. I did have the brief pleasure of knowing him, a most unusual man and a talented one -- though as the years have passed I have wondered if it was not a hideously wasted genius...". Faint mailing creases, fine. (#109163) Price: $75.00

Sonia Greene's passport (Image) circa 1932


Lovecraft, Howard Phillips). Davis, Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft. SONIA HAFT GREENE LOVECRAFT'S U.S. PASSPORT, DATED 22 JUNE 1932. Stiff maroon leatherette wrappers. A rather mordant memento of Lovecraft's wife and their brief, unsuccessful marriage. A postcard laid into the passport casts a shadow, or perhaps a ray of illumination, across that marriage. It's an official notification to Sonia, reading, "The hearing on your petition for naturalization has been set for the day of August 20, 1925 at 9:00 A.M. É" Her marriage allowed her, a Russian immigrant, to become a naturalized citizen of the U.S. and gain the resulting security at a time of international tension. She had come to this country (from the Ukraine) to join her mother in 1892 when she was 9. When she was 16 she married Samuel Seckendorff (who three years later took the name of Greene). That marriage was also unhappy and her husband died in 1916, apparently a suicide. Why Sonia did not apply for naturalization during this marriage is not clear. Perhaps Seckendorff was also an immigrant. At any rate, soon after her marriage in March, 1924 to Lovecraft (who was 7 years her junior), she did begin a successful application. The passport was issued to her on June 22, 1932 just before she took a month-long Cook's Tour of Europe (specifically: England, France and Belgium). She and Lovecraft had begun sleeping separately before the first year of their marriage was out. Indeed, their honeymoon foreshadowed trouble, being spent retyping HPL's "Under the Pyramids," ghost written for Weird Tales under the byline of Harry Houdini. HPL had lost the typescript at the Providence train station as he traveled to New York for his marriage, an accident that some might consider a classic Freudian slip to delay what the fastidious Lovecraft most probably did not consider "a consummation devoutly to be wished." The official end of the marriage came in the late 1920s. Sonia made the last of her three marriages in 1936 to Dr. Nathaniel Davis, moving to California to join him. Her two letters here, one asking for the return of a photograph and the other replying to a 1950 request for HPL memorabilia, do not have any whiff of literary finish, or even an attempt at one. It makes one a little skeptical perhaps of the depth of her interest in journalism while she was courting HPL. In reply to the memorabilia seeker, she listed five books from his library that she had, but declined to set a price for them, asking instead for an offer from him -- a shrewd trading tactic. But if this was a marriage of convenience from the wife's point of view, it was also one from the husband's. She was making a very good salary in the fashion business when they got married and Howard undoubtedly saw this as an end of his financial worries. If it's difficult to summon up a picture of Greene in love with literature, it's even more difficult to summon up a picture of Lovecraft in love with a woman. The actuality of married life was harder than he imagined. The first irony came when Sonia hit a rocky patch in her career in the mid- and late '20s, and contracted health problems at the same time. Laid in to the passport is a torn off clothing label reading, "Sonia Greene 25 West 57th St New York," representing her unsuccessful venture to set up on her own millinery, away from the department stores where she had worked. She had to move to a succession of Midwestern cities to get jobs, and her colonial antiquarian husband refused to move that far from New England -- and his aunts. In 1926, HPL returned to them and Providence. But the two years in New York, where he was a little fish in a big pond, and in matrimony, where he was a fish out of water entirely, jolted him out of his complacent fantasy world and initiated a new writing style that marked the beginning of his mature and most productive phase. He lost nothing of his old exoticism but found a new straightforward sincerity that gave the gorgeous fabric of his diction a living structure to drape instead of lying in an inert heap on a pedestal. In her reply to the HPL collector, Sonia writes, "Someday these small items are likely to be worth a great deal more even than anything of Edgar Allen Poe's." This is a hyperbolic claim for 1950 but considerably less so for 2007. Does it represent astute criticism or merely aggressive salesmanship? It's hard to say. Her destruction of his letters argues against a mercenary attitude on her part. Still, she got something out of the marriage --citizenship. It failed to give Howard what he expected -- financial security -- but it inadvertently gave him something more important, a painful catalyst initiating his most creative period. The marriage turned out to be an important passport for each of them. (#109132) Price: $3,000.00

Muriel Eddy: Lovecraftian Ephemera

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(Lovecraft, Howard Phillips) Eddy, Muriel E. THREE AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED (ALsS), dated 1 July 1958, 11 August 1959, and 10 April 1960, totaling 8 pages, all to Philip Jack Grill, variously signed "Muriel Eddy" or "Muriel E. Eddy," plus a 2-page AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT SIGNED (AMsS) "Private Sketch On Lovecraft," written for Grill, a photocopy of a 3-page TYPED LETTER SIGNED dated 21 May 1958, to Grill, signed "Muriel Eddy" in pencil, articles mentioning Lovecraft clipped from Providence, R.I. newspapers, and five snapshots of Lovecraft's grave and a packet of leaves from the Swain Point Cemetery where he is buried. "It appears that Lovecraft came to know the Eddys in the fall of 1923. Mrs. Eddy wrote numerous memoirs of Lovecraft, all saying much the same things as her [initial] 1945 account ['Howard Phillips Lovecraft' (in RHODE ISLAND ON LOVECRAFT, edited by Donald M. Grant and Thomas P. Hadley]." - Joshi and Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 84. Letters have old mailing folds; all in fine condition. The mailing envelopes (roughly opened) are present. (#109165) Price: $100.00

An Extant Letter From HPL to Samuel Loveman (and others items)

