Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lovecraft and Postcards

In the blog posts, Chrispy has tried to show that Lovecraft's postcard writing style was not unique. He was a bit verbose, but again, he was not alone.

Here is a 1904 card dated 1924 - so again, Lovecraft was not unique in his use of odd scraps to write on.

The scene of this card is a strange one. Usually postcards were scenic, but this one is kind of dark and edgy. It's at the edge of a railyard, supposedly a streetcar yard, or turnaround. The storefronts are also a bit edgy if not downright dodgy.

It would make a nice alternate scene for Ed Lee's recent trolleymythos story. Not recommended for the squeamish, but since I'm trying to keep this a bit family freindly, I can't even say a lot about it's content. That's probably best, since it might say too much about Chrispy and his tatses in graphic horror.

Back to the post card, you'll see that every square inch allowable is used for the "letter" to this person's acquaintance. This is very Lovecraftian. The subject matter is more mundane, but then if one looks at HPL's cards, they often were of mundane matters. We just get thrilled (rightfully so) because they reveal his whereabouts, and his thinking, and locations.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Colour Out of Space in New Mexico

Fireball Over New Mexico
posted: 24 September 2010
06:20 pm ET

A brilliant fireball lit up the night sky above parts of New Mexico and Texas ...
The fireball, thought to be created by a small space rock, occurred Tuesday night (Sept. 21) at about 11:01 p.m. EDT (0301 GMT) and was captured in a video camera ... It lasted 23 seconds ..."I was inside at the time, but heard and felt the sonic boom," said radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft... outside of Santa Fe, NM ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lovecraft to Eddy (5 September 1924)

From L W Currey:

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips].
6 pages, dated 5 September, n.y. [but 1924], to "Dear C M E Jr." [Clifford M. Eddy, Jr.], signed "yr most obt grandpa HPL."

Written on three sheets of 6 x 9 1/2-inch paper with Hotel Pantlind letterhead, from 259 Parkside Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Approximately 1000 words.

Apologizes for delay in writing, citing pressures of work. Complains about the uncertainties of free-lance work; reports efforts to find regular literary employment, including for a trade journal, The Haberdasher -- undoubtedly arranged by his wife, Sonia, who worked in the fashion business.

He refers to her in passing a couple of times, but never by name ("the frau," "the upper half," "the wife").

Thanks him for the loan of recent All-Stories issue with sequel to A. Merritt's THE MOON POOL ("… very good, thought its diffuseness, romanticizing & explanatory quality make it a bit less powerful than 'The Moon Pool' itself.")

Reports the reading of Eddy's story "The Better Choice" at a meeting of "the gang" and its favorable reception aside from a few problems, chiefly the presence of so many formulaic phrases, of which HPL then lists a dozen examples ("rubbed elbows", "Cimmerian darkness", "wild-eyed, staring").

"The idea is to get away from formulae & state things in some new & arresting form.
Of course it's darned difficult -- but it's worth it!"

Reports current status of various titles on the private postal circulating library that Lovecraft and his friends used to exchange reading material. (It should be remembered that the current inter-library loan system had not yet been established.) .

Letter has faint mailing creases, but is in fine condition. (#109139)

Price: $1,500.00

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lovecraft to Eddy (21 July 1924)

Seen at L W Currey:

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips].
8 pages, dated 21 July 1924, to "Dear C M E Jr." [Clifford M. Eddy, Jr.], signed "yr faithful grandfather HPL."

Written on four sheets of 6 x 9 1/2-inch paper with Hotel Pantlind letterhead, from 259 Parkside Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Approximately 1300 words.

A nice gossipy letter about the world of the pulps: who's in, who's out, which magazine is going under, which one is starting up, which writers have which stories in limbo at which magazines. "Henneberger is now the nominal editor of Weird Tales; but he owes the printer $43,000, & the latter may take over the magazine & publish it himself in Indianapolis."

Expresses frustration about getting any kind of weird material into All-Story, referring to its editor as "… Sister Bob Davis, that delicate soul for whose fastidious readers our rough frightful tales seem to be altogether too horrid & shocking & unpleasant."

Yet Davis' superior, Matthew White was even more dead set against it. Indeed, there were very few markets for the kind of material that HPL and his gang wrote.


Letter has faint mailing creases, but is in fine condition. (#109138)

Price: $2,000.00

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lovecraft Letter to Eddy (5 Spet 1923)

Seen at L W Currey:

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips].
4 pages, dated 5 September 1923, to "My dear Mrs. [Muriel G.] Eddy", signed "very sincerely yours, H. P. Lovecraft."

