Lovecraft in Auburndale

Here, warts and all, is almost all of my research on the "hidden" period when Susan and Winfield were in and around Auburndale.  Some notes I omitted, but most of it is here.

Bottom line:  I believe that most of what HPL related was true, but some elements were exaggerated, most was colored by family mythology, and a few incidents were just mis-remembered.  This is to be expected for two reasons.

The first, as bright as he was, he simply could not have clear memories of things at 2 years old.  It is not possible. But I think he did remember a few things and these were emphasized and shaded by Susan retelling the stories to him.

Next, this was a golden time for Susan and Howard prior to the dark days of Winfield's collapse.  I tryed to begin to bring that out in the narrative below.

I did this in open office software, so forgive any problems.  Also, I simply have had no time to thoroughly edit and clean this up.  It is raw, and I show it here not to be definitive, but to have others weigh in on real or perceived errors, and add their own research ideas and notes.  Perhaps you as a researcher have not thought about these things in this way, and it will spur you to write a more thorough and thought provoking historical essay.

All errors - and they be plenteous - are mine.



Problem with Dates in the 1890-1892 Period.

Mr. S. T. Joshi has presented the most definitive scholarly opinion for the whereabouts of Susan, Howard, and Winfield for this period.  It is based on decades of sifting of data by Lovecraft scholars.  Yet even he[i] qualifies his opinions with many words such as “suspicion”,  “seems”, “suspect”, “provisionally”, and “may”.  It is that hard to piece it together.

An example is the letter to Maurice W. Moe dated 1 January 1915.  His mother was very much alive in 1915, and HPL was 25 years old.  Of course it is still more than two decades after the events, but it is one of the closest letters to the 1890-1892 era which scholars have available.

Lovecraft, in this early letter, conflates and abridges a number of historical items almost to the point of inaccuracy.  It does not appear that he is trying to dodge any issues or camouflage any details.  However, the details merit examination.

“Sarah S. Phillips and Winfield Lovecraft were married on June 12, 1889, and on August 20, 1890, the only child, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born at the Phillips home, No. 454 Angell Street, Providence.  The Lovecrafts soon afterward took up their residence in Auburndale, Massachusetts ...”. {portions of the rest of this letter were omitted in the Selected Letters I which August Derleth published}

Among the issues - minor and major - are the omission of Lovecraft's father's middle name, that the Phillips family residence was enumerated 194 Angell Street at his birth, and the phrase "soon afterward" omits a number of residences of upwards of 2 years.  No mention of Dorchester or Dudley.  It would be sad for scholarship if this were the only letter we ever had from Lovecraft.

Elsewhere in this letter HPL stated,

"My mother and Aunt Lillian were ... both accomplished landscape painters in oil.  ... In 1873 my grandfather disposed of his estate and interests in Greene, and removed to Providence, where he entered the real estate business."

This gives us a very interesting detail.  This actually will assist this writer in making an hypothesis linking Susan's presence at Dudley to landscape painting.  There seems no reason to doubt Susan's interest in painting as Lovecraft presents it here. 

However, the 1873 remark about Whipple Phillips leaving Greene, R. I., and moving to Providence, dodges the issue of his 1874 bankruptcy, and we know [ii] that Phillips was in Greene as late as Spring 1873,

"As there had been no religious service in the community for a long period, these friends of Methodism, having a superior insight of the high importance and spiritual needs of the place, labored earnestly to establish divine worship here. As others were well inclined towards the movement, an effectual door was opened. In the Spring of 1873 Mr. Phillips kindly threw open his commodious hall for the accommodation of the worshipers. The church was organized in the Fall of 1873."

In addition, Phillips was a partner in The Wood River Branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (chartered in 1872 and completed in 1874). On April 19, 1873 a train disaster was caused by a bridge washout and burning of passenger cars."  It seems that much if not most of these details were unknown to Lovecraft.  When Lovecraft was very young, Whipple Phillips (1833-1904) was a very powerful businessman dealing with lumber, coal, and other industrial items which derived from the resources of Western Rhode Island and transferred to Providence, a typical Gilded Age baron.  He may have had the ear of powerful Senator Aldrich (1841-1915), from Phillips' home of Foster, Rhode Island.

That none of this is even hinted at in this letter, parts of which Lovecraft would certainly have been proud to announce, is telling.  This writer feels that Phillips kept much of his business deals under wraps even to the point of his family not knowing – or not caring – until it was too late, Phillips died, and left them with a meager inheritance. 

This is important.  Lovecraft was an eyewitness to information about the family business and the family events growing up, but after early 1904 when HPL was 13, Susan would have been the interpreter of the family mythology.  Even during the period between 1892 and 1904, the Phillips had carefully guarded secrets.  After 1893 Winfield's collapse threatened to bring scandal upon the family name.  Lovecraft not only chose carefully worded remarks to illustrate his early years, some information he simply did not know.  Therefore, every piece of evidence that Lovecraft offers in his letters, even to his closest and friendliest correspondents, has to be fact-checked as carefully as possible.

