Sunday, March 28, 2010

Technical Problem with Ronald Upham's Reported Address

Chrispy is getting frequent flier miles for time traveling. Quantum jet lag even. So much so, that the 21st century is looking very weird after logging so much fin de siecle. Even so, as I fact check and search through primary and secondary documents every now and then I get a jolt.

In S T Joshi's monumental H.P.Lovecraft: A Life, page 54 ("What of Unknown Africa? 1902-1908) we find this casual phrase, "Ronald Upham, two years younger than Lovecraft (fn12), who lived at 21 Adelphi Avenue (fn13) ...".

Footnote 12 (p. 659) references a letter from HPL to Derleth, 17 February 1931. Footnote 13 references Lovecraft's Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy, 7 May 1905.

The only directories available on Google are the 1889 and 1899. below is a snippet of the 1899 edition with the entirety of Adelphi Street listed.

51 Upham Clark D clerk h{omeowner}
Upham Edwin clerk b{order}

Blue Book (1905)

It clearly shows 51 Adelphi Avenue as the long term residence. There is no "21". Now, it's possible that an uncovering of the 1903 edition may show some oddity like a renumbering or a relocation, but highly unlikely as per the listing in the Providence Blue Book of 1905. One may postulate a misreading of the number "5" for the number "2", and easy error.

While we're on the subject, there is one copy on Google of the Providence blue book, which humbly states that it is not a book of Providence elites. Poppycock. The listees are movers, shakers, and old bloods of Providence.

Chrispy believes that Edwin is Clark D.'s father, and Ronald Upham's grandfather. The 1858 Providence tax roll (below) lists Edwin and his wife.

The 1855 Acts and resolves of the General Assembly lists Edwin (as a young man) as getting reimbursed for some minor expenses.

Sadly, that's all Chrispy can determine at this stage.

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