Saturday, May 30, 2009

Edwin Hubble and Lovecraft

Above, Hubble the dedicatory of the New Albany High School yearbook, with his basketball stars, the first know picture of him with a telescope, and spelunking in Wyandotte Cave.

In 1923, Hubble made a profound discovery: He showed that the "spiral nebulae" that were previously presumed to be within our galaxy, the Milky Way, were actually other galaxies that lay far beyond our own. The following year, he showed that the Milky Way was just one of many galaxies in the universe.

Lovecraft, always keen to read about astronomical phenomenon would not have missed this news alert. In October 1923, part of the New York Times headline read: "Finds spiral nebulae are stellar systems. Doctor Hubbel [sic] confirms view that they are 'island universes' similar to our own."

Lovecraft had already forumlated key nihilist aspects of his weird tales, and after 1923 he progressed to write more intense examples of man's inconsequential existence in the vastness of the universe.

As Lovecraft was proud of his Providence, Chrispy is equally proud that Louisville has played some prominence in history. For a portion of his life, Hubble was a member of the Kentuckiana region. Click Here to see of those times: His family lived there between 1909 - 1916. A 1914 yearbook from his high school teaching assignment showed that the girls were "ga ga over him as they indicated in a dedicating the New Albany High School yearbook to him. He placed, as coach, third place in the state basketball tournament that year.

If Lovecraft had etter tutorng in mathematics, his grandfather had not died so soon, this could have been Lovecraft's life, too. From college, to high school teacher, and perhaps astronomical greatness. Instead, he switched to poetry, and then to weird tales.

{I've not had time to research if Lovecraft actually quoted Hubble in any letters.}

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Meteor Event of 1922: Antecedent to Colour Out of Space?

(Portion of article from Click the image and it should epand and be more readable.)

Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space isa horrific weird tale. However it's filled with tid bits of astronomy, chemistry, ad contains myriad allusions to his grandfather's descriptions of Idaho. Still, I've been in persuit of a eteor which may have specifically influenced his idea of a "meteor" as a key weird event. Over the years, I've listed numerous ancient meteor stories (and a number of current events, too).

Here's one that is significant, timed withing a few years of his setting pencil to paper, and would certainly have been one he'd be familiar with. Lovecraft mixes chemistry with the supernatural, alludes to perhaps both HG Wells and Ambrose Bierce stories, and finally states, "It was a metal, though, beyond a doubt. It was magnetic, for one thing; and after its immersion in the acid solvents there seemed to be faint traces of the Widmanstatten figures found on meteoric iron."

This meteor has been classified as the "Blackstone, Virginia meteor of 1922". More information below...

This iron meteorite (Figure 5) was found in 1922 or 1923 in a plowed field, some 3 miles southeast of Dungannon, Scott County, by Mr. C. W. Castle of Nickelsville, Virginia. Merrill(1923) describes the meteorite as follows: "As received, it more nearly resembled an irregular mass of terrestial limonite than a meteorite, though
occasional depressions or thumb. markings on the badly oxidized surface suggested its true nature. Oxidation had proceeded so far that in plowing it was broken into
450 feet of the impact area, and she heard the explosion directly overhead. The weight of the stone was 1,850 grams (approximately 4 pounds). No. 3 stone fell on
Mrs. Trutter's place making a hole 6 to 8 inches deep; it weighed 853 grams (approximately 1.9 pounds). About 50 to 75 people near a cemetery saw No. 4 stone fall. The stones show both primary and secondary encrustations. They are classified as spherulite chondrite.

Lovecraft to poet, and Lovecraft the atheist might have snuffed at the poem below, but it was attached to the scientific and mathematical article alluded to above, and has a nice romantic sentiment. It contrasts to Lovecraft's different brand of poetic brandishment. :)

I do not know fro whence we came or why,
Nor whither bound. 'Tis true there comes to me
Oft-times a whisper - imortality?
Ah, whisps of Beauty that enchant the eye:
The sunset flush, the stars, the morning sky,
The winds that blow across a sapphire sea.
I know I am, and all of these things be,
And more: that Beauty was not born to die.
If God created man from common clay,
For soul I think He must have found a cloud
With star-dust from the summer Milky Way
Caught in its misty summit rosy browed,
And mixed it with the dust of earthy gray -
I still look to the stars with head unbowed.