Lovecraft's Birth and First Two Years:  An Overview

Solid documentation, a birth certificate, proves Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on 20 August 1890 to Winfield Scott Lovecraft and Sarah Susan Phillips.  Previous generations of scholars have constructed a time line.  This writer uses most of this.

ñ     From Susan Lovecraft's conception of Lovecraft approximately Thanksgiving of 1889 through her 2nd trimester she resided in unknown  housing in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
ñ     From second trimester, through birth, and to about November 1890, Susan and Howard resided with her mother and father, Whipple van Buren Phillips and Rhoby (or Robie) Phillips.  Presumably Winfield continued his traveling sales duties and visited as often as allowable.
ñ     Between late 1890 and Summer 1892, Susan and Howard lived in the Boston suburbs, most likely Dorchester.  (Mr. Joshi believes through Winter 1892).  Winfield continued his traveling sales duties, but something was changing, and they determined to buy land and contract a house to be built in Auburndale.
ñ     During this entire period, Winfield Lovecraft was a traveling sales agent.  Early in his career he must have worked with or for his family in the silver or jewelry business, and then as an agent for Gorham Silver, though only one witness exists for this latter belief.
ñ     A Summer vacation in Dudley, Massachusetts in early August 1892 for Susan and Howard. (Mr. Joshi thinks it may have been June).
ñ     A brief return to Dorchester to gather items and pack for a move to Auburndale.
ñ     About late October through April 1893, Susan and Howard lived in Auburndale.  Winfeild visited as often as he could.  Through mid-December 1892, Susan and Howard may have lived with the Guineys.  They may or may not have visited Providence for Christmas 1892.  They stayed in rental quarters until Winfield's collapse I April 1893.  Susan may have been in Chicago in April 1893, but there is no explicit evidence for this.

Each of these points are debated by scholars, but evidence is so scanty the pieces can only be cemented together by additional logical framework.   These are opinions of more or less likely, more or less possible, or probable.

A significant paper was presented by Professor McInnis who reached to subliminal psychology to elicit data from Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space to garner new data.  He was not the first to try to extract data from Lovecraft’s fiction.  His argumentation rests upon:

1.      A significant document of the Butler Hospital record of Winfield's stay.
2.      Howard, then 2 years old, having accurate and independent information,
3.      or Howard having accurate, but hidden, information from the Phillips family legends, documents, oral tales, and mythology
4.      or that those elements extracted by McInnis from Colour Out of Space accurately reflects factual data and factually augment the Butler document.

Each of these points demands scrutiny and will be discussed later as Auburndale is discussed.

Facts Available to the Researcher

We have the birth announcement of Howard, and we have the hospital confinement of Winfield, otherwise the only “factual” data we have are from Howard's recollections presented in his letters to correspondents from his adult years.  Some data comes from an even later era by a few eyewitnesses, and these are second and third hand.  There are as yet no real estate records, canceled checks, and no newspaper articles to support the whereabouts of Susan, Howard, or Winfield except for a rare hotel announcement for Winfield.  Susan's father, Whipple, is somewhat more traceable, but clearly had matters of his own to attend.

While in most cases Lovecraft's memory was phenomenally accurate allowing historians to recreate events from Providence's early history not reproduced elsewhere, his memory is very suspect when it comes to Dorchester, Dudley, and Auburndale.  The present writer has been able to confirm Lovecraft's recollections in numerous instances from newspaper reports.  However, the current writer has also found contradictory facts specially when:

ñ     Lovecraft has an agenda to protect himself or his family
ñ     Lovecraft relied only on Phillips family mythology
ñ     Lovecraft had a bias to the information, notably in genealogy
ñ     Lovecraft simply misremembered certain facts from his early years

Therefore each element of the 1892-1893 years have to be reconstructed and weighed individually with percentage of accuracy.  It greatly fortuitous that Kenneth W Faig, Jr. has done much of this work, and that in 2010 Google began to scan millions of newspapers and books into their database for free public access and searchable by Google's most powerful algorithms.  Ebay has been another amazing source as auctions come and go, scrutiny has uncovered a number of one-of-a-kind finds that assist the understanding of H. P. Lovecraft's youth.  The standard Lovecraft biography is by scholar S T Joshi who frequently acknowledges his dependence upon other researchers in the field.  The most recent incarnation of Joshi's work is the now-definitive two volume version entitled I Am Providence.

