Did Lovecraft's birtday present of 20 August 1900 cost $100? Probably not.
One suspects this is an early "engined bicycle" of some sort. The first "Peerless" appeared in 1903 (Louis Moore), so this was probably - as implied - a second hand vehicle. Now, $100 is not exactly pocket change to most of us in 2010, but in 1905 it was EXPENSIVE! An interesting touchstone for the history of young Lovecraft.
(One suspects Herreshoff knew Mr. and Mrs. Wilhelm Nauk, HPL's violin teacher)
(Steam "bicycles" appeared about 1899, and bicycle companies moved to engined bicycles a few years later according to a reference book).
The following comes for the auction sale:
The Westminster School of Languages and Music
Julian L Herreshoff, Director
Butler Exchange Room No. 523 Fifth Floor Providence RI Sep 13 1895
Received of Miss F D Gladdnig for one Peerless bicycle, one hundred dollars ($100 0/00) payment in full. Julian L Herreshoff
2 cents stamp on the back.
Measures 5 by 8 inches. Previously folded and with some tears. See photos for condition (Please note that the "watermark" does not appear in the actual photo)
From a web search:
Julian Lewis Herreshoff, ninth child and seventh son of Charles Frederick and Julia Ann (Lewis) Herreshoff, was born July 29, 1854, at Point Pleasant Farm, Bristol, R. I. He was educated at the local schools of Bristol. His talents and abilities, while very marked, are in a different line from those of the rest of his family, and are concerned with the fine rather than the liberal arts. In the year 1886 he went to Germany, and for two years studied at the University of Berlin, where he became proficient in languages and music. Returning to this country he established the Westminster School of Languages and Music, in Providence, which he himself organized and had developed.
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