Written on two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper with Hotel Statler Detroit letterhead, from 598 Angell Street, Providence, R.I.

Clifford and Muriel Eddy were the only other devotees of the weird tale, both as readers and writers, whom Lovecraft knew in Providence. Accounts differ on the question of when the friendship began, but the most reliable evidence would put it near the time of this letter, in the fall of 1923. As one of the earliest letters in their correspondence, this was written under circumstances that make it particularly interesting for the student of Lovecraft and weird tales today.

He knew of their strong interest in this subject, so he felt free to delve into it. He didn't know them very well, so he felt obliged to introduce himself, but in an economical manner, since any letter much longer than this would seem to presume on their interest. And the newness of the relationship, the absence of familiarity, meant he could not retreat into that bantering, cynical tone so often found in letters to old friends. The result, in the two middle pages of this letter, is as good an explanation of his literary style as one could find.

Even to those who have read dozens of such apologiae pro suis litteris in his letters, this one may bring out a new glint or two on the subject. The focus here is on his authorial voice, that curious blend of professorial calm and preternatural alarm, lulling regular rhythms and jarringly esoteric diction, cozy antiquarianism and cosmic alienation, that has come to be known as "Lovecraftian."

It is not an authentic Georgian style, or course -- if Sam Johnson or Alexander Pope could read one of HPL's stories, it would suggest the sly mania of a bedlamite -- but a Georgian style as refracted through the amber of modern nostalgia. "It was the old style which I venerated in youth, & with which I became so saturated that it grew to be my instinctive utterance."

If he tried to write with the clipped precision of moderns such as Sherwood Anderson and Ben Hecht, "… I should be floundering about as clumsily & artificially as if I were using a half-foreign dialect." Because Lovecraft is so connected in people's minds with the pulp magazines that sprang up after World War I, that watershed between the Victorian and modern ears, it is hard to remember sometimes that Lovecraft spent his formative years (24 of them) in a Victorian world.

He disavowed any sympathy for the Victorian, but the question of which bygone aesthetic he yearned for is secondary to the fact that it was a lost world, as lost as his childhood and youth. "And the ironic part of it is, that I have a very keen intellectual appreciation of what the moderns are doing, so that (as in the Conservative I sent you) I am often forced to defend them against the reactionaries whom I myself resemble in my actual use of language. Truly, a grotesque cleavage between theory & practice!".

Unpublished. Letter has faint mailing creases, but is in fine condition. (#109137)

Price: $2,500.00

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Real Life Atlach-Nacha

"... Ralibar Vooz departed .. the way steepened more and more; and it ran through chambers that were too vast for the searching of sight; and along precipices that fell sheer for an unknown distance ... on the verge of a chasm whose farther shore was lost in darkness ... Ralibar Vooz went close to the verge and saw that great webs were attached to it at intervals, seeming to span the gulf with their multiple crossing and reticulations of gray, rope thick strands. ... "O Atlach-Nacha, I am the gift sent by Tsathoggua."

Lovecraft's friend, Clark Ashton Smith, created Atlach-Nacha in his short story "The Seven Geases" (1934). As theory goes, Atlach-Nacha resembles a huge spider and dwells in a huge cavern deep beneath a mountain in the now vanished kingdom of Hyperborea (also the palyground of R E Howard's Conan) in the Arctic. It spins a gigantic web, bridging a massive chasm between the Dreamlands and the waking worldand when the web is complete, the end of the world will come.

Here at the HPLblog, Chrispy brings to you the most alien images of Nature - the real world is stranger than we can imagine. However, when we get there, Lovecraft and his friends have shown us part of the way, through the glass darkly.

Gigantic spider's web discovered in Madagascar
By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

This new species spins the world's longest web over 82 feet by some odd insect engineering. Known as the Darwin's bark spider it even builds its enormous web across rivers. It's not yet understood how.

news link here:

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Spritualist in Lovecraft's Providence

The year: 1915

A susceptible patron wanders into 221 Broadway to meet ... Frank H. Roscoe, speaker and message bearer.

Providence had psychics! Right in the path of Lovecraft's 25 year old gaze.

It's unknown if he ever met them, saw them, or opposed them. However, in two ephemera - theater programs - that Chrispy obtained, he found an advertisement for F. H. Roscoe. That led to a finding in the 1916 Spritualist: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Psychical Research and Occultism, 1916, By C. P. Christensen.

In that magazine, we read of:

Frank H. Roscoe, speaker and message bearer, 221 Broadway, Providence, RI

He had a competitor:

Mrs. M. M. Darling, The Blind Medium, 533 Cranston Street, oppposite Bellevue Avenue.