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. TYPED LETTER SIGNED (TLS). 1 page, from "The Ancient Hillside Citadel," dated "Feby. 12, 1936, to "Endymion" [Samuel Loveman], with the salutation "Hail," signed "HPL." On recto of a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11-inch plain paper. Accompanied by AUTOGRAPH POSTCARD SIGNED (APS) from Lovecraft to Loveman, postmarked Boston, MA 2 January 1932, and an envelope addressed to Loveman in Lovecraft's hand with Lovecraft's signature and return address on verso, postmarked Providence, RI 17 September 1930. The postcard was sent from Cambridge, Mass. and shows the head of a Greek athlete from Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. Oddly, Lovecraft refers to it as a "Herm," which is incorrect. (The word, with a lowercase "h," refers to a kind of statue used in Athens, with the head of a bearded Hermes mounted on a square pillar, in the middle of which, usually, was an erect phallus. They were regarded as sacred objects and used as boundary markers -- and later vandalized so often that intact examples are rare.) Recalls an earlier visit to Cambridge that Lovecraft and Loveman made together. Enumerates the museums seen or scheduled to be seen. Paul Cook, who was there with HPL, has scribbled a postscript. The letter, sent from Providence, touches on overwork, illness, amateur press matters, the latest pulp appearances ("Mountains of Madness", first installment, in February Astounding), social visits, and, in a short but striking passage, the description of his return from a visit to Paterson, NJ. "That night I hopped the coach for ancient Providentium and ran into a snowstorm -- being held up an hour at dawn in the exquisite colonial village of Hampton, Conn. -- with houses dating back to 1712 on every hand, and an ethereal white Georgian steeple peeping over the freshly white-deck'd boughs. The delay was for the sanding of a long, sinuous hill -- and I was sorry when we got in motion again." (If Lovecraft died and went to heaven, it might have looked something like this. Or would it be hell for an old atheist to discover that he'd been wrong? One can imagine the roman a clef Twilight Zone version: the bus swerves, HPL is knocked out, wakes up to this vision of a winter paradise, goes out in his worn suit and wanders about with rapt attention, catching a glimpse here and there of people in Colonial dress who ignore him. Looking into the firelit interior of a house, he wonders why he doesn't feel cold. "It was then that he realized he was dead.") Earlier in the letter HPL says he is sending a copy of his CATS OF ULTHAR, the rare 1935 pamphlet handset by Barlow at his Dragon-Fly Press in Florida and printed in forty-two copies. HPL jokes, "If it doesn't fit into your private collection, you might catalogue it at 9000 bucks or so as an early Dragon-Fly Press item." If Loveman had lived another 60 years or so, he could have done just that. The value of this pamphlet passed the $9000 value level a while back. See in this catalogue item LWC inventory #108200 the copy inscribed by HPL to Loveman, one of the two copies set on special paper (Red Lion Text). See also in this catalogue item LWC inventory #109134 for the original manuscript of this short story. Loveman, a poet and bookdealer, was definitely in the inner circle of HPL's friends. They corresponded, praised each other's work and visited when possible. When, Loveman, a Jew, later discovered from Lovecraft's ex-wife, Sonia, the extent of Lovecraft's anti-Semitism and racism, he burned most of his letters from HPL (as Sonia also did). (Joshi, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 158.) Extant letters from HPL to Loveman are rare. This is a particularly significant one, demonstrating one of the paradoxes of Lovecraft, who talked a good game of anti-Semitism, but, when it came down to cases, had warm friendships with some of them and married another. The failure of his marriage had more to do with Sonia being a woman than a Jew. He gave away to Loveman his own special copy of CATS, one that Barlow had intend as HPL's personal copy, one of just two Barlow kept the other one. Unpublished. Faint mailing creases, but fine. (#109131) Price: $3,500.00

Cats of Ulthar: Story in Lovecraft's Hand

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. "THE CATS OF ULTHAR" [short story]. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT SIGNED (AMsS). 4 pages, handwritten on the rectos of 4 sheets of white 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper with typed and handwritten letters relating to The United Amateur Press Association on versos. Dated "June 15, 1920" at bottom of page 4. Apparently, the final draft of this story. Manuscript annotation in pencil (probably in August Derleth's hand) indicates that this manuscript was once owned by Rheinhart Kleiner. TOGETHER WITH incomplete copy of THE CATS OF ULTHAR (Cassia, Florida: 1935), paper wrappers, two pairs of conjugate leaves comprising title and copyright page and pages 1-2 of story, printed by Barlow in a stated edition of 40 copies (plus two copies on special paper) as a Christmas keepsake for the friends of HPL. These were evidently leftover sheets. TOGETHER WITH typed letter signed (TLS) from August Derleth to Philip J. Grill, dated 11 July 1951, on Arkham House letterhead, with original envelope. The letter, replying to an inquiry from Grill, a collector of Lovecraftiana, quotes several manuscript items, ranging from the present manuscript of Ulthar ($25.00) to several Christmas cards ($1.00). "The Cats of Ulthar" was written during the height of Lovecraft's infatuation with Dunsany and reads very much like a Dunsany story -- but a good one. It was first published in the November 1920 Tryout, and reprinted in Weird Tales twice, February 1926 and February 1933. In the far-off town of Ulthar, a malevolent old couple were fond of trapping and slaying cats that strayed into their yard. The townsfolk were too scared of them to do anything about it. One day there came to town a caravan full of dark strangers (whom the reader recognizes as related to pharaonic Egypt, where cats were held sacred). One of the strangers, the little orphan Menes, had only his tiny black kitten to keep him company. One morning the kitten did not come back. Menes prayed to his strange gods, and ominous cloud formations appeared. That night all the cats disappeared from Ulthar. The next morning they returned: "Very sleek & fat did the cats appear, & sonorous with purring content." So content, they refused food for a couple of days. No lights were seen in the hovel of the old cat-killing couple. The town elders finally worked up their nerve to investigate. What they found inside were "two cleanly picked human skeletons on the earthen floor, & a number of singular beetles crawling in the shadowy corners." The town quickly passed a law that "in Ulthar no man may kill a cat." The story is very short (1350 words) yet feels full and well-developed -- sleek & fat, one might almost say. It is free of the adjective orgies that characterize much of Lovecraft's work. It is derivative from Dunsany, but HPL would have been the first to admit that; it is better perhaps to call it an homage, and a worthy one, with a somber undercurrent that lifts it above much of Dunsany's corpus. The story resonates with a personal quality, calling on the author's own love of cats, who stirred up in Lovecraft as pure a love as he felt for any beings See Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, pp. 224-5, etc. Several old mailing folds, but overall the manuscript is in excellent condition. Accompanied by a TLS from August Derleth dated 11 July 1951 offering to sell the manuscript to Philip Jack Grill for $25.00, and trial pages of the legendary 1935 Dragon-Fly Press edition of THE CATS OF ULTHAR, comprising two small folio sheets, the first printing the title and copyright pages, the second printing the first and second pages of the text. (#109134) Price: $20,000.00

