Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Hmm, well maybe it isn't 1891. (HPL was barely 4-1/2 months old)

Happy 2011 !

On the first 2 days you will read about a Phillips family influence rarely spoken of. My thoughts are to bring new articles of history that impacted young Lovecraft (and sometimes of older Lovecraft), and mix that with Chrispy notes. While the theme is still Mr. Lovecraft, after 2700 posts, its time that Chrispy has a few words in edgewise from time to time. After all this is a web log, and theoretically it's supposed to be about the person writing it. Heh.

If you get a little too much of my poetry, my stories, or my blah-blah-blah, and yearn for Lovecraft then use the metatags to search your favorite topic on Lovecraft.

Have a great New Year !

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The New Year Draweth Nigh!

Well, Lovecraftians and followers of the blog, the days grow short.

It has been a good year, and one of many discoveries for me - and in the name of Lovecraft scholarship. I'm encouraged by the work being done - that I know of - and hope more people will email me when they can.

To those who emailed this year, THANK YOU for sharing, and allowing me to share with you.

The days of the digitally available Lovecraft is coming, so those of you who are strapped for cash and can't afford a $5,000 original Lovecraft letter keep the faith. One day it will be available on the Internet or as e-documents for scholarly pursuit.

Have a nice, and safe New Year, dear readers !

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Parable For Our Times

Well, what is a horror writer to do? Most of my stories are even close to 'PG', and I do like to make this blog family friendly. So, I searched through my old tales, and I have one that you may find somewhat amusing, somewhat poigant, and hopefully entertaining - if you like puns.

It is a bit appropriate for a Lovecraft blog, as much of his dark fantasy was about dealing with his inner bigotry of "others". So, with all apologies to Veggie Tales, I present:

From the Dark Side of Produce: When Vegetables Go Murderous.

The Story of Hashed Brown.

Spuds McTurkle was from Idaho, and very proud of it. Look, California could keep it's dancing raisins. Spuds was from the great state that had upturned his legendary dad: "Idaho Tate".

Scallions, however, were not hill vegetables. They were only half-roots, and he had no use for them or their odor. The old saying went: Put a scallion in the bin, and the whole lot will smell like bad garlic.

Spuds avoided their kind.

Until one day and that fateful bus trip to Ohio.

He'd always had his eyes on Ohio. It was high in the middle and round on both ends just like Spuds. He knew, just knew, that his destiny awaited there.

But the scallions, as was their ilk, were waiting. They'd had a contract out from McDonald's, and they wanted a piece of the golden arches in their pockets. Corporate didn't care where the french fires came from, and the public demand was fry high.

Though he only vaguely resembled a turnip, this day Spuds walked into a dark corridor, as if he were fresh from the farm and had tumbled off the truck. The place was bigger than all out doors,a nd as confusing as a corn maze, so Spuds took one fatal, wrong turn and ended in a corridor as dark as the underbelly of a furrow.

Instead of finding the ticket counter, he found scallions - with a potato slicer.

They fell upon him. His mottled skin was peeled from his body as fast as a pitchfork tine could flip a new potato. They went for the eyes, and slit them into a wet pile. As they slashed, the stench of raw potato was in the air.

Into a gunny sack the raw potato chunks went, and Spuds - just like that - was parted from the good earth forever.

- Chris Perridas

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Ghosts of Phillipses Past

I'm back from a few days of rest. It was a very quiet Christmas, just what Chrispy needed.

I also took a little time to do HPL research, and as usual uncovered some unbelievable items. I've been stunned so much, that I'm getting almost shock proof. Almost.

I uncovered a stirring memorial to Robie* Phillips that just about made me weep. I can't go into all the details right now, but suffice it to say it was a detailed eyewitness report of Robie's decline between Thanksgiving 1896 and January 1897.

It is hard for me to believe that hundreds of Lovecraft researchers missed these items, but they obviously were much more focused on Lovecraft and not his family. Those few who did care about the Phillips family, just didn't have the time and resources of instant information at one's fingertips as I have. As I stated before, I can do in one night on Google's archives what someone in the 1970's would take two weeks of vacation to do.

Google's search algorithms do not work well on the newspaper archives, unfortunately. I have to use the current reference dates made available by generous sources, and then slog through a mound of newspapers for those dates and several others on either side.

However, the theme of today's blog is "ghosts". About 8 years ago I stumbled over the name of H P Lovecraft. Who was he? Like many fans, I became obsessed with the details of his stories and life. Then something very bizarre began to happen.