Roscoe was a long time resident (as early as 1886) of Providence.


and he advertised in various ways


In addition, Roscoe was a man on the move. He filed with the Legislature (page 615) as below:

(4 April 1916) I, J Fred Parker, secretary of state hereby certify that Frank H Roscoe, William H Farnworth, Abel J Satchell, Arthur Hindley, and Albert T Marsh have filed in the office of the secretary of state according to law their agreement to form a corporation under the name of The Rhode Island State Progressive Spiritualists Association for the purpose of educational charitable and missionary work in the interest of the religion of spiritualism in accordance with law and have also filed the certificate of the general treasurer that they have paid into the general treasury of the state the fee required by law.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spiderman Vs ... the Lovecraft Mythos?

You be the judge.

Below are both parts of the 1970 Spiderman cartoon. The plot could be considered Mythos, and while the drawing is sparse, and the dialogue stilted, it has some merits. There are "yig" creatures, froggish creatures, and caricatures of perhaps Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu. As it is ultimately revealed to be an invasion of a nightmare unreality, this may also fit one version of the Mythos. If nothing else, it may strike some of you as nostalgic.

The Youtube color has not held up. I also find that the actors oddly pronounce "dimension" as "dimensia (dim-en-shu)", and once mispronounce "secreted (see-creh-ted" as "secreted (see-creet-ed)". The entire item lasts roughly 19 minutes.

A little research shows that Lin Carter was involved in the story plot (see below).

part 1

part 2

Episode Cast and Crew
Stars Paul Soles Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Peg Dixon Mary Jane Watson/Betty Brant/Polly/Sue J. Jonah
Paul Kligman J. Jonah Jameson/Jake/Additional Voices
Bernard Cowan Narrator/Additional Voices/Dr. Magneto/Cowboy

Ralph Bakshi

Ira Turek
Lin Carter
Fred Halliday

Linwood Vrooman Carter originally from Florida, was a stalwart at fan conventions, and an erstwhile artist and poet prior to the Korean War. Afterwards, he landed solid jobs in advertising and editing, eventually becoming a star with L Sprague de Camp in promoting sword and sorcery, a rebirth of Robert E Howard for better or worse. Apparently, Carter landed at least a one season writing gig with the animated cartoon, and Chrispy recalls that Carter was an ocassional contributor to the feature magazine sized Marvel Conan comic in the 70's.

Halliway, I find little on. He was a comic writer (Spiderman comics and at least this episode) and a cooperative on the controviersial adult rated Felix the Cat "The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat" (1974)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interlude: It's hot.

WASHINGTON -- After eight months, 2010 is running neck and neck with 1998 for the record as the hottest year.

It's hot.

In my city of Louisville, we just broke another temperature record. In two days or so, we'll break the most 90 plus degrees ever and surpass 1895.

It's hot.

In 1895. Lovecraft turned 5 years old. He'd be just past 120 today.

It's hot.

It's 6:30 PM right now, and it's 96 degrees.

It's hot.

I'm going off somewhere and melt.


H.P. Lovecraft Society 1976 First Edition .
stapled wraps 18pp. with photos
Special Fritz Leiber issue.
"Lovecraft in My Life" and "The Stage in My Stories" by Fritz Leiber.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Published by H.P. Lovecraft Society, South Heights PA, 1979.
Softcover, stapled pictorial wraps, unpaginated.
Original publication price for singlue issue: $2.50.
Journal of the H.P. Lovecraft Society, No. 2
edited by Scott Connors

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lovecraft Draws Pickman's Monster

"PICKMAN'S MODEL" TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs) on fifteen sheets {Two SHOWN} of letter-size paper, typed on rectos only, with "H. P. Lovecraft / 10 Barnes St. / Providence, R. I." at upper left corner of first leaf. First or second carbon, several handwritten corrections. Undated, but estimated at 1926. Accompanied by a signed original drawing by Lovecraft of Pickman's model dated 28 July 1934. Written in early September 1926; published in WEIRD TALES, October 1927. Some wear and closed tears at edges. old mailing folds. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fritz Leiber (1978)

Seller's note:

Leiber, Fritz: WEIRD AND WONDERFUL. Original typed manuscript, seven pages, double-spaced. Title and byline in Leiber’s hand, along with several minor corrections and white-outs. Minor damp-staining (chiefly confined to the lower part of the first page and the bottom edge, resulting in some light rippling), some overall light use, but near very good condition.