Letter to CM Eddy, Jr by Farnsworth Wright


(Lovecraft, Howard Phillips) Wright, Farnsworth. TYPED LETTER, SIGNED (TLS). 2 pages, dated 6 November 1924, to "Dear [Clifford M.] Eddy, signed "Wright" [in a secretarial hand] on two sheets of 7 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch stationery with WEIRD TALES letterhead. Wright (editor of WEIRD TALES from November 1924 to December 1939) writes about reader reaction to Eddy's short story, "The Loved Dead," a Lovecraft revision. The story, a horrific tale of the exploits of a murderous necrophile, appeared in the first anniversary issue of WEIRD TALES, May-June-July 1924. Wright comments that Eddy's story "did not draw the number of complaints that Miller's story ['The Hermit of Ghost Mountain'] drew; but it was 'The Loved Dead' that caused the Parent-Teachers' Association to take action that is keeping us off many stands in Indiana." According to Joshi and Schultz, "the story reads as if Lovecraft had written it from beginning to end, although it clearly was based on a draft by Eddy. The tale is manifestly a self-parody and in its florid language brings to mind 'The Hound'... When the tale was published in WEIRD TALES, it elicited a protest from authorities in Indiana, who sought to have the issue banned. Subsequently, editor Farnsworth Wright became hesitant to accept any stories from Lovecraft that featured explicitly gruesome passages of the kind found in 'The Loved Dead,' and as a result several of Lovecraft's later tales were rejected." (An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 156). Wright suffered from a form of Parkinson's disease which made it impossible for him to write his name, except with a typewriter. This letter is signed "Wright" in black ink in a secretarial hand. Approximately 300 words. Old mailing folds, paper a bit darkened, very good. (#109164) Price: $1,000.00

An Autograph Lovecraft Note


Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. TRAVEL EXPENSES. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT (AMs). July, n.y. [ 1934]. A record of Lovecraft's travel expenses from July 2 through July 6 written on a 5 1/2 x 8 3/4 inch sheet of thin gray card stock. A poignant memento of HPL's frugal habits while traveling, this one recording expenses for part of his trip back from Florida to Providence in the Summer of 1934. Formerly owned by August Derleth with inked note in his hand: "Schedule made out / by H. P. Lovecraft." For an account of the trip, see Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, p. 553 and Joshi and Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 276. Several faint damp spots to recto, otherwise the artifact is in fine condition. (#111243) Price: $650.00

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Arkham House Collector # 7


This is issue number 7 of The Arkham Collector, published by Arkham House in the summer of 1970. This magazine measures 5 1/4" x 7 13/16"; 39 pages. No photos. The magazine features short stories by Gary Myers, Donald A. Wollheim and Brian Lumley; poetry by Joseph Payne Brennan, Clark Ashton Smith, Manley Wade Wellman and Lin Carter among others; two prose poems by Donald Wandrei; news of upcoming Arkham House releases and much more.

Mythos Story: Cody Goodlfellow



In The Shadow Of Swords
Cody Goodfellow
//
August 1, 1998Baghdad, IraqFor seven years, the United Nations Special Commission has tried to strip the defiant Iraqi war machine of its chemical and biological arsenal. For seven years, Warren Revell and his international team of scientists have beat their heads against a wall of deception and force, and discovered nothing. As they prepare to go home in defeat, an intercepted transmission from a secret chemical weapons installation called Tiamat forces them into a rogue inspection to prevent an unthinkable disaster.
It's leaking into the control room!Remain calm. Everything is under control.Give me the combination for the door! For the love of Allah, let us out!
This is what they think they've been waiting for. But as they get closer to the truth, they find it is much more than a question of contraband weaponry. A secret deadlier than nerve gas and older than humankind is waiting for them at Tiamat: waiting for them to discover it, and let it out.

//
It begins ... Warren Revell has never considered himself a religious man, let alone a superstitious one, but the midsummer, midday Iraqi heat quickens the ascetic core of any soul who stays out in it too long. For months it has feasted mellowly on his idealism, but is now leaping the firebreak into his poorly defended will to work at all. As he waits, he contemplates how a place from which the first civilizations reared themselves up out of mud, where God and/or Allah set down the first man and woman and witnessed their fall from grace, could have come to this.
//
We’re still falling, he tells himself. If there ever was a Paradise, we’ve never been further from it. If you’re up there, God, show me the truth behind all this before I have to go. Let me go knowing what’s at the bottom of all this and I won’t bother you again.

You can read the rest of the story at the new Chrispy Lovecraft Gorup (click here and join!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Even Farther Afield: Letter to de Castro



1956 LETTER FROM HARRY GOLDEN EDITOR OF THE CAROLINA ISRAELITE TO WRITER ADOLPHE DE CASTRO IN THIS THANK YOU LETTER HARRY WRITES ABOUT AND INCLUDES A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DE CASTRO AND THIER COMMON INTEREST IN AMBROSE BIERCE.