Winfield Scott Lovecraft

Lovecraft’s father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft[iii] (WSL) , was named in respect of the great war hero, Winfield Scott’s presidential campaign stop in Rochester on 14 October 1852.  The family originally came from England in the mid-19th century setting up as barrel makers.   His father was George and his mother Helen, and Winfield was born on 26 October 1853. 

As WSL reached adulthood, he first lived with his uncle John Lovecraft working as a blacksmith for a carriage factory.  After that scholars have not been able to uncover records for several years after the last listing in the 1874 Rochester directory.

Steve Walker, a member of the amateur research group E.O.D.[iv] and publisher of the Criticaster/Limbonaut[v] found in a 20 July 1884 newspaper an arrival announcement for a  "W. S. Lovecraft" in Newport.  In addition to this listing, other occurrences of Winfield Lovecraft hotel announcements have been discovered by this writer[vi] in the mid to late 1880’s.  Notably WSL is found in Detroit in Spring of 1884.  From a memoir by Sonia, she stated that WSL was was a “traveling salesman”.  Independently, both WSL's death certificate[vii] and Howard Lovecraft’s death certificate state

This note is tantalizing, but only conjecture can be taken at what Winfield was doing.  Perhaps this was a routine mission for him.  In a memoir, Sonia[viii] (Greene) Lovecraft was the first to state that Winfield Lovecraft was a salesman for the Gorham Silver Company, but she does not list any years.  This writer examined a number of trade books, city directories, and especially The Jeweler's Circular and Horological Review of that era[ix] with no results for Winfield.

What is known is that by the time that Winfield met Susan, he was infected by syphillis.  It is now also known that two other Lovecrafts were infected:  Joshua Lovecraft and Frederick A. Lovecraft.  Both would die of the disease.

Sarah Susan Phillips

The Phillips family derived from western Rhode Island near Foster, Rhode Island.  Susan’ father, Whipple Van Buren Phillips was orphaned at age 14, but after finishing an education, spending  few years in Illinois, returned to work at a grocery store in Mount Vernon.  He met his future wife, Robie[x] Place marrying in 1856[xi].  Almost immediately, Whipple gained a seat on the board of directors of the locally prestigious bank of Mount Vernon, Rhode Island[xii].  From that point forward, Whipple proceeded to build  large fortune and eventually the family moved to Providence[xiii].  In 1881, Whipple built a three story, fifteen room Victorian mansion[xiv], and the family settled down as one of the old blood elites.

We have precious little information about Susan from these early days.  She was born in Foster, Rhode Island, and in her youth educated at Wheaton Seminary.  There she decided that she enjoyed reading French literature, and landscape painting,  two avocations she enjoyed her entire life.

Susan and Winfield Get Married

We have no evidence that Sarah Susan Philips was near Newport in July 1884, or when the two of them in fact met.  That they did meet, this we must conclude, for on 12 June 1889 they married at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Tremont Street in Boston[xv].  Though it may seem awkward to discuss, we can calculate that Howard was conceived on or about Thanksgiving of 1889[xvi], thus starting a timeline of importance.  We know that Winfield was already infected with syphilis[xvii], and luckily did not pass this on to Susan or Howard.  Finally, their intimacies must have been somewhat infrequent, or Winfield extremely careful - or lucky - for the disease not to have been passed in those early honeymoon, and marriage circumstances.

There is one new aspect that may be sheer coincidence.  In the late 1880's, Susan's father, Whipple Van Buren Phillips partnered with mostly New York individuals (a very unusual circumstance), and a former Postmaster-General to form the Portelectric Company -  a means to rapidly move mail by rails.  A test facility was created in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  This presents several scenarios.  No one was better connected that Frederick Lovecraft[xviii] in New York.  He was a local celebrity, bon-vivant, race enthusiast, and would seem anathema to everything the tee-total-er Phillips believed.  However, it does seem likely that Winfield worked for Frederick's jewelry business.  Phillips did partner with New Yorkers.  Susan did meet Winfield.  The Portelectric Company did have a facility in Dorchester where Winfield and family lived for some time.  These are astonishing coincidences, but nothing on which to build until additional information appears.

There is essentially no data on what Susan and Winfield were doing between June 1889 and near the third trimester of Susan.  Mr. S. T. Joshi mentions  that they lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts off and on through at least June 1892, save Susan's retreat to (then) 194 Angell Street for the birth of Howard.  There is only Lovecraft’s testimony to this.

For argument's sake, this writer will assume that beginning late May 1889 (third trimester) Susan took up residence with her mother, Robie, her father, Whipple, and her sisters Lillian and Annie, and perhaps her brother Edwin.  Edwin may or may not have been traveling for the Owyhee Land and Irrigation Company tacitly owned and managed by Whipple on behalf of investment partners.

Above, authentic witness to the marriage.