This was published in the program book for the Fourth World Fantasy Convention, held in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas. Leiber was guest of honor. Although the theme of the convention was the life and work of Robert E. Howard, this essay is about H.P. Lovecraft and his influence on subsequent writers of weird fiction. Leiber writes with fond nostalgia about his wife Jonquil and their correspondence with HPL during the last months of the elder writer’s battle with cancer. It’s surprising that Szumskyj and Joshi chose not to include this essay in their book FRITZ LEIBER AND H.P. LOVECRAFT: WRITERS OF THE DARK, assuming they were not ignorant of its existence.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Professor Upton and the Ladd Observatory

Lovecraft was but a lad of 8 years old when this article came out. May, 1899 issue of "New England Magazine."

Imagine meeting the eminent astronomer pictured above, and visiting a state of the art observatory of the likes of the Ladd. {It was opened in 1891}.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guillermo del Toro talks At the Mountains of Madness -

For years, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has been trying to make his dream project, an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's arctic terror tale AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. And while it's closer (thanks to Universal and producer James Cameron), it's still a dream.

As del Toro tells Deadline: "We are not green lit, we are still budgeting and designing, and we are partners on this. I believe in my heart we are going to be making this movie in June of next year. We are budgeting the creatures and met with Spectral Motion and ILM, where Dennis Muren told me the sweetest words ever when he said, no one has ever seen monsters like this. That was truly one of the highlights of my fat life, a demigod like Muren saying that."


Guillermo del Toro talks At the Mountains of Madness -

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clara Hess

Clara Hess was an eyewitness, from time to time, of the Phillips and Lovecraft family. A visitor with her reporter father and mother to Theodore W Phillips' home, she met Lovecraft and his mother, Susan. As years moved onward, she bumped into Howard at High School, at least once when he was looking in his telescope, and probably other times. During Howard's reclusive years when he only came out at night, she still met and rode the trolley or omnibus with Susan Lovecraft and was saddened by her slow deterioration.

While there is no evidence, one does wonder if Clara might have been fond of Howard Lovecraft in a way he would not or could not reciprocate. She remembered him for many years later as she wrote an article on him.

Chrispy never found any evidence that Clara married, but it could be forthcoming with further research. Her brother became a reporter for ProJo in his adult life. (Providence Journal).

In, Gustav Mahler: The New England Tour, 1910, by Mary H Wagner (2006) her research uncovered another anecdote about 20 year old Clara Hess.
There are so many new readers of the HPLblog, that from time to time I'll bring out older posts.

The text reads:

... and then we read Clara's name. Yes, she was an elite of Providence, it appears.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Halley's Comet: 1910 and 466 BCE

Some of us have one thing in common with Lovecraft We saw Halley's comet. I was 30 years old when it came my way Fevruary 1986. Lovecraft got to see it April 1910. Search the blog, Chrispy has made several entries. Lovecraftians know that HPL was struck by measles (and probably influenza) and nearly died in January 1910. [Chrispy's dating is mentioned on the blog, but too detailed to go back over here.] He recovered to see Halley's comet in April while he was also taking correspondence courses in chemistry.

Previously, notable sightings were by Edmond Halley (friend of Isaac Newton) who assisted in predicting its periodicity after its 1682 appearance. He noted it was the same that Johannes Kepler had seen in 1607.

It was notable in 1066 as England was being invaded, and famously reproduced on a tapestry. Researchers also determined that Chinese astronomers recorded its appearance in 240 BCE.

Here at the blog, we also are partial to HPL's Colour Out of Space. The two come togther in a newsreport that uncovers a 466 BCE record in Greece.


... a meteorite the size of a "wagonload" crashed into northern Greece sometime between 466 and 468 BC. The impact shocked the local population and the rock became a tourist attraction for 500 years. {Also} accounts describe a comet in the sky when the meteorite fell.

Philosopher Daniel Graham and astronomer Eric Hintz of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, modelled the path that Halley's comet would have taken ...(Journal of Cosmology, vol 9, p 3030). ... the comet was said to be visible for 75 days, accompanied by winds and shooting stars, and in the western sky when the meteorite fell. The researchers show that Halley's comet would have been visible for a maximum of 82 days between 4 June and 25 August 466 BC. From 18 July onwards, a time of year characterised in this region by strong winds, it was in the western sky. At around this time, the Earth was moving under the comet's tail, so its debris field would have made shooting stars.

Plutarch wrote in the 1st century AD that a young astronomer called Anaxagoras predicted the meteorite's fall to Earth, which has puzzled historians ... Graham concludes ... Anaxagoras made a general statement that rocks might fall from the sky.