A Bit Afield, But E Hoffman Price to de Castro on Hitler



1946 LETTER SIGNED WITH INITIALS EHP FROM PULP FICTION WRITER E HOFFMAN PRICE TO WRITER ADOLPHE DE CASTRO. IN THIS LETTER HE WRITES ABOUT PROJECTS PAST AND PRESENT. AT THE END OF THE LETTER HE WRITE ABOUT HITLER READING ONE OF HIS STORIES WITH A JEWISH HERO IN IT AND DIES IN A "FROTHING FURY".

Henry Kutner Letter to Adolphe de Castro (HPL mentioned).



1936 LETTER FROM WRITER HENRY KUTTNER SIGNED HENRY TO WRITER ADOLPHE DE CASTRO IN IT HE WRITES ABOUT HP LOVECRAFT HELPING HIM WRITE, FARNSWORTH WRIGHT BUYING HIS WORK,WRITING WEIRD TALES AND MORE.

Arne Alert: A Lovecraftian French Op-Art


Arne, how DO you find these things? At Ectoplasmosis (click) :


The French adore both H. P. Lovecraft and headache-inducing optical-illusion artwork. Here, we see those two elements colliding in a poster for a French exhibition of artwork inspired by the various story ideas that HPL scribbled down over the years in his “Commonplace Book.”
Now, one would think an op-art Cthulhu would be a lot more appropriate than just a plain ol’ skull, right? But I dare you to stare at this thing for more than a minute without it opening a gateway to unknown, eldritch dimensions of space and time that will suck your mind into its whirling depths of labyrinthine madness.

Friday, October 26, 2007

1928: The Shunned House 1st Edition (1952 Arkham House)


For only $13,500 !!


THE SHUNNED HOUSE
By H.P. Lovecraft
Athol, Massachusetts W. Paul Cook - Recluse Press 1928.
First Edition of the Authors First Book.
Of the first edition of 300 sets of sheets printed, the book was not issued during Lovecrafts lifetime and a number of unbound sheets were damaged and unused, this is one of 50 sets of folded unbound sheets that Arkham House started selling in circa 1952 with an Arkham House copyright notice affixed to the copyright page.
Enclosed in a custom full morocco clamshell box.
A cornerstone Lovecraft piece!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maurice Moe to Adolphe de Castro on Lovecraft


This one is devilishly hard to read - CP.


1937 LETTER FROM AUTHOR AND FRIEND OF H P LOVECRAFT MAURICE W. MOE.TO ADOLPHE DE CASTRO AUTHOR OF THE HANGMANS DAUGHTER AND CO WRITER OF STORIES WITH H P LOVECRAFT.IN IT MOE WRITES ABOUT AUGUST DERLETH PUTTING TOGETHER H P LOVECRAFT'S WORKS FOR PUBLICATION.

Rare Autographed Postcard: To E Hoffman Price



{Only $1450.00 starting bid. -CP}


RARE Holographic Postcard H.P. LOVECRAFT to Author E. Hoffman Price, July 7, 1934, Christ Church Where Washington Worshipped, Alexandria, VA Postmarked Providence, Rhode Island
Truly a magnificent H.P. Lovecraft item. For those that know the Old Gent, they understand what a great epistler he was. In fact, one would find it difficult to find someone of any note that wrote as many letters as Lovecraft. Experts believe that he wrote over 100,000 letters during his lifetime, many of great length (a 50,000 word, one-hundred page letter was not out of the ordinary). It is also surmised that fewer than 10,000 of the letters still survive. Of those, a majority are held in Brown University's H.P. Lovecraft collection. In fact, their agressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft was (and is) so intense, that few letters remain in the hands of collectors. Some believe that less than two hundred letters and postcards are in still left in private hands, of these, few ever show up for sale. Considering that writing (postcards and letters) was Lovecraft's favorite form of communication, and that each epistle is a thoughtful tome in and of itself, an actual letter or postcard can be considered the cornerstone of a Lovecraft collection. We here at Arkham Books now offer to the public, that very cornerstone. Since letters typically run into the thousands ($4000.00 and up is quite common), a postcard is a more affordable way to own a piece of Lovecraftian history.
This postcard was written to Weird Tales and Horror author E. Hoffman Price, Arkham House contributor, Author, and stalwart friend of Lovecraft. Price corresponded extensively with Lovecraft (as did many of his contemporaries). This postcard is postmarked July 7, 1934 (or so it appears to be a "7", the postmark is partially obstructed by HPL's writing). It is postmarked from Providence at 6:00am (or so it appears, again, Lovecraft's extensive writing obstruct parts of the postmark). Postmark is from Providence, Rhode Island. The postcard is of "Christ Church where Washington Worshipped. Alexandria, VA." (No doubt picked up on one of Lovecraft's excursions.) One LOONNNGGG paragraph and approximately 250 words. Moreover, there is an additional note below Lovecraft's "Greetings and alutations from the green and serpent haunted sea to Malik Taus ..." Signed "B". Price has added a note (or so I believe, and was told it was Price) that "Second signature probably "B" = Barlow " (for RH Barlow, friend of Lovecraft, and literary executor -- they also had a few story collaborations). The content is unpublished.
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
A Typical Opening Lovecraftian Flourish: "Greetings, O Right Hand of Sulliman ...."
Lovecraft also mentions the San Francisco area that Price Lives in, the Gates of an Old Mission and the Friars; Chinese Delicasies; Price's plan for a MA and PhD; A Two-Day Trip Lovecraft took to Virginia (where the postcard was no doubt acquired): Charleston, Richmond, and Fredericksburg; Philadelphia where he saw Poe's House; and more.
The card is signed in one of Lovecraft's favorite renditions of his initials, Arabic: "E'ch-Pi-El".
Truly a gem. With this, we offer a lifetime Certificate of Authenticity. Lovecraft postcards are become more and more rare, and soon, they just won't show up. (We have seen two on Ebay in the last year or so, one did not sell, and one--that we offered--sold for $950.00 (in October 2005)).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Alert From Arne: NEW Lovecraftian game!