Sterling Bunch or Springtown, Texas

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Antiquarian Image of Turk's Head Area

Circa 1906: Original Turk's Head Area

This is the place familair to street car riding young Lovecraft. He would have been about 16 when this post card was postmarked, and the image dated a year or more earlier. It would have been indelible in his memory despite the shining new tower that took its place.

Of course, we who look at the mouldering skyscraper think that it's quaint and antiquarian as we sit here in 2009 nearly 90 years later. Thus the vagaries of perspective and history in the mind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chrispy Away

While I have posts scheduled for many days hence, I will be unavailable for a while (until about 4 June 2009) to answer emails. This interlude gives me another chance to say: Thank YOU for reading the blog. I appreciate the many emails I get, and try always to answer promptly. :)

So as I'm off and away to Las Vegas, feel free to join the HPL Group (see information below the blog entries) and meet others who are fond of HPL. They're a good group of 'folks' (as we say in Kentucky), and very polite and knowledgable.


Turk's Head: More Images

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Legend of "Turk's Head": In Charles Dexter Ward

While these serious steps were under discussion there occurred in the town an incident so terrible and inexplicable that for a time little else was mentioned for miles around. In the middle of a moon-light January night with heavy snow underfoot there resounded over the river and up the hill a shocking series of cries which brought sleepy heads to every window; and people around Weybosset Point saw a great white thing plunging frantically along the badly cleared space in front of the Turk's Head. There was a baying of dogs in the distance, but this subsided as soon as the clamour of the awakened town became audible. Parties of men with lanterns and muskets hurried out to see what was happening, but nothing rewarded their search. The next morning, however, a giant, muscular body, stark naked, was found on the jams of ice around the southern piers of the Great Bridge, where the Long Dock stretched out beside Abbott's distil-house, and the identity of this object became a theme for endless speculation and whispering. It was not so much the younger as the older folk who whispered, for only in the patriarchs did that rigid face with horror-bulging eyes strike any chord of memory. They, shaking as they did so, exchanged furtive murmurs of wonder and fear; for in those stiff, hideous features lay a resemblance so marvellous as to be almost an identity - and that identity was with a man who had died full fifty years before.

Weybosset Street is well known for the histric sky scraper "Turk's Head", but its predecessor is not as well known - except maybe to Lovecraft. Above you'll see a modern photo of the old place, and a postcard showing illos of the "new" skyscraper and its ancient predecessor. (More Images of the modern building tomorrow.)

A little history. The Turk's Head Building, a 16-story office high-rise in Providence, Rhode Island completed in 1913 - 215 feet (66 meters) tall it is currently the 11th-tallest building in Providence. When completed in 1913, the Turk's Head Building surpassed the 1901 Union Trust building to become the tallest building in downtown. It retained that title until 1922, when the Providence Biltmore was completed. Lovecraft would ahve been alive during all these constructions.

I suspect that the "the badly cleared space in front of the Turk's Head" would have been the excavation of the foundation circa 1912 when HPL was about 22. He would not have been a great fan of "new" construction razing an old structure.

The building was designed in a V-shape; the architects of the building "clearly had in mind Daniel Burnham's Flatiron Building" (in New York City). The skyscraper's peculiar name dates back to the early nineteenth century, when shopkeeper Jacob Whitman mounted a ship's figurehead above his store. The figurehead, which came from the ship Sultan, depicted the head of an Ottoman warrior. Whitman's store was called "At the sign of the Turk's Head". The figurehead vanished in a storm and today a granite replica of the original Turk head is found on the building's 3rd floor fa├žade. An alternate history (true story) was that the gale of 1815 swept away a store sign, and that the wooden Turk's Head was recovered and stored away for many years. The legend lived on. It had a turban and a horrid frown, according to legend.