Interim:  Susan and Howard until Dudley

In a letter to Edwin Baird (1924) Lovecraft stated:

“At an early age – an age of very few months, in fact – the future master of literature emigrated to the Providence of the Massachusetts-Bay, taking his parents along with him on account of a desire to transact business – commonplace thought – in the village of Boston.[i]

In a letter to Rheinhold Kleiner (1916) Lovecraft stated:

“my parents actual residence at the time … Dorchester, Mass.[ii]

Almost nothing is known after Howard's birth on 20 August 1890[iii] and up to the vacation stay in Dudley, Massachusetts in August 1892[iv].   We only know that the Lovecrafts moved to Dorchester.  Scholars assume that Lovecraft's “village of Boston” included its suburb of Dorchester, otherwise this presents a contradiction between “Boston” and “Dorchester[v]”. 

If the Lovecrafts lived in Dorchester, or anywhere else between 1889 and 1892 scholars have not found a listing in tax records, census records, home ownership listings, or any city directories.

One intriguing fact surfaced recently.  This writer discovered that Winfield stayed in a Detroit Hotel in 1891.  The implication is that he was still a traveling salesman, and perhaps for Gorham Silver.  However, in late 1891, something was changing.  We have Lovecraft's testimony that as 1892 drew closer, land was purchased for a permanent home in Auburndale. 

An Interesting Dorchester, Massachusetts Coincidence From 1891.

Whipple Van Buren Phillips, Susan's father, was a significant Gilded Age tycoon.  While certainly not in the category of a Carnegie or Rockefeller, or even rubber magnate, Joseph Banigan, but he was a significant local and regional power.  This may have derived from his “western Rhode Island” connection of powerful friends such as Senator Aldrich and State Supreme Court Justice Clarke.

In 1891, the former Postmaster General came up with a rapid, electric system to move mail between large metropolitan areas and after a successful 1889 demonstration, Phillips invested heavily into this. 

Of course some caution needs to be made.  Is this really our Whipple V. Phillips?  Can we be sure?  This writer believes that a small listing in the West Virginia legislative acts of 1893 clarifies this.  It clearly lists Phillips as being from Rhode Island.  In this era there are no other W. V. Phillips of Providence, Rhode Island, and clearly the identical investors are listed with a few exceptions and odd spellings.  What is very surprising is that in the Boston Evening Transcript article, Dorchester is mentioned as having an experimental plant in operation – the same Dorchester in which Susan and Winfield were living.  Nothing else can be said at this time other than that it is a suspicious coincidence that after Howard was born, the couple did not stay in Providence but moved immediately to Dorchester.

Winfield Lovecraft in 1891.

This writer can place Winfield Lovecraft at the Tremont Hotel of Chicago on or about 14 February 1891, but that is about all we can do.  The implication is that Winfield was visiting for the Columbian Expedition, and perhaps on behalf of Gorham.  Nothing more can be stated, though.  (Note it says he is from "New York")

Susan in Dudley (Summer 1892)

Above, a rare image of fin de siecle Dudley, Massachusetts. 
It shows the locale of Dudley as remote and rural. 

There is precious little that researchers have uncovered on the summer vacation trip by Susan and Howard to the small town of Dudley, Massachusetts[i].  The earliest witnesses are H. P. Lovecraft in his adult letter writing, and a senior educator of the Providence school system, Ella L. Sweeney.  In both cases, there is concern of bias.  Sweeney's testimony is second hand through a letter from her friend, Myra H. Blosser[ii],  to then-Providence Journal reporter Winfield Townley Scott.[iii]  Lovecraft's testimony is decades after the fact and purports to be his actual memory at age of two years old or so of those events.

Lovecraft's testimony is highly suspect.  Our fairest appreciation of his memories are that they have been enhanced by repeated oral history of the family, specifically via his mother Susan and after the trauma of Winfield Lovecraft collapse into madness, and very protracted institution stay.  Psychologists have often studied the memories of infants and find them tainted by parents' stories, even to the point of having false memories established.  However, there are odd anecdotes about very, very early memories that resonate with other independent evidence,[iv] so this writer will be as charitable as possible in analysis.

There is no reason to doubt that there was a summer hiatus by Susan and Howard in the small village of Dudley, Massachusetts.  It is nearly impossible to date it precisely (this writer will try below), but some logical assumptions can be made:  It must predate the trip to Auburndale.  We know this because the sequence of events during 1892-1893 evolved rapidly.  After Howard's birth, the Lovecrafts established residences in the Boston suburbs, probably Dorchester, though we have no idea why. 