Lighthouse Interactive has released a demo of their Lovecraft inspired game:

"DARKNESS WITHIN:In Pursuit of Loath Nolder"

More here: http://www.lighthouse-interactive.com/index.php?nid=248&main=archive&type=

Images from the game here: http://kotaku.com/gaming/gallery/see-the-darkness-within-300437.php

Looks kind of cool - I'll think I'll try this one.

Arne

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: Die Monster Die, 1965



Here is a vintage ste of images, the one above pimping "Die, Monster, Die" which had Karloff starring in a movie loosely based on The Colour Out of Space. By the way, Chrispy is a huge fan of Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi, too.
... Monster World #5 published by Warren Publishing in 1965 ... a full size scan of the cover so that you can see the condition of this magazine. ... The cover illustration of Tor Johnson was created by Gray Morrow. In this issue you can enjoy a 10 page article on Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster", starring Bela Lugosi (in one of his last roles) and Tor Johnson. This article will take you through the whole movie's plot. It also includes 10 photos and a b&w reprint of the original lobby poster. So sit down on a stormy night by the roaring fire, put on your angora sweater and read about "Bride of the Monster"! - Ed Wood will be smiling down at you.
Another article, "The Monster in the House at the End of the World" (the title was later changed to "Die Monster Die!") is about the movie based on H. P. Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space" and starring Boris Karloff. This is another 10 page article that is also loaded with photos.
Monster World helped to inspire a whole generation of kids to go off and create horror movies. It's mix of articles and photographs and analysis of horror and Sci Fi movies provided thoughtful insights into the movies of the time. Take a stroll back to the 60's and enjoy some horror and sci-fi movies.
This issue of Monster World has photos of the movies mentioned on the cover plus: "Found: Fiendish Face of the Forgotten Frankenstein", "Dracula's Victim Dies", "Fang Mail", "Terror Talk" and more. Lots of great reading and pictures! (not to mention the sick humor!!)

Interlude: 900th Post

Wow. #800 was on 8 September, so we've really whizzed through these posts. I have to admit, folks, I'm a little tired. 100 posts in 49 days is a lot. You've been faithful, dear readers. I'm reaching stratospheric statistics and I guess that means you like what you see. I'm hopeful that there is plenty to read and research for your Call of Cthulhu gaming, for scholarly understanding, and historical interest.

My new fiction story (rated R: over 18 please) is over at www.horrorlibrary.net - may be my last for some time there. I'm focusing on essays and interviews for the near future.

Meantime, thanks to Tom Lera for the great Poe pictures, and the rest of you for written and moral support.

Now, let's see how fast we can get to 1000 weblog posts.

-Chrispy

James Ferdinand Morton & (circa 1900) Documents Related to His Challenge to H P Lovecraft (circa 1915).

{CP: Fascinating, if unverified, information on Morton's & Lovecraft's conflict and subsequent friendship}