Lovecraft took over my life.

At first it was a lark. People began to read. That was pretty exciting, and went well with my horror writing at the time. (I still think I turned out some very good stories and held my own with Stoker and other nominees). Then, it turned dark.

This year Lovecraft was not an obsession, I was possessed. The Phillips family, one after another, crawled inside my head and began to tell their life stories to me.

First the patriarch, Whipple Phillips laid out his business career to me in intimate and bloody detail.

Annie and Edward Gamwell were next, telling me about their beautiful wedding at 454 Angell Street, and how Gamwell slowly built up his publishing career from an obscure Brown University periodical to a Cambridge newspaper, and then collapsed into alcoholism.

Theodore Phillips senior and junior both chimed in to tell me about their life, though TWP II remains elusive and coy about how, when, and where he died. Through a kind genealogist of the Manton-Mitchell family, we compared notes and learned more about 612 Angell Street than any people have a right to know. Wow.

Lovecraft told me about his boyhood friends, their lives, their tragedies, and his own meteoric rise in astronomy - despite major illnesses - and then his collapse when he realized it would never come true. Then he had to tell me all about the Pykes and Metcalfs near 598 Angell. And how the city nearly wrecked Angell Street by widening of it. He has been quite yakkity about that kind of stuff.

And on it went even to this weekend with the intimate details of Robie Phillips death, and their subsequent trip to Moosup Valley and meeting Mrs Nancy Wood at Job D Place's home (who had just received a Tillinghast as a visitor).

Like a bizarre Dickensian drama, I have been commandeered by the ghosts of the Phillips clan, and honestly they and me have to have a sit down. I have quite a bit more of my life yet to live, and they need to chill out for a while. I can barely digest it all, much less tell you dear readers about all of it.

2011 will be about how I disseminate the massive details that I have uncovered, and blend it into what you kind correspondents have shared with me, as the Phillips and Lovecrafts and others of old Providence shared with you. It is a daunting task.

Edmund Morris just came out with the third - and last? - installment of Theodore Roosevelt's life. I can imagine what his life has been, and the sacrifices his family made for him to be rode on the Rough Rider's saddle.

Chrispy has a veritable mountain of obligations that live people are waiting upon, so sweet Phillipses, please !! you have waited a century and a half or more, can you just relax and let Chrispy work through all of this!

And you, kind blog readers, also be patient as I find the right time and conduits for this information. It is a story of drama and tears and Gilded Age drama, and Lovecraft's youth is that of a gifted boy in the Edwardian era that will cheer your heart as you root for him - despite knowing that it will all work out in the end, albeit very much differently than anyone (even he, HPL) foresaw.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"chupacabra" comes to my neighborhood

Only a few miles from me, the legend finally comes to ME. After years of talking to Boyd Harris of Cutting Block Press to go on a chupacabra hunt (never any time) the legend shows up in my locale.

Nelson County residents baffled by carcass of unidentifiable animal

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reflections on 2010

Finally, a chance to take a breath.

Chrispy has been inundated by the day job, and I had to cut back a little on the blog.

This year brought some of the current technology to the Lovecraft realm, but for the most part Lovecraft remains very soundly in the early 21 st century. A few brave souls have plunged into audio and YouTube, but it seems that MySpace and Twitter are going to begin to fade away. Email and Forums will continue to hang on, but the advent of texting, Facebook, and the ubiquitous appearance of mobile combination internet-computer-phone-multimedia devices has yet to make a dent into Lovecraft research. That is the future, however.

The new revelation that is also the biggest kept secret, it seems, is the explosion of free and instantly accessible archives of primary data on Google. Ancestry is still a paid format, but it is primarily a genealogical resource, and Mr. Faig has pretty definitively traced the Phillips family, and the Lovecraft family is pretty delineated as well. Google has tens of thousands of pages of newspapers now online, and millions of pages of 19th and early 20th century civic documents. It has been a treasure-trove of Lovecraftiana. Go forth and read !

What the cutting edge will now be is to use primary documents (newspapers for instance) to relate what Lovecraft was doing with what his friends, colleagues, and neighbors were doing. In essence to place Lovecraft in context with his society. I've spent virtually every day of 2010 doing this very thing, and have been quite excited - and astonished - how much HPL was a creature of his environment. When HPL declared "I am Providence", he really wasn't even close. Providence had moved far away from HPL, but it didn't seem like it to him at the time. He had immersed himself in nostalgia, and he didn't see the aging, rusting, swollen behemoth of industrialism that was becoming more democratically controlled, and crime-ridden. If he had looked, large sections of the 1920's Providence were very much like the New York he hated. Just not on his corner of Angell Street.