At this time, says Graham, everyone thought that celestial bodies such as the moon and planets were fiery, lighter-than-air objects. But after observing a solar eclipse in 478 BC, Anaxagoras concluded that they were heavy, rocky lumps, held aloft by a centrifugal force.

"When the meteorite fell, no one could deny it," says Graham. "The headline was 'Anaxagoras was right'."


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fifth Third Bank's Dracula 2010 Special Trailer

My favorite time of year is almost here!

Dracula, Waverly Hills, what more could Louisville want?
Special Dracula Trailer shot on the grounds of Waverly Hills!

Dracula Comes Back to Louisville

Dracula Week Continues!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

First Look at DRACULA at Actors Theatre

It's Dracula week at the H P Lovecraft Blog!

Oh, the time is coming to see the annual Dracula performance!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Dracula ... is coming ... Dracula is coming ...

{Your .....
........... H. P. Lovecraft
................................. blog is now
................................................. Hijacked!}

Stay tuned for Dracula !!!

The Alien in Lovecraft's Writing

[Suicide Bomber Ant]
What people thought they saw were organic shapes not quite like any they had ever seen before … but those who described these strange shapes felt quite sure that they were not human … nor, said the witnesses, could they have been any kind of animal … pinkish things… with crustaceous bodies bearing vast pairs of dorsal fins or membranous wings and several sets of articulated limbs, and with a sort of convoluted ellipsoid, covered with multitudes of very short antennae, where a head would ordinarily be … Abridged passage from: Whisperer in Darkness, H P Lovecraft

Much has been written about Lovecraft describing worlds of nihilistic cosmicism and madness. Not enough has been said that he was profoundly influenced and affected by a sense of alienness. Prompted by his hometown, Providence, being inundated by immigrants during his lifetime, he experienced bouts of xenophobia. This translated into describing other worldly invasions with insidious intent. The above passage is but one example.

Very different from emerging scientifiction, which tended to have a futuristic and positive direction with a sense that modernism would bring about radical changes for the better. Slogans in the 40's and 50's such as "Better Living Through Chemistry" did not run into issues until science fiction writers began to grapple with population explosion, cold war and atomic warfare, and environmental chemical toxicity. Essentially, the aliens seen in SF were personified as a different kind of "us". Not so in Lovecraft's xenophobic aliens. He strove to make them so alien as to not be "us".

Therefore, Lovecraft often cast aliens in characteristics of what he might have called vermin. He used traits of frogs, squids, snakes, rats, insect wings, and voices that could not be reproduced by human vocal chords, and other characteristics. However, he rarely included the most alien group of all – insects – and most notably ants.

Noted expert, Dr. Edward O. Wilson, and his followers have written much on ants. They are the single challenger to us as environmental agents of change on the Earth. They out number our nearly 7 billion individuals by ten-thousand-fold or more. We live by various forms of individual expressions of visual, written, and oral communication whereas they are individually expendable, and live by chemical communications and some types of geo-positional system orientations. They are as different from our lives as Lovecraft's characters are, and it is a shame he did not live to understand how different they are from us.

I highly recommend a book I'm reading right now, Adventures Among Ants, Mark Moffett, University of California Press.

NPR interview:

Lovecraft Movie Rumor

Rumors that Guillermo del Toro may want Tom Cruise to star in his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness". (6 Sept 2010).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Fi-Fi of the Toy Shop (circa 1922)

This was circa 1922. Lovecraft probably would not have went to this kind of entertainment as he was in his 30's, but it is probably the kind of fantasy he might have took in as a little boy. At the Providence Opera House.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Florence H Slack (Hope Street High School)

In Lovecraft's boyhood, Providence schols tended to start the second week of September. So, welcome back to school!

This item I purchased for a mere $0.99 plus freight in June 2010. It haunted me, not just because of the Philbrick and Hope Street High School connection, but because this vibrant teacher was being sold for a paltry 99 cents. It seemed unfair, and so after two rounds of not being sold, I purchased it in honor of her memory.

One form of immortality is to be remembered. As a Baptist, I believe in an afterlife, but I also feel strongly that individuals should be honored and respected here and now – even after their death; especially after their death. More so one of noble and giving character.

To my recollection, Lovecraft never mentioned this teacher. It's impossible for hiom not to have seen her or known of her. There is a principal taht states: Just becuase something is not memntioned does not preclude it from happening. In science, one deals in probability. So, also, does one deal in historical probabilities. It's clear that Philbrick knew Slack, and so while we have no evidence that Lovecraft was close to Slack, he had to know of her, and perhaps crossed her path several times in his roughly four years at Hope Street High School.