JAMES FERDINAND MORTON. Unsigned AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT of AUTOBIOGRAPHIC NOTES, 1870-1900 [Massachusetts?, ca. 1900?] 6 x 9.5 inches, 18 pages. Mostly written on verso of 1898 stationery of International Order of Good Templars, Middleton, Massachusetts.. Some pages are filled with wrting; others have only a few words, with spaces left for elaboration which was never completed. Some edge-wear, darkening; Fair condition overall.
According to Sunand Joshi's 1996 biography of H.P. LOVECRAFT (1890-1937), when, in 1915, that future master of "weird" horror fiction defended D.W. Griffith's film Birth of a Nation and its subject, the Ku Klux Klan of Reconstruction days, as a "noble but much maligned band of Southerners who saved half of our country from destruction", he was excoriated in print by New York radical JAMES FERDINAND MORTON (1870-1941) as a Conservative "gone mad".
It wasn't until five years later when the two men, fellow devotees of the avocation of "amateur journalism", first met face to face - that they, surprisingly, became instant friends, Lovecraft feeling "unreserved liking" for this "thoroughly erudite...conversationalist", whose "geniality and friendliness...overlay his unusual attainments".
Morton, twenty years Lovecraft's senior, was to have an enormous influence on the writer's life, both personal and professional. They apparently collaborated in editing a book of poems that was Lovecraft's first hardback literary production; Morton introduced a young Russian immigrant woman into his insular "amateur press" circle, where she met Lovecraft and became his wife; and together with Clark Ashton Smith, Morton urged Lovecraft to begin writing for the fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine Weird Tales, which launched his literary career.
There are dozens of references to Morton in Sunand's book - as there are in the completely unrelated Utopias on Puget Sound(1975), Charles Pierce Lewarne's scholarly study of pre-World War I utopian communities of Washington State.
But I could locate no existing biography of James Ferdinand Morton - not even a comprehensive historical monograph on this fascinating man. Besides the little that Sunand and Lewarne unearthed, and a chapter I haven't seen in E. Hoffman Price's Arkham House Book of the Dead, I could find only three biographic summaries - an entry in Who's Who in America; a sketch in the obscure 1919 book Ex-Presidents of the National Amateur Press Association ; and a 1941 obituary notice in the journal of the Mineral Society of America.
When, some day, some enterprising Lovecraft aficionado - or historian of early American radicalism - undertakes a Morton biography, the autobiographic notes offered here will prove not only invaluable but indispensable. They cover the first 30 years of Morton's life - up to the point, around 1900, when he moved to the Anarchist Home Colony near Tacoma, where he spent five years before returning to the East Coast to join the women's suffrage movement and produce Socialist harangues, including the critique of Lovecraft's early defense of white-supremacy.
There are some fascinating, scattered, tidbits about Morton which I discovered in a few hours of googling on the Internet: That he was the direct descendant of a Pilgrim father; that his grandfather was author of the famed song America and his father was headmaster of Phillips Exeter Academy; that he was an impassioned advocate of racial equality and while a student at Harvard, became friends with the great African-American scholar W.E.B. DuBois; that, according to unsubstantiated rumor, his future wife was of African-American descent; that he nearly lured Elbert Hubbard to move his Roycroft shops from New York to Washington; and so on.
These autobiographic notes do more than fill in some of the gaps, they seem to be the only existing source on Morton's early years, almost each word offering tantalizing hints for future research.
Here are a few historically mouth-watering excerpts:
"Isolation and unpopularity with playmates. Peculiar temperament. Lifelong sense of special destiny...Temperance Pledge at 5...Attempt to win church to reform...Growing dissatisfaction...Harvard at last...Unpopular from temperance views...First to broach inter-collegiate debates...Beginnings at Poetry...Some affairs...Extreme holiness people...Losing love for church...Hebrew studies...First hearing of A.J. [Amateur Journalism]... Elected President N.E.A.P.A. [New England Amateur Press Association]...Call on Gov. Russell...Unconventionality. War on fashion and prudery...Seal Harbor experiences... reform in Harvard Union...Split in N.A.P.A.[National Amateur Press Association]. My share in controversy...Politics. Harvard Prohibition Club...World's Fair. Voice correspondent. I go into People's Party...Brief experience in K. of L. [Knights of Labor]...People's Party candidate for Congress...Attempt to get position as teacher...Anti-Viv. [vivisection?] Soc....President, N.A.P.A...Collapse of Nationalist Party in Massachusetts. I join Dem.Party....Socialist schemes...Growing radicalism...Trip to Frisco...Anarchy...Andover at last...Work on ms. acount of my beliefs, tastes, wishes, intentions...Wendell's theology...Dreyfus. Philippine War...Plans and dreams...New York. The comrades...Philadelphia. The comrades...Cleveland. Pittsburgh... Mining towns. Cincinnati...Masquerade balls. Murder...Chicago. Lectures. From workingmen to divinity students...Darrow. South African War. Different comrades. Rochester. Davenport...St. Louis...A glance at osteopathy...Chief Campbell's confession and offer...Americans and the Boer War...Kentucky law and order...Starvation in Porto Rico. Harrison's insult to working classes...Still a teetotaler among drinkers...Down in a coal mine...Plans for World's Fair...Attempt at disturbance...Sedalia. Kansas City. Leavenworth...Visit to Penitentiary... Topeka...An Anarchist Chief Justice, etc....Clemens...Dodge City. Denver. First view of Rockies...Salt Lake City...A Mormon conference...S.L.P. and S.D.P. [Socialist Labor Party and Social Democratic Party]...Seattle. Home. A remarkable colony. Experiences and decision to return and settle...Last days in Tacoma...Vegetarian restaurants...Chinese...Sea voyage. sea sickness...San Francisco...At work on Free Society...Alameda. Berkeley...The comrades..."
These unsigned and undated notes - immediately identifiable as Morton's by the date and place of birth - appear to be written by an aged man, but as I have no example of his handwriting for comparison, it may be that he was simply a sloppy writer. This is significant, of course, in trying to determine when the Notes were written. My guess is that they were scribbled down at an early age, while his childhood and youth were still fresh in memory, just before he settled at The Home Colony - not only because they end abruptly around 1900, but also because they're mostly written on the backs of Massachusetts Good Templar stationery dated July 1898 - and, in one case, an 1896 printed petition for Massachusets laws to protect "immature girls" from "seduction".
If this dating is correct, one burning question is: Did Morton ever bring them up to date - after meeting Lovecraft 20 years later?
Whether or not such later notes exist, these earlier jottings are a treasure-trove for anyone exploring the life of this extraordinarily colorful man.


{Images should be expandable if you click on them and open in a new window - CP}





LOvecraft: 1936 (Shadow Over Inssmouth) & Fantasy Magazine


FANTASY MAGAZINE, March, 1936 issue, Vol 6, No 2.
New York: [No Publisher]. 1936.
Contains the first appearance in print of the short fantasy story THIRTEEN PHANTASMS by Clark Ashton Smith, later collected in his 1970 Arkham House collection OTHER DIMENSIONS.
Small octavo, original printed wrappers, stapled. Edited by Julius Schwartz, Raymond A. Palmer, Forrest J. Ackermann and Clay Ferguson, FANTASY MAGAZINE (previously titled SCIENCE-FICTION DIGEST) is a legendary fan magazine. This issue also contains A Biographical Sketch of August Derleth by Ray Palmer.
Cheap paper browning, spine mostly split (but holding, as the staples are side-saddle), a few tiny tears.
The rear cover bears a full-page ad for the Visionary Press edition of Lovecraft's THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lovecraft's Skewed View of Mammoth Cave

The excellent local (Kentucky) writer, Byron Crawford, wrote this essay in the Louisville Courier-Journal today. Mammoth Cave was extremely popular in the 19th century in contrast to Lovecraft's conception of it as a creepy lonely hole in the ground in his youthfully imaginative Best in the Cave. However, Stephen Bishop might well have been a model for the cave explorer. It is virtually impossible for Lovecraft in 1904 to have studied Mammoth Cave and not read of Bishop.

Slave guide recalled for Mammoth effort in exploring cave

Byron Crawford in Louisville Courier-Journal 19 October 2007

When the light is right, you may still see dim letters spelling out S-T-E-P-H-E-N left by the smoke from a tallow candle on the ceiling of Mammoth Cave more than 150 years ago.
Slave guide Stephen Bishop used a mirror to prevent candle wax from dripping into his eyes as he left his imprint on the giant cave he was exploring -- and some of his S's are backward.
Yesterday members of the Cave Research Foundation, who are holding their 50th annual meeting at Mammoth Cave National Park, paused during their tour of the same passageways that Bishop once charted to hear a few pages of his fascinating life story.