One wonders if that "storm" and the "figurehead" might have had magical import in the tale of woe? Lovecraft could not contain all in his fiction, but read betwenn the historical lines! Maybe write your own Mythos story.

Jacob was a "west-sider" not a priviledged class in the council, but his power and prominence forced a position. He was well thought of by the "east-siders" and notably fought the council against splitting Providence into a new town of Westminster "west of Weybosset bridge, and the Harbour". This would probably have made Whitman a hero to HPL.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Enhancing 'Charles Dexter Ward' Via Historical Documents.

The farm at Pawtuxet, shunned by every living soul, remained to moulder through the years; and seemed to decay with unaccountable rapidity. By 1780 only the stone and brickwork were standing, and by 1800 even these had fallen to shapeless heaps. - The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

When I see antiquarian bits of Providence, I begin to think of Lovecraft and how his imagination mught have jumped at creating fiction from ordinary fact. Here are two tiny bits - fragments of history.

The first image is an ordinary document of its time lifting a ship quarantine of some sort. A portion of a page re minutes of Town Council Meeting in Providence, RI "The Council taking into consideration the advanced State of the Season believe it no longer necessary that Vessels arriving from abroad be subjected to be Quarantined.Resolved therefore that his Excellency the Governor be and he is hereby notified thereof." The front shows the officers present at the meeting. Document is approx. 7"x2/34" and executed on stout laid paper of the day.

One imagines, though, that the council was wary of evil, and shore patrol watched for many years in case withcraft - or worse - manifested itself in the wharfs and woods of Providence. Letting their gaurd down shortly after the heinous farm dwellings at Pawtuxet crumbled.

The second set of images are of a three dollar paper certificate form State Of Rhode Island (found in a house that was being torn down) a paper parchment about 3'' by 3 3/4'' - one side says it is printed by Hall and Sellers and the other side says it was three dollars with the number of 2298. The date it has on it is July 1780. It could have easily been used by a 1780 passerby of that horrid place.

If you're into HPL role playing, maybe these documents will help you enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pirate Report of 1721

(above) Authentic 1721 pirate report.

From Lovecraft's Charles Dexter Ward: Gossip spoke of the strange substances he brought from London and the Indies ... Simon Orne lived in Salem until 1720, when his failure to grow visibly old began to excite attention. He thereafter disappeared ...

Perhaps the report could have fictionally read:

Sir: St. Chriftopher's April 24 1721 I made the Ifland, and I am forry to give you this Account of my great Misfortune in this voyage. 6th of March, I made inland and one Orne, a passenger of late embarked in Boston, faid individual made fecretive and much time spent in quietudes until our encounter upon difembarking in Barbados for Rum and ftores, rumors faid and attefted by first mate, certain priefts of dark arts were contacted by Orne, and our Misfortunes began. Dark men attacked under cover of Myfterious Myfts, thought to be pirates of faid Carribean, and some of His Majefty's men were lost, much bloode spilled, and Orne, passenger, not found after attack.

Ron Howard on HPL: "{Not} an avid reader"

Ron Howard Explains What Attracted Him To ‘The Strange Adventures Of H.P. Lovecraft’ /// Published by Rick Marshall on Thursday, May 7, 2009 (click for full article)

The dark horror tales of author H.P. Lovecraft and the celebrated films of “Angels & Demons” director Ron Howard might seem an unlikely pairing ... “It’s not a literal biography in any way,” Howard told MTV News of the “Lovecraft” story that serves as the inspiration for the film. “It uses him as a way to invoke some of the spirit of his work in a way that’s really, really scary and yet very psychological.”

And surprisingly, Howard was far from finished chatting about the project, even though it’s still in the early planning stages. “I like it because it’s sort of a journey and character study, and at the same time it’s pretty horrifying and frightening,” he continued. “I don’t want to go into it in too much detail, as we’ve just begun writing it, but it’s really fascinating in the way it utilizes Lovecraft.”