I should not have been taken aback by all of this, but so many writers have made Lovecraft so larger than life that he seems a caricature out of time and space. He clearly wasn't. He was a brilliant man intellectually coping with his world the best he could, and the fantasy he left us is a treasure and pleasure.

About 60% of my research time has been on Young Lovecraft (pre-1912) with some progress of dating specific incidents in his life, and creating logical arguments to show that the Phillips family mythology was sometimes true, sometimes false, and sometimes as yet unknown. I have made a great deal of progress.

For instance, when HPL was about 7 or 8, his neighborhood played a powerful influence on him. From thence came all his nostalgic recollections, and enjoyment. Neighbors introduced him to plays, friends came to the house and exposed him to adult conversations, introduced him to writing, printing, science, literature, and many other issues - some dark like racism and irreligion. These are the formative years of every child, so be not surprised that these were the key years for HPL.

About 40% of my research time has been spent on Whipple Van Buren Phillips. Due to primary documents now available, his business career can be more fully established and explained. In context he was not as powerful as a Vanderbilt, Carnegie, or Rockefeller, and even in Providence men such as Aldrich, Manton or Banigan were far wealthier, but WVP cut a wide swath. His genius was two-fold. He understood the power of the velocity of money, and he was able to quickly gauge who would be useful to him as business associates. His judgement was not infallible, and he made serious mistakes, but he always recovered and built a new fortune. He also associated with a conclave of - for lack of a better term - the Foster gang. From powerful Senator Aldrich to the future RI supreme court justice Clarke Johnson, his best friend, WVP used and manipulated western Rhode Island contacts (as early as 1855) to get inside information on business deals, and used the legislature to secure prominent business ventures. Every few years he and his colleagues placed into the acts of the legislature many new businesses, a process not available to just any Providence man.

For instance, we now know that after a bankruptcy, WVP associated with an old Foster RI fellow and began to peddle sewing machines. Through that activity, he uncovered and seized rights to a special machine that became as hot as pet rocks, and in that burst of glory became fantabulously rich again. This was on the eve of his triumphant building of his home on Angell Street. We also know that early on, he was involved in intra-state business trasactions. New York, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Idaho were all places of interest. WVP was quick to litigate, and his lawsuits are legion in law literature. It was a trait of all the Phillips family, most likely extending from their proto-Republican and Federal-Period belief systems. And so much more to discuss!

Next year may see the death of blogging on the internet, so I'd like to make it more personal and worthwhile. In the close to 3000 posts I have done, no facet of Lovecraft has been left out. It is an archive that is useful for me, and available to anyone who reads this to learn more about HPL and his legacy. My greatest challenge is to write all this information up into a well argued set of historical treatises. I'm no longer a young person, and it is a lot of hard work. I already feel I'm faltering. Wish me luck.

This will be an intensive and time consuming process, and as that activity grows, the blog will have to fade into the background. I considered reposting old posts, but the only thing that gives is a continual feed to services who pick up and distribute. The blog isn't a visual media, and that is the future, and one I'm not capable of committing time and work to. Not when I can create books that will one day be available in electronic format.

I won't say that 2011 is the last year of the blog, that's up to the fast moving change of technology, but as I finalize commitments I have given to the blog, it will have to change somewhat in frequency.

Don't fear, though, I still have months and months of things I have to put up on the blog, so stay tuned for January !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thaumaturgists Predict Doom of Providence! (1905)

(What would Lovecraft Say?)

He must have been appoplectic over the predictive catastrophe. Unlikely he went to see the Fays at the Providence Opera House! Heh. One imagines him wanting to dash off a letter to the Providence Journal on this one. A decade later he would have. At the time he was way too involved in astronomy to perhaps diverge on this issue. It was probably school holiday, otherwise it would have been the talk of the Hope Street High School.

Providence, RI Jewelry Factory Explosion, Dec 1905
All Providence Scared Over Prediction of Christmas Disaster.

Special to The New York Times.

