Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Search of ... Clara Hess

Only yesterday (17 February 2010) I found out that Clara Hess lived at 21 Oriole Avenue circa 1905. I've attached two maps, a modern and a circa 1905 map. In the old map, it's hard to read but Angell and Oriole are located at the edge of the page about 1/3 of the way down from the top. The modern "Da Google" map is easier to read.

Note, Howard was probably looking out over the river for a better line of sight.

Howard used to go into the fields in back of my home to study the stars.

One early fall evening several of the children in the vicinity assembled to watch him from a distance. Feeling sorry for his loneliness, I went up to him and asked him about his telescope and was permitted to look through it. But his language was so technical that I could not understand it and I returned to my group and left him to his lonely study of the heavens.

(p. 58, fn 34, ST Joshi, HPL: A Life – from Faig, parents, and from The Providence Sunday Journal, 19 September 1948.)

So, roughly speaking, this could not be much earlier than late 1904 (i.e. 14 yrs old, after Howard moved to his new address), and not any later than 1906 (i.e. 16 years old, Howard and Hess are remembered as 'children').

For the time being, I think that "literary archaeology" dates this to Fall 1904 when HPL was "new to the neighborhood", new to Hope High School, and interestingly, Lovecraft and Hess's family were both "Blue Book" members.

The only thing that smacks of anachronism, slightly, is "feeling sorry for his loneliness". Was that, 44 years later, superimposed backwards? Don't know.

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