While Howard had high praise for the story, he confessed that he wasn’t an avid reader of the author’s Cthulhu-filled tales prior to taking on this project. The filmmaker told MTV he “wasn’t a fan of Lovecraft per se” but was aware of his work and had a great respect for Lovecraft’s “place in the 20th century pulp literary world.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lovecraft's Motivations For Enlisting?

(Above are images of a special pamphlet issued by the Providence Journal showing the inevitability of war with Germany. The paper systematically published exposes of German espionage and notably much of it in the New Ehngland and New York area)
Below are excerpts from some historic documents that I've recently noted. Apparently Providence was in the middle of uncovering a hotbed of German spies. Lovecraft would have devoured the local newspaper daily. Systematically, the Aryan-devoted HPL would have had his idealism shattered. HPL, as is well known, was a fan of all things British, and in his belief system of the time (as with many) the Germans were brothers to the British. This is no mystery, as the royal family were intimately tied by marriage (i.e. Queen Victoria). He proudly announced that the "Teuton is the summit of evolution". On 16 May 1917, he himself applied for enlistment with the Rhode Island National Guard. Why? While Mr. Joshi has written much about this (see for instance A Dreamer and a Visionary}, I think that HPL was following for years the information in the Rhode Island Providence Journal. Indeed, it would be folly to think that he didn't read it daily.

SAYS GERMAN SPIES REVEAL OUR SECRETS; Two in State Department, Four in Treasury Suspected, Providence Journal Asserts. CAPT. HORN HAS CONFESSED Name of German Officer, Now in Prison, Headed List to be Saved by False Passports.
Special to The New York Times. August 17, 1915, Tuesday Page 2
PROVIDENCE, Aug. 16. -- The Providence Journal will say tomorrow morning ... {rest of text not readily available}.

In a document (online starting with and following).

In April, 1915, the Providence Journal exposed the German Embassy's plot to discredit the Washington Administration by means of false affidavits of neutrality
violations "to enable British men-of-war to get supplies from this country." Beginning with this exposure the Journal began its series of revelations concerning German Government plots which focused the attention of the whole civilized world on this newspaper and its exposures.
On June 10 the Providence Journal published a story exposing an attempt on the part of Germans to buy the Bethlehem Steel plant, engaged in making munitions of various kinds, with the intention of breaking the contracts with the allied nations. The next day came the exposure by the same paper of threats against munition plants, which resulted in small armies of private guards being stationed about the various properties.
William Jennings Bryan's "peace at any price" doctrine was disclosed on July 3, when the Journal published the facts of the interview between Baron Konstantin T. Dumba, the Austrian Ambassador, and the Secretary of State. This was the famous meeting
where Bryan promised that President Wilson would accept Germany's proposition to end the submarine warfare if the United States would publicly suggest that its citizens refrain from sailing on passenger ships of the belligerent countries carrying munitions; that the United States would make provision for such boats; and that the President would issue a proclamation advising United States citizens not to sail on such boats. The Journal secured from the files of the German Embassy and printed the original memorandum of the conversation between Ambassador Dumba and Mr. Bryan, which the former had given to Ambassador Bernstorff.
The first of the labor troubles, declared by the Journal to have been incited by the Germans, began on July 13, when the Remington Arms Company plant at Bridgeport was tied up, and this was followed by a rapid spread of the trouble to other munition plants at Bridgeport and elsewhere.
On July 20 the Journal printed the statement that a woman agent of the German Embassy had approached Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, and had twice offered him enough money to make him independent for life if
he would use his influence to call strikes in factories making munitions of war. The offers were refused.
Another sensation was caused throughout the country when the Journal, on August 4, published a story showing the connection that Von Bernstorff and Capt. Boy-Ed had had with Victoriano Huerta's attempt to re-enter Mexico and embroil the United States in war with that country. This plot included shipment of arms and German reservists to Mexico.
On August 18 the Journal published a story showing that, at the request of President Wilson, it had presented to the Navy Department and the Neutrality Board evidence to show that German spies had worked in this country long before the outbreak of the war and that they had tried to steal the fire control secrets of our navy. It also showed that Germany had planned a series of wireless stations completely surrounding the Western Hemisphere.
In 1916, the evidence mounted toward war. On the 1st {of Match, 1916} the office of the Providence Journal was visited by an explosion and fire of incendiary origin.
In 1917: On January 1st, 1917, the Journal printed a story from its Washington office in which it declared that the Administration had, in its peace effort, seemed
to the Allied governments to be attempting to aid Germany at the price of immunity from submarine warfare and, at the same time, appearing before the Allies as giving the Kaiser warning that the United States might enter the war on the side of the Allies.
The same day {1 February} the Journal published a story showing
that the reason New York Harbor had been closed tightly on the 1st was because a plot had been discovered to send German ships to sea and then sink them in the channel, blocking the harbor.
On April 2nd the Journal printed the story of the arrest, of Dr. Iriis and declared that his incarceration had seriously crippled German intrigue in Central America. The existence of a state of war between the United States and Germany was proclaimed
on April 6. It was also on the 9th that the Journal published a story showing how the Germans were spreading tuberculosis throughout France in order to decimate
the population.
On the 16th April a German with wireless signal code was arrested near the Marconi plant at Elizabeth, N. J. On May 2 the Journal showed that the aid of Germans in Mexico had been promised to the Kaiser in a war against the United States and also that the Morgan office had been the aim of the Wall street bomb plotters. {The last day of the month (April 1917) two Germans were arrested charged with trying to explode a bomb in Wall street}.