During the summer trip to Dudley, Lovecraft was at least old enough to walk.  From Dudley, the Lovecrafts quickly relocated to Auburndale and possibly stayed with Louise Imogen Guiney (to be discussed below).  By Spring of 1893, Winfield Lovecraft collapsed into irreversible madness.  Immediately thereupon, Susan and Howard relocated to Providence.  Therefore Summer of 1892 is the latest this event could have happened when Lovecraft was just turning two years old.  Summer of 1891, Lovecraft was turning one, and the anecdotes do not fit.  Howard

If only Lovecraft's testimony existed, then we might question the event.  Winfield Townley Scott had access through August Derleth to some of Lovecraft's letters, and he began to reach out to others in Providence to confirm these anecdotes.  He received Ella L. Sweeney's independent testimony through Blosser on the Dudley event.

Dudley, Massachusetts seems one of the least likely locations for a vacation for anyone.  According to public records[v] there were probably about 3,000 in this little town in the summer of 1892 and 44 residents that had significant taxable income[vi].  To date this writer can find but one local attraction[vii], the long standing Nichols Academy.  From inferences in Lovecraft's letters, and items still in existence that were owned by Susan, it seems her passions in this era and throughout her lifewere French literature and landscape painting.  An advertisement from 27 August 1892 (oft repeated) for the local Nichols Academy promoted the college as well-equipped and that it specialized in ancient and modern languages.

Lovecraft's Testimony on Dudley

Images of the era show Dudley as mostly rural.  Some of these are submitted to the reader for viewing and are derived from the 1890's, and 1900's. 

Lovecraft stated, “My first memories are of the summer of 1892 – just before my second birthday.  We were then vacationing in Dudley, Mass. & I recall the house with its frightful atttic water-tank & my rocking-horses at the head of the stairs.  I recall also the plank walks laid to facilitate walking in rainy weather - & a wooded ravine, & a boy with a small rifle who let me pull the trigger while my mother held me.”[viii]

Until other evidence appears, this writer rests on the circumstantial evidence:  That Susan stayed in Dudley for quietude, painting landscapes, and using the local college library for reading and study.  Can we then from the few fragments that Lovecraft gives us determine if there is historicity to his recollection?  It seems that it can.

Newspaper articles from 1892 indicate that the summer of 1892 was dry[ix], except for a storm on 4 August 1892.  It seems unlikely that boards would be strewn about unless there was rain suspected or after it rained heavily.  It is clear from contemporary images that virtually all the roads and driveways were dirt, or some sort of pressed clay mixture.  Footpaths would need wood supports to keep shoes from collecting mud.  Does that mean it only rained on 4 August 1892?  This is impossible to be 100% sure, but there it is a strong hypothesis.

Lovecraft recalled some kind of “wooded ravine”.  Do we have independent evidence?  We do.  On 8 August 1878[x], the Southbridge Journal had an article that contained, “Take such a prosaic {horse drawn} drive as that from Southbridge to Dudley, with its leafy ravine its road meandering through forests, its views from the hill tops, and its superior for beauty will be hard to find.”

This accounts for the historicity of both wet streets, a multi-floor dwelling, and that Dudley was considered picturesque and identified with a ravine.  We turn next to the independent evidence offered by then-Superintendent Sweeney.

Ella L Sweeney

“On their summer vacations at Dudley, Massachusetts … Mrs. Lovecraft refused to eat her dinner in the dining room, not to leave her sleeping son alone for an hour one floor above.  When a diminutive teacher-friend, Miss Ella L. Sweeney, took the rather rangy youngster to walk, holding his hand, she was enjoined by Howard's mother to stoop a little lest she pull the boy's arm from its socket.  When Howard pedaled his tricycle along Angell Street, his mother trooped beside him, a guarding hand upon his shoulder.”  (WTS)

Our restricted understanding of the nature of Sweeney and the Phillips family limits conclusions, but it does seem that the final sentence is not a part of the Sweeney testimony.  Sweeney was about 22 years old in 1892, and by the time HPL was tricycling, Sweeney was already becoming a significant presence in the Providence school system and advanced rapidly thereafter.  She may indeed have been a long-term friend of the family, but was it Susan?  It could be one of the other sisters, and there is no reason to think Sweeney knew of the cause of Winfield's serious illness.

Therefore we are left with:
ñ     Mrs. Lovecraft refused to eat her dinner in the dining room, not to leave her sleeping son alone for an hour one floor above.
ñ     Miss Ella L. Sweeney, took the rather rangy youngster to walk, holding his hand, she was enjoined by Howard's mother to stoop a little lest she pull the boy's arm from its socket.

This is not a lot to go on other than confirm that they coexisted in Dudley at the same time that summer, and from the tone, Sweeney did not approve then, and did not approve decades later of the way Susan appeared to coddle Howard.  We do not know that Sweeney was an employee of Susan, though this is a strong possibility.  The word “rangy” might simply mean head-strong.  Sweeney confirms that there was a multistory structure involved giving more credence that the Dudley Hill Inn was where they stayed.  If Sweeney was of short stature – for instance if she were 5 ft 3 in or so, a not unusual lower percentile height for women in the late 19th century, and Howard was about 34 inches, then indeed a child would have to stretch, or the adult would have to bend a bit.