PROVIDENCE, R. I., Dec. 22.---A slight explosion in a jewelry factory, within a short block of the shopping district caused by a panic to-day among the several hundred employes[sic] in the building, two men being painfully injured and a dozen women fainting before any attempt was made to ascertain the nature of the trouble.

The explosion occurred in the Enterprise Building at 7 Eddy Street and was caused by the clogging of a waste pipe in the factory of the Cutler Comb Company. Fire started immediately after the explosion and two or three moments later the street below was filled with fire apparatus.

Seven of the girls in the jewelry concern of Hamilton & Hamilton, Jr., on the fifth floor fainted and others followed suit in other parts of the building. Dozens of the girls ran out on to the fire escapes and stood there screaming. Policemen spreading through the building drove them back and got all safely to the street. Two men were slightly hurt.

The fire was extinguished without trouble, the damage amounting to not more than $1,000.

It is believed that had it not been for the nervous tension existing throughout the city over the prediction that a boiler explosion would occur about Christmas time in a large store of this city the affair of this morning would hardly have been noticed by the employes[sic] in the building.

According to the stories in circulation the prophecy was made six weeks ago by "The Fays," who gave a three-nights' entertainment in the Providence Opera House, and who call themselves "thaumaturgists."

They claim to have foretold the Chicago theatre fire and other great calamities, and stories concerning the prediction have been circulated so peristently[sic] that the owners of the big stores, while realizing the absurdity of the prediction, have taken every precaution to guard against accident for the purpose of allaying the superstitious fears of the shoppers.

In every one of the big stores, it is said, there has been a careful inspection of the boilers, and last night one of the largest stores advertised in a local paper that the fires under the boilers in that store had been drawn, and that the elevators were being run with electricity.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Dec 1905

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Scene of Providence

This scene would have been when Lovecraft was about 10 years old give or take a few years.

By accounts, Lovecraft was not sensitive to the cold in his youth. Only later in life did he seem to develop a traumatic form of cold sensitivity.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Doomsday Comes to Providence (1907)

Here are vintage images from a Keith's Theater program. Note especially that (not pictured) that part of the bill was "Doomsday", "a scenic and electrical spectacle of the end of the world in 2005".

Shades of Nyarlathotep!

No evidence whatsoever young Lovecraft saw this.


Seller's Notes:

This is a vaudeville program from Keith's theatre in Providence, Rhode Island for the week of December 16, 1907. The proprietor was Edward F. Albee, the adoptive grandfather of Edward Albee the playwright. The bill included a ''clay modeler'', ''flying ring gymnists'', singers, ''Hebrew comedians: Hawthorne and Burt, jesters, singers and a one act comedy by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Drew. Most intriguing was Doomsday, ''a scenic and electrical spectacle of the end of the world in 2005''! The 16 page program is filled with interesting local ads from Providence and surrounding towns. Included is a riding school, a wig maker and ''Painless Davis'', a dentist in Providence. The 5 1/2 by 9 1/2 inch program has a light stain at the top and unevenly trimmed pages. It's clean except for where the former owner wrote ''fair'', ''excellent'' or other editorial comments by the acts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A new take on Nyarlathotep

Michael Immerso's book, Coney Island: The People's Playground speaks much of amusement diversions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (p.100 ff.)

Immerso paints a scenario where the preeminent amusement park of the day, Coney Island, had already by the late 1890's had mechanical devices that dazzled the imagination. Fred Thompsn's "A Trip to the Moon" invented the illusion ride that he had made prototypes of as early as the 1898 Omaha Exposition. Another of his illusion placed the audience members in a glass covered coffin and first buried them, passed them through an animated skeleton assemblage, and finally to a graveyard with winged beings.

By 1906, an illusion called "Pharoah's Daughter" had a statue that came to life to instruct the daughter of pharaoh of many horrific things.

William Ellis was another master. He produced illusion shows and rides named "Hereafter", "End of the World", "Orient", and "Hellgate".

Each and everyone of these were precisely the things that young Lovecraft fixated upon – demonic and gaunt animatrons, Ali Baba and Arabian Nights images, myths from Greece, Babylon, and Egypt. Other shows included the Johnstown Flood, the Italian earthquake, and trips to the North Pole.

We do not have to presume that Lovecraft saw any of these, but they made the newspapers. They also scaled down to road shows. We know this from an item sold on Ebay that featured an act: Doomsday: a scenic and electrical spectacle of the end of the world in 2005. This appeared in 1907 at the Providence Opera House.