With a few days of the Elizabeth, NJ arrest, and Wall Street bombing, Lovecraft may have finally had enough. Nearl three years of almost daily ponding by the Providence Journal may have battered his "Teutonic" brotherhood philosophy. Morton's argumentation may have also swayed him.

"I resolved to attempt enlistment despite my almsot invalid condition... I presented myself at the recruiting station of the R.I. National Guard ... was given a ... application for the coast artileery ... the sensation created at home was far from slight ... {and} soon brought my military to a close .."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lovecraft's First Letter?

Though Chrispy patrols the auction sites, I can't see it all. Thank you, Ivan! Here is probably Lovecraft's first published letter, and most assuredly one of his most notable scientific achievements. As a teenager (HPL born 20 Aug 1890) would have been just shy of 16 when he sent off his letter) he was decidedly intent on a career in astronomy. Taken under the wing of the great Upton, he was not only introduced to celebrities such as Percivel Lowell, but also tapped to write astronomical columns for local newspapers. He was well on his way, except for three failings. He was poor in math, sickly, and his means of independent wealth seized from him when his grandfather died.

Again thanks to Ivan and enjoy these images of Lovecraft's first published scientific letter.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vintage Images of Butler Hospital in Providence

These images are from circa 1910 or before.

>Drive to hospital<

Opened in 1847 as the result of a grant from Nicholas Brown, one of the wealthy Brown brothers. Lovecraft’s father, Winfield, was admitted here in 1893 and remained until his death on 19 July 1898. In early 1919, Lovecraft’s mother had a collapse and she entered the hospital on March 13. She died there on 24 May 1921—as the result of a possibly bungled gall bladder operation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Colonial Providence

Whether Lovecraft saw this book or not, I don't know. However, he would have devoured it had he ever had it in his clutches! The illustrations are interesting, and these are where Lovecraft's flights of fancy would have taken him.

Providence in Colonial Times by Gertrude Selwyn Kimball
Published by Houghton Mifflin 1912
# 499 of 550 copies printed
A documented history of Providence, RI till the Revolutionary War, wonderfully illustrated with drawings and pictures of documents, artifacts and buildings important to that history.


Thanks, Magister! The link to the e-book is on google.books: Click Here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

18th Century Providence

{The images are the best available from the recent auction.}

This little book was recently seen for auction. Lovecraft would have been passionate about his city and its 18th century era.