Below, I trace out a few items in Florence H.Slack's career. It is cursory, but will give you a feel for her activities and vibrance. I suspect that she taught debate and drama as well as English. In 1905, for instance, the debate team won several times (in the 1905 Providence Hope Street High School Year Book), even though she is not specifically mentioned.


Florence H Slack

b. 1876 – d. 1956)
Interred at North Burial Ground of Providence

Report of School Committee of 1899-1900 reports, " In June of 1897 Miss Flora A Fraser of the Sargent School of Physical Training was elected to the position During the same time the work for boys in the English High School was under the care of Mr John Howland for girls directed by Miss Sybil Avery In the Classical High School Miss Charlotte Morrill had charge and in the East Side High School Miss Florence H Slack".

The 1903 Butler Hospital Report has this paragraph, " We are indebted for entertainments to … {others and} … Miss Florence H Slack and pupils and alumni of Hope Street High School"

1904 she is listed )City Directory) as Fourth Assistant at Hope Street High School. That same year in "American Physical Education Review" she is listed at 1240 Westminster St., Providence, but for non-payment of dues, and thus dropped from membership. Located in Room 2R (which seems to be her constant room through her career).

In 1907 she is still listed (City Directory) as Fourth Assistant at Hope Street High School.

1917-1918 school year at Hope Street High School as Third Assistant. (Providence City Manual 1917-1918)

The 1929-1940 Brown University Report lists her at Hope Street High School under "Public Speaking" as her specialty.

Her retirement occurred with much fanfare in 1946 (Perridas has the small program) with attendance and speeches by the Superintendent of Schools, Prinicipal Wood of Hope Street High Schol, and of Lovecraft significance, Clarence H. Philbrick, graduate 1909.
b. 1876 – d. 1956)
Interred at North Burial Ground of Providence
And this interesting article from 1921:

The Drama, Volume 11, October, 1920-September, 1921
The Providence Players and Other New England Activities
..'THERE are on the average three or four amateur dramatic performances given in different parts of greater Providence every night. About every new church or parish house building has some sort of'stage nowadays. Many schools are adding to their equipment in spite of obnoxious and unnecessary build* ing instructions, and clubs of all sorts are developing interest in dramatic directions.
At Pembroke, the women's college in Brown University, a number of admirable performances have been given. Among them was The Amazons, presented by the Senior Class, directed by Sarah Minchin-Barker and staged by Marshall Sheldon, and Quality Street under the same direction and played by the Alumnae Association. Several out-of-door pageants have been given, and a recent program of four original plays presented by the four classes of the college, and dealing with college affairs, afforded stimulus to youthful playwrights.
..Among the public school hall performances the presentation of three one-act plays by members of The Players at the John Howland Grammar School under the auspices of the Parent Teachers Association was one of the most notable. School hall performances, in which pupils are the participants, are ambitiously given under the direction of Miss Florence Slack and Mrs. Hesse who are the dramatic directors for the city high schools, and Miss Adelaide Patterson, at the Rhode Island State Normal School. Miss Patterson, who has acted many parts with The Players, has written several short plays, and pageants, which have been favorably received.
..Dramatic productions at the Lincoln School (a large private institution with grounds adjoining Blackstone Park) are under the direction of Miss Marion Cole, also a member of the Players. At least one Shakespearean play is annually presented, besides the pageants given in the park. As You Like It was the offering in April of this year and was especially meritorious.
..Under Miss Slack's direction the Technical High School alumni performed Eliza Comes to Stay, with Herbert Butterfield, a Players' member and assistant to Mr. Crosby at Brown, in the leading part.The play selected for the spring production of the Sock and Buskin Society of Brown this year, Nothing but the Truth, received its initial production at the Mayflower Theatre.
..The Providence Art Club for several years past has manifested an interest in things dramatic. The annual Christmas carnival under the charge of Marshall* B. Martin has taken on the form of a burlesque show with wonderful scenic surprises taxing the ingenuity and skill of many of the professional artist members of that popular club to devise. This is generally performed for the masculine contingent or "Friday Knights" the Friday night preceding Christmas, and repeated on a ladies' night immediately afterwards. Some of the unwritten parts of the dialogue are intentionally delivered impromptu and usually some of the written portions unintentionally so. Later in the season performance? in more finished dramatic style and serious purpose are presented, and all of the productions are naturally mounted with great decorative and scenic skill volunteered by the ablest artists in Providence. The varied programs include experiments representative of all the new schools there are. The collection of one-act plays presented by Mr. Crosby included Where but in America, A Constant Lover, by St. John Hankife, and The Marriage will not Take Place, by Sutro.
..The stage settings, by Percy Albee, cleverly satirized some phases of the so-called new and decorative school, the embellishment for the Constant Lover including various nimble fauns in a purple wood, supposedly typifying the inconstancy of the youth who is constantly in love.
..Another three-play program, recently given with success' was presented by some of The Players under the auspices of the new Plantations Club whose membership is composed of professional women, at the Elks' Auditorium. Average, A Constant Lover, and Food were the plays given, and as is the case with nearly all such presentations nowadays, as much care was bestowed upon the setting and lighting as upon the action.
..Other groups of three one-act plays have recently been given for the Pawtucket Women's Club and on various church vestry stages for French War Relief, and the like. The Plantations Club also stood sponsor for a propaganda play designed to give impetus to the drive for the fund for the Providence District Nurses Association. This was produced in their auditorium upon a "portmanteau" stage recently constructed by William E. Bridgham, director of design at the R. I. School of Design. The play, From Door'to Door, furnished an interesting example of the possibilities of story playing of an advanced type, as it was constructed largely in scenario form, with but a small portion of the actual dialogue written out. The rest was provided in an impromptu manner by the players who presented with full regard to dramatic characterization and with vividly convincing effect the various scenes making up the story, demonstrative of the work of the district nurses among the poor— all vivid to the audience of volunteer workers assembled to get inspiration in entertainment form, as a prelude to their work for the annual tag day work. As a result of this, the financial results were nearly twice as great as usual.
The play was conceived and arranged by Paul B. Howland of the Providence Journal dramatic staff, and an acting member of The Players.
..Performances of The Witching Hour by the Epiphany Players in the Elmwood district of Providence were of unusually creditable character for so young an organization. This club has been in existence for about two years and gives its productions in the fine parish housa hall of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, four of - the annual offerings being given for the benefit of various church activities and the fifth one for the club itself, for the purpose of adding to its working equipment
..For many years in Providence much dramatic activity has been manifested by various foreign language speaking groups of performers recruited from its cosmopolitan population. Among those are regular productions at the Talma Theatre in Infantry Hall by the Portuguese Young Men's Educational Association (Club de Instrucao des Fillies de Portugal), and various Armenian, Swedish and Italian clubs.]
The residential towns surrounding Boston have for many years supported flourishing amateur dramatic organizations. Among these are the Footlight Club, of the Jamaica Plain district (Boston); the Concord Dramatic Club; the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club; the Newton Players, which has a splendid private theatre; the Belmont Dramatic Club; and the Brookline Comedy Club. Several of these clubs have been in existence for over a quarter of a century and without advertising any claims to noteworthy experiments in any new art direction, have long been conducted under able and artistic leadership, and presented work of much dramatic merit.
..Many women's clubs in the smaller cities and towns are featuring the work of thoir dramatic departments and subcommittees. An example of this is the woman's club of Plymouth, Mass., which has only recently produced Green Stockings and The Fascinating Mrs. Vunderfeldt at the local theatre, and now has Pomander Walk in contemplation with the special setting built for that play by the Providence Players.—[Henry A. Barker.


-Not to be confused with Mrs. Florence H. Slack, aged 72, widow of Jessie B. Slack, died at the home of her son-in-law, Harry R. Solliday, Trenton, N. J., on Friday, April 27, 1928; Bucks, Pa.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Will Hart in Providence Monthly

From Mr. Hart:

To All Lovecraftians,

If you wanted a peek at the August 2010 issue of Providence Monthly, with the promised Lovecraft piece, but missed the issue, you can now see some very high-resolution scans from it on the blog at:

...I'm proud that I was able to contribute something to the 18,000 copies that were published at the time of H. P. Lovecraft's 120th. birthday!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Squid of 30 Million Young !


Sunday August 29,2010

DEADLY sea monsters have woken from the deep to cause carnage among some of the world’s richest fishing grounds. Millions of killer ... have even started attacking humans.

Two Mexican fishermen were recently dragged from their boats and chewed ... their bodies could not be identified even by their own families. ... the giant squid are called “diablos rojos” – red devils.

Since 2002, Humboldt giant squid, named after the 18th century German explorer ... hunting in 1,000-strong packs ... {are} believed to be able to lay 30 million eggs, each one capable of becoming a giant killing machine.

(Excerpts) Link:

Friday, September 03, 2010

Annie Gamwell and the Avon House

Just a few little words found, "Mrs. E. F. Gamwell, hobby horse low chair ", but what meaning there is there if we spend a contemplative moment. From those few words, and its sitz im leben (setting in life), we may feel some powerful emotions.

