Monday, October 25, 2010

In Search of: Myra H. Bloser

Myra H. Blosser!
Myra H. Blosser?

I asked the same question. Hours later, after I read an obscure footnote in one of Mr. Joshi's books, and after obtaining Winfred Scott Towney's 1966 book, and reading the aricle on Lovecraft, I still couldn't figure out the logic of how Townely mentioned Ella Sweeney, and then a "family friend" and how scholars connected the family friend to Sweeney. How, I wondered?

Well wonder no more. I got it. And a whole bunch more I bet some folks didn't know.

Myra Blosser (an amateur and professional writer) and her hunsband Roy Blosser lived in providence, but he hailed from Atlanta at one time. A phsyician, he had a tragic death by asphixiated poisoning.

Here is what I came up with, and you don't have to pay Chrispy a thin dime "fer it".

Mrs. Roy Blosser (reporter), dates as yet unknown
Dr. Roy Blosser, physician, born 12 January 1882, died in Providence, 8 January 1931at age 48.

Roy Blosser of Providence, R. I. ; Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1902 ; Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, 1906; member of the New England Dermatological Society ; served during the World War ; aged 48 ; died, January 8, of illuminating gas poisoning. Journal of the American Medical Association, 14 February 1931, page 546.

{Hundreds of deaths by "water-gas" a type of illuminating gas were recorded in the literature of the era, a cheaper gas than coal-gas, it was also a common means of accidental death. It was about 38% hydrogen, 27% carbon monoxide, 16% methane. It is not only suffocating, but carbon monoxide poisoning was a lethal poison.}

Myra Blosser was a member of the Short Story Club of Providence, and notably wrote of a collection of the love letters of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning and the door to the Barrett’s at 50 Wimpole Street. The Providence Journal’s story about this gift was under the by-line of Myra Blosser, a member of The Short Story Club.

Now, here's how Townley (and scholars) determined that Sweeney was the full eyewitness to Winfield and Susan and Howard.

In an unpublished letter (dated 1944?) a Myra Blosser declared to Winfield Townley Scott that Ella Sweeney "knew him {HPL} as a little shaver. She spent summers where he and his mother did in Dudley, Mass." A current John Hay Library note states: Blosser, Myra to Scott, Winfield Townley [194-] Box: 1 accession Number: A11953 "Finding out about Lovecraft seems to have become a regular assignment to myself." Mentions that Miss Ella Sweeney, former Associate Superintendent of Schools, "knew him as a little shaver. She spent summers where he and his mother did in Dudley, Mass." Also as quoted in Books at Brown, Vol. 38-39, 1991, p. 97, footnote 15.

Now, we can also see how Townley got a typo. While Sweeney spents summers at Dudley, the Lovecrafts apparently only spent one there. Townley somehow conflates that they spent sumemrs there together on vacation.

{Believe me, Chrispy makes a lot of errors, too. No stones thrown in this glass house.}

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