There is the question of why Ella L. Sweeney[xi] was in Dudley.  Was it a coincidence?  Sweeney[xii] became the senior educator for young children in Providence.  At this time she was  22 years old, and at the very beginning of her career.  She may have been already associated with the Phillips family at this time, but if so we do not know how.  Was she assisting Susan with young Howard, or did they just make a connection?  It seems from all anecdotes, Howard was an eye-catching child and knew it.  His intelligence was already readily apparent, and certainly would be so by an already alert teacher.  Howard also knew how to get attention, and in early August of 1892 must have already been manipulating attention from adults.

It did not go seem to go well.  That Sweeney even remembered these events after (at that time) nearly fifty years is remarkable, and thus needs to be questioned as to motive.  Sweeney's memory may have been remarkable, we don't know.  However, bitter recollections can sometimes be the most enduring.  Something unsaid seems to have happened in those few weeks.

William Scott Townley, in his book, calls Sweeney a “family friend”.  We do not know whether that was a friend in 1892, or a friend throughout the Philllips family endurance, or to whom she was a friend.  Lacking evidence, we will assume it true. 

Blosser's letter still exists, but is at the John Hay library[xiii].  Sweeney knew Lovecraft “as a little shaver.  She spent summers where he and his mother did in Dudley, Mass.[xiv]”  Scholars, notably S. T. Joshi, believe that the plural of vacations is a typographical error.  Sweeney was already a teacher at Providence, and the new school year was going to start in early September in Dudley and Providence.  Therefore, Sweeney either accompanied Susan to Dudley to assist, or Sweeney was in Dudley to study at the Nichols Academy, or both.  Dudley seems to have no other advantageous or exciting venture other than Nichols Academy unless one enjoys a little horseback riding, or porch rocking.  It is this writer's thesis that they resided in the same hotel, Susan painted, and that Ella Sweeney and Susan Lovecraft walked to the library, and maybe attended a lecture or two.

Dudley Hill

Dudley Hill was arranged on a circular avenue, and contemporary and near-contemporary images how that the college, a hall, the inn, and a few other buildings were all very close together.  The college closed on 24 June 1892, and re-opened for a new semester on 6 September 1892, as listed in the advertisement below.  It can be speculated that Susan's “vacation” would have ended before this before the influx of school students.

Contemporary newspaper records from the Southbridge Journal, a weekly regional circular, has little news other than routine items.  As an example, a concert series was held at nearby Roseland Park, with fireworks on the Fourth of July and concerts scheduled for 6 and 27 August 1892.

We have no idea what Susan did after the end of August 1892.  We have three choices:

ñ     She returned to her rental quarters in suburban Boston
ñ     She visited Whipple and Robie in Providence
ñ     She relocated immediately to Auburndale, Massachusetts.

In the absence of evidence, it seems logical to believe that Susan returned to suburban Boston, got her things in order, packed the house, and readied the move to Auburndale.  It is also highly probable that the reason was that Winfield had already purchased land and desired to break ground in Spring 1893 – an event that would not happen.  There is ample time for a visit to Providence, but we do not know if it happened.  Thus we next move to discuss the stay in Auburndale.

Below several views of contemporary (1892) Dudley Hill, Dudley, Massachuetts.

 Above,  a view of the school near the Inn. 
A pressed earth drive circles the open courtyard for the entire hill.

Above is an image of the school for a different angle,
the long oval driveway, and further the Inn,
and other buildings on the hill.

Above, another image of Nichols Academy. 
This dates very close to the time
that the Lovecrafts vacationed in Dudley.

Above, this is most likely the inn that the Lovecrafts rented in 1892.
By Sweeney's account, they stayed on the second floor.

The article above describes the “new” boarding house, later The Dudley Inn.

Unfortunately, no extant advertisement for rooms
has been found for the 1892 era.
However, the description is of the Dudley Hill boarding house
finished in 1885, and then later known as
the Dudley Inn, which the Lovecrafts rented.

Winfield Scott Lovecraft in 1892

There is only one mention of Winfield at this time by Lovecraft, and it must come from a photograph taken in 1892[i]

Lovecraft stated to Maurice W. Moe (1931):

I can just recall his extremely precise and cultivated British voice ...[ii]

Lovecraft in this same letter admits he may have been influenced by family stories. 

“I suppose I heard people mentioning that my father was 'an Englishman'.”