From that program, we have the following details preserved*:

… a vaudeville program from Keith's theatre in Providence, Rhode Island for the week of December 16, 1907. The bill included a ''clay modeler'', ''flying ring gymnists'', singers, ''Hebrew comedians: Hawthorne and Burt, jesters, singers and a one act comedy by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Drew. Most intriguing was Doomsday, ''a scenic and electrical spectacle of the end of the world in 2005'.

We can then read Nyarlathotep's poem, story, and even the parody of Providence in 2000 through these lenses. Lovecraft's dreams might truly have been influenced by reading of these spectacles, seeing the printed images of them, listening to people who had visited Coney island, or even seeing the 1907 Providence production of one of these shows – maybe this one specifically.

* As seen on an Ebay auction sale.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WV Phillips, Gilded Age Tycoon

There seems to be a rumor that W V Phillips was growing impoverished in the 1890's. In fact, he was agressively looking for deals. My best guess is that WVP believed in the velocity of money. Money in a bank was for common people - he should have known, as he was a banker off and on from the 1850's.

I do not recall that I released this bit of detail before, in the blog, but here we have WVP buying into a very technological innovation. This was cutting edge stuff, almost science fiction. Rapid mail movement was the future, and WVP was not one to rest - he wanted to build and create. In the process, he was very Gilded Age, it was about getting money and making it work. I'm sure he also believed that progress was the future.

In 1891, WVP was a vigorpus 58 years old, and still had a large cash reserve from building the popular fringing device. He had just been in the Bruneau River valley on 10 October 1891 to insure the rebuilding of the dam was under way (Charles Wing had announced this on 11 July 1891). I'm pretty sure AJ Wiley was already employed to do the work out west.

Yet, WVP did not stand still. Read the article below. I have no clue how he met these people, but I suspect that at this time there was a bit of a Foster RI gang that was totally plugged into the burgeoning Washington scene, most likely through Sen. Aldrich. That is sheer speculation though. Other researchers will have to determine the veracity of this. WVP was a former postmaster, and it seems very likely that he was let in on this "information" as a sure investment.

There was a competing US Portelectric Co, and later I believe they merged together. There is no way to ascertain if WVP profited on this technology, though.

I tracked only two of the figures involved. WVP was not constrained to work within the New England worldview. This deal was made in West Virginia, and I know he had dealings with a Minnesota bank, as well as his Idaho work for gold and irrigation. Often, Edwin was used as a front for some dealings, and a wicked court case where Edwin gave some damaging testimony may have contributed to them parting company for a significant period. That is the other thing rarely known about WVP. He was litigious - as were all the Phillips clan. I have found court cases stretching years, some of them the foundation for modern case law. When he thought he was right, he had no fear going to court. Neither did other Phillips clan members.

OK, enough for now. Read the article below, and marvel at Phillips' tenacity in business.

Thomas Lemuel James was born in Utica, NY, 29 March 1831. He joined the Republican party at its inception, and under Fremont's campaign, was editor of the Madison County Journal. When Lincoln was inaugurated (1861) he was appointed inspector of customs, later became postmaster of New York City (1877). Garfield appointed him Postmaster General in March 1881, and he retired January 1882 to become president of Lincoln National Bank in New York City.

Col. Henry Huss, a Civil War hero (d. 1906) was from New York.

Monday, December 13, 2010

HPL in Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner

Google has just put up a series of Pawtuxet Valley Gleaners, many with HPL articles.

Be a Lovecraft researcher! Read the original articles - in context.

One link is placed above, attached to the title of this blog. Below is an image from one of the newspapers:

Note that it begins, "Written for the Gleaner ...". What will YOU discover?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Aeronaut Plunges to earth at Providence

Images of an aeronaut plunging. The year, I believe, was in the 1890's.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

James W Phillips died

He was 70 and he died at the home of his carpenter son Walter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Arsenic containing DNA

NASA Discovers New Life: Arsenic-based DNA

Chrispy has held off a few days to see if anything new would occur on this issue. Lovecraft speculated in his fantasy that advanced life forms frequently visited the past Earth, and even the current Earth. These entities were mysterious, and encounters with them often caused the ill-prepared to go mad, or die.

Late in life, HPL believed that men were mere vermin on a dust speck. Insignificant. His religious beliefs were essentially atheistic, and that upon death, the life energy disspated into nothingness. If pushed, he might have believed that atoms merely recycled themselves into other organisms.