Tour leader Roger Brucker -- co-author of "The Longest Cave" and author of the soon-to-be-published historical novel about Bishop's cave experiences, "Grand, Gloomy and Peculiar" -- frequently stopped to read excerpts from his manuscript and share observations about Bishop's role in the cave's development.

"He's kind of the pioneer cave explorer in this country … and really the prototype of modern cave guiding," said Brucker, a founding director of the Cave Research Foundation. "He was the economic engine that put Mammoth Cave on the map between 1840 and 1855."

Bishop's winning personality, coupled with his knowledge of and obsession with the cave, made him easily the most popular guide of the era.

"He has occupied himself so frequently in exploring the various passages of the cavern that there is now no living being who knows it so well. The discoveries made have been the result of his courage, intelligence and untiring zeal," stated an account published in "Stephen Bishop, The Man and the Legend," by former cave historian Harold Meloy.

Bishop's first owner, Franklin Gorin of Glasgow, bought Mammoth Cave in 1838 and assigned the then 17-year-old Bishop to be a cave guide. In October 1839, when Gorin sold the cave to John Croghan, the owner of Locust Grove in Louisville, Bishop was sold as part of the cave and remained a guide.

"He was the first American cave explorer that we know about who was systematic in what he did," Brucker said. "He was so good at it that his owners wrote about his exploits to European papers and papers in New York, and he achieved some fame in his own time for his discoveries."
Croghan asked Bishop to sketch a map of the passages which was published in a book called "Rambles in Mammoth Cave."

The book became the basis for later guidebooks, and reprints may still be bought in the park gift shop.

Bishop's wife, Charlotte, was a manager of the Mammoth Cave Hotel dining room who had worked for Croghan at Locust Grove.

Bishop died in 1857 and is buried in the Old Guides Cemetery on a ridge near the cave entrance.
The Cave Research Foundation, which was founded 100 years after Bishop's death, continues to explore the 367 miles of known passageways in Mammoth Cave in the belief that natural connections will be found to many more miles of what already is the world's longest cave.
"It's within a few hundred feet of a 110-mile cave system called Fisher Ridge and within several hundred feet of the Martin Ridge Cave system, which is about 32 miles long," Brucker said. "If those are connected -- and some of us feel that's a certainty -- that would put us over the 500-mile mark."

Stephen Bishop, they sure could use your help.

Byron Crawford's column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Reach him at (502) 582-4791 or bcrawford@courier-journal.com. Comment on this column, and read previous columns, at www.courier-journal.com/byron.

A List of Extant Adolphe de Castro Letters (&c) to Lovecraft

de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1936 Aug 20 Box: 2 accession Number: A55361 [66] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1930 Jan 8 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1] 1 p.
On verso of HPL Fiction: At the Mountains of Madness (ADf), 4.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1925 Nov 15 Box: 8 accession Number: A56471 2 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1934 Oct 14 Box: 12 accession Number: A56472 [1-4] 8 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1934 Nov 6 Box: 12 accession Number: A56473 [1-3] 6 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1934 Nov 14 Box: 12 accession Number: A56828 2 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1935 Apr 11 Box: 13 accession Number: A56475 1 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1935 Sep 26 Box: 13 accession Number: A56476 4 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1935 Oct 5 Box: 13 accession Number: A56477 2 [+?] p.
Incomplete, first leaf (pages 1-2) only
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1936 Sep 14 Box: 14 accession Number: A56478 2 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1937 Feb 17 Box: 14 accession Number: A56479 2 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P Providence, RI: [1936 Aug 6] Box: 2 accession Number: A55361 [65] 1 p.
A brief note dropped off at 66 College Street when de Castro first arrived in Providence.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1928 Jan 4 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1733] 1 p.
Bob Davis Recalls Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1735] 1 p.
The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1734] 1 p.
Clipping from the [New York] Sun.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1936 Aug 23 Box: 2 accession Number: A55361 [67] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1935 Sep 24 Box: 2 accession Number: A55361 [64] 1 p.
With HPL's manuscript comments.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1935 Jun 26 Box: 2 accession Number: A56363 [24] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1928 Apr 1 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1728] 2 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1928 Feb 27 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1737] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1928 Feb 25 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1727] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1928 Feb 7 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1738] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1928 Feb 4 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1730] 1 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1927 Dec 8 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1731] 2 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1927 Dec 5 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1736] 1 p.
With HPL's manuscript notations of his revision prices.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1927 Nov 25 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1739] 2 p.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P 1927 Nov 20 Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1729] 1 p.
Lovecraft, Howard P. to de Castro, Adolphe Providence, RI: 1935 Jan 26 Box: 13 accession Number: A56474 1 p.
Bierce and I Box: 2 accession Number: A32500 [1726] 1 p.
Three Acrostic Sonnets Box: 2 accession Number: A12090 1 p.
Included in the 1936 Aug 12 TLS cited above.
de Castro, Adolphe to Lovecraft, Howard P New York, NY: 1936 Aug 12 Box: 2 accession Number: A12090 1 p.
Adddresed to "Fellow Sonneteers" only. This note is written below the typed texts of the three EDGAR ALLAN POE acrostics composed by HPL, Barlow and de Castro. With some manuscript corrections by HPL.

Cthulhu Comic


Found at: zzombi.com (click here)

The Drake Equation, Lovecraft's Nihilistic Thoughts, and Alien Races

This could be a very long essay! I won't do that to you. The Drake Equation is a means to determine IF there are sentient civilizations that exist coincident to our civilization. Lovecraft had doubts, but his fiction predicted that they would be so far in advance of us that we would be like dust mites to them.