"Angell's Lane, The History of a Little Street in Providence"

By George L. Miner. Published in Providence by the Akerman-Standard Press in 1948.

Two houses have stood on an ancient street in Providence, once called Angell's Lane and now called Thomas Street, since the 18th century- the Dodge House and the Brick House, both built by a remarkable artisan named Seril Dodge. Dodge came to Angell's Lane in 1784 and set himself up as a clockmaker, a trade at which he became very successful. By 1789 he was also advertising for silver and working as a silversmith, specializing in spoons and shoe buckles. In fact, it was said at the time that the two fine houses he built were "paid silver buckles".

Dodge also dealt at various times with the well-known Brown family of Providence, about whom there is much in this book as well. Eventually the Providence Art Club came into possession of the houses and half of this book is devoted to the history of the Club from its founding in the 1880s, and its members and their exhibitions and hijinks. There is also material on the history of this section of Providence through the centuries, but three chapters are devoted in one way or another to Seril Dodge, his life, his clocks and his silver (both of which Miner illustrates, including a lovely cream pitcher), and his houses. Really, a remarkable amount of artistic history was packed into a short, block-long street, and it is thoroughly covered in this book.

Hardcover. 6.5"x10", 198 + xxxvi pages, black & white illustrations. Publisher's brick red cloth, silver & black leather spine label; light wear, but overall in very nice, clean condition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rare Charles Lamb Book Recently Auctioned

At the beginning of one The Dunwich Horror the following quotation:

"Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimaeras- dire stories of Celaeno and the Harpies- may reproduce themselves in the brain of superstition- but they were there before. They are transcripts, types- the archetypes are in us, and eternal. How else should the recital of that which we know in a waking sense to be false come to affect us at all? Is it that we naturally conceive terror from such objects, considered in their capacity of being able to inflict upon us bodily injury? O, least of all! These terrors are of older standing. They date beyond body- or without the body, they would have been the same... That the kind of fear here treated is purely spiritual- that it is strong in proportion as it is objectless on earth, that it predominates in the period of our sinless infancy- are difficulties the solution of which might afford some probable insight into our ante-mundane condition, and a peep at least into the shadowland of pre-existence."

The mysterious and Arcane quotation above is taken from this volume Witches and Other Night-Fears by Charles Lamb, this is a 1929 edition.

(Starting Bid was $55.50)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yuggoth Connection: Venetia Phair dies

Those wild hills are surely the outpost of a frightful cosmic race - as I doubt all the less since reading that a new ninth planet has been glimpsed beyond Neptune, just as those influences had said it would be glimpsed. Astronomers, with a hideous appropriateness they little suspect, have named this thing "Pluto."

Venetia Phair, who named planet Pluto, dies at 90

By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press Writer Robert Barr, Associated Press Writer
7 May 2009

LONDON – Venetia Phair, who was 11 years old when she suggested Pluto as the name of the newly discovered planet, has died at age 90, her family said. She died at home in Epsom on April 30, the family said; the cause of death was not disclosed. The family said a funeral would be held on Friday.

Born Venetia Burney, she suggested the name to her grandfather at breakfast in 1930.

"My grandfather, as usual, opened the paper, The Times, and in it he read that a new planet had been discovered. He wondered what it should be called. We all wondered," she recalled in a short film, "Naming Pluto," released earlier this year.

"And then I said, 'why not call it Pluto?' And the whole thing stemmed from that."

Her grandfather was Falconer Madan, the retired librarian of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. He relayed the suggestion to his friend Herbert Hall Turner, professor of astronomy at Oxford, who on that day was at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, where possible names for the planet were being discussed.

Turner then passed the suggestion to Clyde W. Tombaugh, who made the discovery, at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona.


Lovecraft rewrote parts of his story "The Whisperer in Darkness" to energize and synchronize with the planet. Lovecraft as a youth believed fervently in a 9th planet, and focused that thought in several poems and writings.