A century has passed, and we are on the threshhold of discovering that there are millions (or more) worlds with the potential for various forms of life. The anthropological dilemna is about to be solved - are we alone, and if not, are they us?

Extremophiles have been popping up from undersea volcanic vents to hidden Antarctic lakes. Now, DNA is shown to have arsenic substituted for phosphorus. It would not be a hard stretch to see flourine substituted for oxygen. (Sulfur is the next element below oxygen, but Fluorine is a more mobile electronegative ion than a sulfate ion).

In some cases maybe silicon will be found to be substituted for carbon - if not in DNA, then in other molecular structures. Diatoms have a silicate exoskeleton, for instance.

One day we may meet one of "them", and the Lovecraftian nightmare may happen.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Things to Come

16 December and 22 December posts - Lovecraft's Providence is "Destroyed".

A Winter Scene of Providence.

And, soon, I am going to try to get up a number of "Phillips family" obituaries and newspaper notices. If you have a scrapbook, you will want these. They are devilishly hard to get, and I even knew what I was looking for.

If I get time over the holidays, I will type up some information about more of Lovecraft's neighbors. I even astonished myself at the hub-bub centered around 598-600 Angell Street, and even more so the startling revelations of 612 Angell Street (circa. 1880-1920).
In trade for all of this, I would love to know if anyone has discovered the death date of Theodore W. Phillips II. I know it is at least after June 1916, and believe it to be in late 1916.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Voltaire Molesworth book: Australian Lovecraft Connection

From the blog post:


Vol(taire Molesworth) was one of Australia's pulp writers, producing sf numerous novels in the 1940's. He also wrote Lovecraftian stories.

... With the assistance of Leigh Blackmore and James Doig, Graeme Phillips has produced a highly attractive Vol Molesworth Special Issue of his zine Cyaegha.

The issue includes Molesworth's tales "Let There Be Monsters!", "Arkaroo", and "Blinded They Fly" ... Molesworth's article on Lovecraft, "A Modern Master of the Macabre", written for a 1949 issue of Arna, the literary journal of Sydney University, is included ... There is a cover portrait of Molesworth by Tom Hubble ...

A figure little-known outside of Australian wartime sf, Molesworth deserves his place in history for these ventures into Lovecraftian horror. The 64-page staple-bound booklet will certainly appeal to Lovecraftian collectors.

Available by emailing Graeme Phillips at:

See also cyaegha's webpage at:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Lovecraft Hated Horrible Smells

I found this little - ugh - gem on Sunday afternoon on the 23 November 2010 but could not bring myself to post it before Thanksgiving.

Imagine you are Howard Lovecraft. You are sensitive to all kinds of strong smells. In fact they make you ill. Especially anything that reaks of fishiness - a type of degenerative amine smell.

Now, do you have that firmly in your mind, Horror Lover?

Now, imagine you are attending Hope Street High School, a community school with all sorts of boys, from all sorts of backgrounds. And read this complaint by the Principal of Hope Street in 1912. While it is from several years after HPL attended, the conditions were explicit, and the conditions had lingered from the earliest days of the school.

Read on ...

As principal of the Hope Street High School I beg leave to present the following report for the year ending June, 1912:

...I wish to call attention to the condition of the boys' toilet room. At the time that the school was built the style of urinals installed was antiquated. At the Classical High School, which was erected a year before the Hope Street School, the urinal system is modern and hygienic. Even in the English High School, which was built many decades ago, the system is at least sanitary. At the Hope Street School the urinals are offensive, both in odor and appearance, and a positive menace to health. The toilet room is situated opposite the lunch room, and the caterer has spoken frequently of the noisome odors that permeate the basement. Teachers notice the odors as they pass the staircase on the floor above. Even pupils complain. The principal has done his best for several years to get these conditions abated. The means he has employed have been those of applying to all committees with any kind of jurisdiction over the high schools, including the Committee on Hygiene and the City Property Committee of the City Council. I make one more plea to have these offensive conditions removed at once and a modern and sanitary system installed, preferably one with standing slate and constant flow.

Charles E. Dennis, Jr.,

Welcome to the underside of Young Howard's world.

I can only envision that the urinal was of a trough method that gravity drained to a central area, and that there was no stain-resistant or non-porous barrier. Therefore, probably only highly permeable wood and mortar formed the back-splash? Otherwise, the conditions must have been intense.

Again, imagine you are Howard Lovecraft in that environment.


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