In recent years we've learned more about the Universe, and its dark matter and dark energy. Wouldn't it be neat to find that there are dark energy creatures such as Lovecraft postulated. I imagine that moments after the Big Bang - probably a collision between two universe-membranes - dark energy sentient life was created. These immortal beings who live as if a pico-second was one of our years immediately realized that the current Universe was finite (perhaps 26 billion years?) and they would have to create sophisticated machinery with advanced quantum physics in order to make the jump to the next Universe when new multiverse membranes collided. Thus, these immortal beings' goals were to live forever from one new universe to another as the old one extinguished.

However, what if there were dark energy sentient lives in those other universes, too? The competition to learn the ultimate secrets of survival and immortality would be keen between the various god-like dark energy beings. What wars would they have!

Here is a great site that discusses some of these factors.

It reads in part ... Although possibly outside the auspices of this discussion, the Drake Equation does not account for the presence of post-radio capable civilizations, particularly post-Singularity machine intelligences. This is a problem because of what these types of civilizations might be capable of.

The equation is used to determine the number of radio capable civilizations as they conduct their business on their home planet. Again, this is a vary narrow view of ETI's and the space of all possible advanced civilizational types. Moreover, it does not account for any migratory tendency that advanced civs may have.


More.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dave Prosser: Artist

Recently, Chrispy posted a series of fanziine notes that referenced the art of David Prosser. (For quick access to all the blog notes on David Prosser, click on the "David Prosser" label below. ) Here is an anecdote submitted by George Wagner:

Dave Prosser was one of the very best of the late 1950s fan artists, and unlike many of the others he obviously liked to illustrate horror fiction rather than just producing a lot of the "cute" fan art of the day. He illustrated one of my earliest fictional efforts, in a fanzine published by one Robert N. Lambeck, himself a teenager. I don't remember the name, since it underwent several changes. I forget the original title entirely, but he changed it to CONNECTIFAN when his parents moved from north Florida to Connecticut. When they moved to Royal Oak, Michigan, just a short time later he changed the name to EXCONN. But Lambeck changed it again after several young readers claimed they weren't permitted to read anything published by an ex-convict! Anyway, that was where I was first exposed to Prosser's artwork.

Sincerely,
George Wagner

August Derleth Letter: 4 January 1954


{This is a bit afiled, but it is so interesting I had to post it. Oh my eyes are hurting from the strain, but here is what I was able to piece together and reconstruct the text... CP}

4 January, 1954
Dear Adolphe de Castro,
It was good to have your note and word(?), with the outlined verses - - which certainly testify that you are far from a fading scribbeler! I have thought of you from time to time, wondered whether you were still among us - -and find now to my delight that you are. In your ? ?! Well, I never read that - - won't soon come close. I've had Hypertension on and off for some time, and while I've brought the readings close to normal now, I don't have the energy I once had to write, though I am still keeping up my averages - - half a million new words last year, though mostly in junior books, now that WEIRD TALES is no more.
Our daughter April was born 17 months ago, and we hope to present her with a brother or sister sometime this year, though after that we'll have to stop, since I can't afford to raise more than two children, and with the debtload that seems to have been always with me, even that may be a risk. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained. My junior books are selling well enough, and I have no right to complain - -? that I am writing the things I want to write, because ? necessarily ? ? to do what publishers want to publish.
Every good wish to Mrs. de Castro and yourself, from the three of us.
Cordially,
August Derleth.

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1963 (The Lovecraftsman Fanzine)


THE LOVECRAFTSMAN -- Number One (Autumn 1963)First issue of this fanzine published by Redd Boggs. Prints an article by Boggs titled "Lovecraft: 25 Years Later."2 pages, printed on two sides of a single sheet of green paper, measuring 8.5 x 11 inches.
Chrispy managed to squint and make out a tiny portion of the first paragraph ...
Lovecraft: 25 years later.
Leland Wagers (?), a ? ? warned us recently that to find anything in my old ? ? notebooks - of which I have a stack full ?? I would have to go to the trouble of indexing them. That's quite a chore. I have just been browsing through old ? notebooks, and have found all sorts of fascinating jottings ? without the ???. For instance, here is a note that says, "Phillipine ???

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1966 (Mirage #8)

54 pages with cover by David Prosser
highlights:
fiction:
Ray Trevino - The White Whales Race
Laurence Griffin - Sea Nymph
features :
Clark Ashton Smith , A Chronology
Avon Fantasy Reader , A Checklist
HP Lovecraft - Some Backgrounds Of Fairyland

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Poe House as Lovecraft May Have Seen It.

(c) 2007, Tom Lera, used by permission.
Compare this c. 1940 image to Tom Lera's Image (2007).

The Poe Society states: This engraving, made in the 1940s from an old photograph, shows the Baltimore Poe House as it probably appeared around 1833. The top of the left half was raised some years later to provide a full room on the third floor with a flat roof. The left half of the building was removed in 1938. Poe lived with Maria Clemm and her family in the right side of the house.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Images of Poe's Shrine by Tom Lera (2007) and More Ancient Images Compared.

(c) 2007, Tom Lera, used by permission.

(c) 2007, Tom Lera, used by permission.

Poe's Shrine as featured in 1875 Harper's weekly.


Close up of another 1875 image of Shrine.

Shrine as it appeared in 1910 (a few decades before Lovecraft saw it).

Shrine as it appeared circa 1940 several years after Lovecraft saw it.

Poe's full name is given in capital letters on the base. Each of the other sides carries a different inscription: (North side) "Maria Clemm Poe; Born; March 17, 1790; Died; February 16, 1871"; (West side) "Edgar Allan Poe; Born; January 20 [sic], 1809; Died; October 7, 1849"; (South side) "Virginia Clemm Poe; Born; August 15, 1822; Died; January 30, 1847."

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