Google has begun a massive project scanning ancient periodicals, handbooks, city documents, and other public domain or out of copyright items. All of it is attached to powerful search engine algorithms that near-instantly pulls up primary sources for the eager historian or genealogist.

In an obscure book which we might never have found had it not been for the aggressive actions of Google's corporation, we read of a noble charitable cause: The Avon House of Cambridge, Mass.

We read, "The year which ended on the first of November has been generally prosperous for the Avon Home. Eighteen children have been admitted, and fourteen have been discharged, all of whom returned to the care of their relatives. A baby who was feeble and not well when admitted died in August after a few days stay. It is four years since a child has died at the Home, and considering the physical condition of many of the children when they come, the prevailing good health speaks well for the care given by the matron and her assistants and by our faithful physicians. The plan of placing children in private families, the cost of which has been met partly by the Home, has been continued with satisfactory results. This seems to be the only solution of the problem of deciding what to do with children who have grown too old to stay, and whose relatives are no better able to provide for them than when they were admitted.

"We shall at a later time give an account of what we hope to do in the way of opening the Avon Home building again as a Hospital for sick babies and children as soon as we cab make even a small beginning in caring for them. The Avon Home began as a small affair and has grown on the support that the public spirited people of Cambridge have given it to be a much larger affair."

Under an entry for November 1904, Mrs. E. F. Gamwell – undoubtedly Mrs. Edward F Gamwell - Annie Phillips Gamwell – donated these items. They were probably Phillips Gamwell's (b. 1898) items from younger days, as in 1904 he was then 6 years of age. In only 12 more years, Phillips would die. In 1916, Edward and Annie would separate.

Mrs. Gamwell, as many did, cared for the indigent children of Cambridge.

May we, too, take a moment and care.

Twenty-First Annual Report of Avon House, p.13.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Houdini in Paterson, NJ 1926

Long time readers of this blog know that I have been working on connecting Houdini with trying to recruit Lovecraft as an agent to bust up spiritualist rings. Instead, it appears C M Eddy, Jr was recruited.

A number of ads eroneously claim 1909 as the origination of this poster, but this can't be as Houdini only started getting angry, and then obsessed, with spiritualism circa 1923.

This ad is typical: Houdini had returned to the United States in 1905 following a triumphal tour of Europe. On September 2, 3, and 4th, 1909, Houdini appeared at the Lyceum Theatre, 123 Van Houten St., Paterson, New Jersey. The original of this poster was for these performances.

Instead, the events have been conflated, and we see in this more precise narrative: Houdini’s fall season began in September in Paterson, New Jersey. It would be during this tour that the show began to be plagued with problems and mishaps and soon, the curtain would fall on the great magician for all time.

Shortly thereafter, Houdini met with Lovecraft (in Providence) to encourage him to come on the road with him (per de Camp). Lovecraft declined, of course. Bess was stricken with illness that very night. Things went badly after that, including a broken ankle and the horrendous "stomach punching" encounter. Houdini died (Halloween) shortly therafter - perhaps through nefarious means.

The confusion in dates, of course, is the perpetual calendar. 1909, 1915, and 1926 all fit the dates starting with Thursday, 2 September, but only the latter coincides with Houdini's spiritualist time line.

That infamous "midnight meeting" between Houdini, Lovecraft, and Eddy at Houdini's house created a watershed moment. Lovecraft seemed to have agreed to been literary-consulant-at-a distance; Houdini agreed to use Eddy for espionage, and in return fed him a salary and used his music in his shows (clandestinely). Eddy was a wrier of musicas well as other talents. Seemingly about this same time, though Houdini had backed Weird Tales in its earliest days, Henneberger's debt must have shied him away. For a time, though, Henneberger was shoveling money at Lovecraft, and both Henneberger and Houdini promised Lovecraft job interviews - culminating in an offer for HPL to move to Chicago to manage Henneberger's humor magazine (not Weird Tales). Lovecraft rejected it. Henneberger soon lost control of Weird Tales to the printer, and faded from view - at least from HPL's viewpoint. Houdini had bigger fish to fry, and found other avenues for his fiction, magic promotions, and so forth.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Pinfeather (1914)

THE PINFEATHER was edited by Anne V. Tillery
Published by The Pinfeathers, November, 1914
Includes form Howard Phillips Lovecraft's first year in Amateur Journalism "To the Members of the Pinfeathers on the Merits of Their Organization..."

It was also HPL's only appearance within the pages of "The Pinfeather".


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