Saturday, July 10, 2010


I suppose that Lovecraft is known for his microscopic scrawl across postcards filling up every space. We think this is "Lovecraftian". In fact, it was the norm in his day as a youth.

In the early days, people wrote on the front of cards only. Then the postal regulations laxed and people could write on the back, and that's when they became "divided". Later, all rules went out the window and our "Lovecraft style" writing appeared.

Chrispy has posted numerous examples of circa 1905 postcard writing on the blog. For the most part, people used Waterman or other ink pens that one dipped in ink wells and refilled by some mechanical means. No "ball points"!

In those days, postal service in large cities could be four or more deliveries per day. Therefore, a card at 8 AM would get to the recipient at noon, for instance. "Coming over for supper" or "Meet me at Luigi's" might be a fictional comment on a card - all for a penny.

Now Lovecraft did tend to write more than many people did.

A usual card in those days was, "I just visited here, and the card doesn't do it justice", or "I hope grandmother is feeling better; will try to be there this weekend."

This was much cheaper than a telegram.

However, some people did write a "letter" upon the postcard, and this is precisely what Lovecraft did. Instead of a formal letter, he wrote on a card, and the longer he wrote the smaller and more cramped he made the writing to fit his vast thoughts upon it. He would rotate it, write on corners, back, and had he a way to write on the edge, he would have tried that!

It amused - and perplexed - his younger friends of the 1920's or 1930's, as he preserved this circa 1905 style his whole adult life. Long after others had abandoned it.

Below I added some selected Ebayeum images to illustrate the "Lovecraft style" or postcard writing by other folks. He was a man, and he was a man of his era.

(card #2004, 10 December 1907, not year 2004!)

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