Lovecraft stated to J. Vernon Shea (1934):

“I can just remember my father – an immaculate figure in black coat & vest & grey striped trousers.  I had a childish habit of slapping him on the knees & shouting, 'Papa, you look just like a young man!'  I don't know where I picked that phrase up; but I was vain & self-conscious, & given to repeating things which I saw tickled my elders.[iii]

It is once again implied that these are not 100% Lovecraft's memories, but clearly tainted by stories, and perhaps photographs. 

All we can tell is that during the first half of 1892, Winfield was home as often as possible, loved his son, and his son loved him.  It was a very normal situation, as far as can be determined.

Above, an 1892 newspaper illustration of
Louise Imogen Guiney.

Auburndale, Massachusetts

Auburndale in 1892

Lovecraft claimed that his mother and father moved to Auburndale and determined to make it their permanent residence.  A great deal of debate over this incident has heated up Lovecraft scholarship with notables such as John McInni, Kenneth W Faig, Jr, S, T, Joshi, and L. Sprague de Camp weighing in on this matter.  This writer wades into this debate with trepidation.  What more can be said?

Through unprecedented access to antiquarian documents, this writer believes that the Lovecrafts did stay in”Auburndale”, and with the Guineys for part of that time, and likely secured a lot that can perhaps be identified.  However, to make all of these claims, a great deal of contextual circumstance has to be discussed, and many previously held theories of scholarship modified.

Above a very early image of Auburn Street in Auburndale, Massachusetts,
very close to the time that the Guineys and the Lovecraft were there.[i]

Auburndale, Massachusetts was a village of 2,000 people,[i] within the auspices of the town of Newton.  It was a very quick train ride out from Boston via the Boston & Albany Railroad which passed through it.

Guiney lived on Vista Avenue[ii], between Woodland Avenue and Aspen Avenue.  The Guineys are listed in the Blue Book and other reference guides of that era.  There is not a shadow of doubt the Guineys lived in “Auburndale”.  However, what is now to be discussed is that it was not really Auburndale.

S. T. Joshi stated that “She first moved to Auburndale with her mother after she graduated from the Sacred Heart in 1879”[iii].  This may be in question, as a recent historical walking tour declares that she only moved to Auburndale permanently in 1885, though it does not cite a reference.  There is an 1891 newspaper article that is of some concern, and is reproduced below.  1877 obituaries list Patrick R. Guiney as having died in Boston, and an 1873 Boston House directory shows him at 48 E Brookline, in Boston.  However, we are sure that by 1891, after her return from England, that she resided in Auburndale permanently.

[i]       From Where to Stop: The Best Hotels of the World, 1894-1895.  ed. Moses King, self-published in Boston, mass. p. 136.  The population is listed as 2,000.  In the tables from The Chronicle of Fire Tables, 1893, The Chronicle Company, NY.  Dudley is listed with a population of 2,944 (p. 275).  Auburndale is not listed.  Compare Newton (p. 285) with a population of 24,379.  Essentially, Auburndale was a village within the auspices of Newton, Mass.  (This is explicitly stated in the Anthony's Standard Business Directory, 1898-1899 p. 103.  See excerpt below.

      Charmingly located we find this handsome city of residences variously situated from 6 to n miles from Boston on the Boston and Albany Railroad bounded on the east by the Brighton district of Boston on the southeast by the West Roxbury district of Boston on the southwest by Needham and Wellesley on the west by Weston on the north by Waltham and Watertown It contains the villages of Auburndale Chestnut Hill Newton Centre Newton Highlands Newton Lower Falls Newtonville Newton Upper Falls Nonantum Oak Hill Riverside Thompsonville Waban and West Newton Newton is the one hundred and twenty ninth city of importance in the United States The whole city is most picturesque being laid out more like a park than a city Its delightful drives are unsurpassed Its Indian name Nonantum signifies a place of rejoicing In 1630 it was a part of Cambridge or New Town as it was then called Founded a town December 15 1691 Incorporated a city June 2 1S73 Population state census 1885 19,739 United States census 1890 24,379 state census 1895 27,590
[ii]      As listed in King's Handbook of Newton, Mass., ed. M. F. Sweetser, Moses King Corp, Boston, 1889.  p. 208.
[iii]   S T Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, Necronomicon Press, 1996, p. 12  There is a chance this uncited note comes from the Famous American Women: A Biographical Dictionary {etc}, Robert McHenry, 1980, page 170, “Guiney, Louise Imogen … Louise Guiney was educated at Elmhurst … on graduating in 1879 she rejoined her family in Auburndale...”. Massachusetts.  The death of her father two years earlier had left them in poverty … 

Woodland Park?

But was it really “Auburndale”?  Times were changing.  Boston was expanding, which meant the suburban areas, such as Newton, were also expanding.  Rail service and trolleys were making rapid transit routine.