Other weird fantasy capitalizatons were:
"In Plutonian Depths" (Wonder Stories Quarterly, Spring 1931), short story by Stanton A. Coblentz. The first story to take advantage of the newly discovered and named world.
"The Red Peri" (1935), novella by Stanley G. Weinbaum. The title character is a space pirate with a secret base on Pluto.
Cosmic Engineers (1939, 1950), novel by Clifford D. Simak, features a human base on Pluto.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Providence Harbor: 1890;s

Below is an image of the Providence harbor circa 1890's. Lovecraft was only a todler when he came back home, but it gives a perspective of how quickly his world changed - from steamboats to trolley cars to automobiles all in his youth.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lovecraft, Charles Dexter Ward and Real Life Pirates

Below are real life pirate insurance documents seen for auction recently on the ebayeum. First, some passages about pirates from HPL: (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward) - Gossip spoke of the strange substances he brought from London and the Indies on his ships ... ... That many of the errands had concerned the farm of Pawtuxet Road, and that few of the sailors had ever been seen to return from that place, was not forgotten; so that in time it became exceedingly difficult for Curwen to keep his oddly assorted hands. Almost invariably several would desert soon after hearing the gossip of the Providence wharves, and their replacement in the West Indies became an increasingly great problem to the merchant. ... ... Yett will this auaile Nothing if there be no Heir, and if the Saltes, or the Way to make the Saltes, bee not Readie for his Hande; and here I will owne, I haue not taken needed Stepps nor founde Much. Ye Process is plaguy harde to come neare; and it used up such a Store of Specimens, I am harde putte to it to get Enough, notwithstand'g the Sailors I haue from ye Indies. Ye People aboute are become curious, but I can stande them off.

And now the description of the docments below:

Insurance Policy against Pirates (Providence RI, 1806)/// Washington Insurance Company in Providence, June 5, 1806 /// 1 Pg document, measures 9.5" x 15"
Policy number 1925, issued to Misters Benjamin & Charles Dyer for $530.00 for property on Board the Brig Providence from Providence [RI] to Suriname [Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America] "with liberty to proceed from to any Port or Ports on the main or in the West India Islands not Leeward of St. Croix for an addition of one percent premium for each port touched.." /// "... And in Cases of Extremity and distress, it shall be lawful for the said vessel, etc. in this voyage, to proceed to, and touch at, any ports or places whatever, without prejudice to this Insurance: And the WASHINGTON INSURANCE COMPANY IN PROVIDENCE agree to bear and take upon them, in this Voyage, the Danger of the Seas, of Fire, Enemies, Pirates, assailing Thieves, Restraints and Detainments of all Kings, Princes or People... have or shall come to the Damage of said property or any Part thereof to which Assurers are liable."

One of the first of two insurance companies of Providence, Rhode Island, the Washington Insurance Company in Providence was founded primarily to provide insurance for merchant vessels. Founded in 1800, the company competed with the well established Providence Insurance Company and declared its first dividend on January 2, 1801. /// The company operated successfully until September 18, 1813 when the directors voted to suspend operations due to risks associated with the war with Great Britain. /// Opening again for business on March 4, 1815, immediately after the signing of the peace treaty, the company also began proceedings culminating in a merger with the Providence Insurance Company. In March of 1820 the final incorporation of the Providence Washington Insurance Company was obtained. /// Source: "One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Providence Washington Insurance Company; 1799-1949", Roelker, William Greene and Collins, Clarkson A. , Providence Washington Insurance Company, 1949.

Hopefully this will enhance your enjoyment of re-reading Charles Dexter Ward!

Clicking on the documents should expand them and make them somewhat more readable.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rare Ephemera from Providence Tercentenary (4)

From wallpaper, this cover was made and constructed to memorialize Washington's visit to Providence (160 years previosuly) on 15 April 1776. This is the kind of thing Lovecraft would have obsessed over (not the wallpaper, the visit). Of course, he would never admit that he was on the revolutionaries side. :)


Blog Archive


Google Analytics