Whenever the Guineys established full residency in Auburndale, it was certainly by early 1891.  Their neighbor was the wealthy owner of the Boston Globe who owned much of the area between Vista Hill and the elite hotel for Blue Bloods, the Woodland Park Hotel.  Here is a lengthy quote from the King's Handbook of Newton (1889):

Woodland, sometimes called Woodland Park, has only within a few years begun to be recognized as a distinct village, as one of the fifteen villages which collectively make up the incorporated city of Newton. Woodland is still to most people only a part of Auburndale, but it promises in time to work out for itself a clearly defined village, the forerunners of which are the pretty station and the famous hotel of the same name.
Woodland station is a quaint and cosey little structure of Braggville granite and brownstone, finished inside in spruce in its natural colors, and cypress. About it are pleasant and extensive grounds, with a pretty pond, fed by a never-failing spring.
Less than a mile from Auburndale station, by the lovely Woodland Avenue, and about half a mile from Woodland station, on the Circuit Railway, is the chief public house of Newton, the Woodland-Park Hotel, wellsecluded from the adjacent rural roads, and standing on an elevated plain, with a charming view of the far-away Blue Hills of Milton. It is a handsome Queen-Anne building of considerable size, with abundance of picturesque dormers, gables, and verandas. The entrance hall is thirty feet square, with heavy ceiling beams overhead, and floors and wainscots and a grand stairway of quartered oak; and from thence the visitor may pass into the airy and comfortable dining-room; or the richly-furnished parlor, with its interesting paintings; or enter upon the road to the billiard-room; or ascend the stairway to the three stories of chambers overhead. The hotel was erected in 1881-82 by Messrs. Haskell, Pulsifer, and Andrews, of the Boston Herald, and Mr. Frederick Johnson, as a suburban boardingplace, near one of the fairest and most comfortable of Massachusetts villages. The climate of this locality (like that of Wellesley Hills, a few miles to the westward) is very beneficial in certain diseases of the throat and lungs, too common in Boston; and several of the best physicians of the New-England metropolis have been in the habit of advising their patients to go to Florida or Auburndale, during the inclement seasons of the year. The sanitarium thus formed by genial climatic influences, a fortunate isle of safety in a wild sea of wintry east winds, naturally became in due time fashionable, a little Massachusetts Nice or Mentone. The first lessee and present proprietor of the house is Joseph Lee, a Virginian, sometime a butler in the United-States Navy, who has won a renown extending over four counties, for the ingenious excellence and variety of his cookery, a form of carnal temptation to which the most Browningesque and Theosophic of Bostonians are peculiarly susceptible. It is averred that Mr. Lee serves the only genuine Philadelphia chicken croquettes and dressed terrapin in all New England.
At certain seasons of the year, the assassin-like Spring and the perilous late Autumn, the hotel fills up with families from the Back Bay, the Faubourg St. Germain of Boston, whose delicate residents find security here from throat and lung troubles, and an environment of good manners and correct genealogies, while still within a half-hour's ride of their tall redbrick or brownstone homes. Mr. Howells has spent several long seasons here, and perhaps amid such favorable surroundings made the preliminary studies for his Bromfield Corey and the Rev. Mr. Sewell and Miss Vane. Of course, no Silas Lapham could have entered those Queen-Anne portals; and as to Bartley Hubbard or Lemuel Barker,— we regret to say that all our rooms are engaged for the season.
Mr. Howells has used the fortunate term, " Short Hills," to denominate this region of bold knolls and sharp little ravines; and it seems more than likely that before many years shall have passed, it will become as beautiful artistically as the famous Short Hills of New Jersey.

On the high knoll of Vista Hill rises the mansion of Edwin B. Haskell, for a long time one of the three fortunate owners of the Boston Herald, and for twenty-five years editor of that paper, who has assembled here a rare treasury of fine paintings, including a portrait of his daughter, by Makart, the great Austrian artist, and fine examples of Gabriel Max, Diaz, Defregger, Lambinet, Vedder, Hunt, and other masters. From this high place may be seen points in sixteen towns, with Bunker Hill, the Blue Hills of Milton, and many another famous landmark of Massachusetts. The mansion on this lofty mound of glacial drift was built about the year 1870, by Ezra D. Winslow, and passed into the possession and occupancy of Mr. Haskell two years later.

Opposite Vista Hill, on Vista Avenue, is the home of the famous young poet, Louise Imogen Guiney, daughter of the late General Guiney, of the Massachusetts infantry in the Secession War. Near by, on the same avenue, are the handsome estates of Messrs. Deming, C. S. Roberts, and H. A. Priest.[i]

Above, this writer has superimposed  upon a 2011 Google map
characteristics and places that existed in circa 1892.

Above, a composite map from a 1907 Newton Atlas.

Antique ward maps exist from 1886 that show Auburndale as it was then.  As archaeologists know, place names and roads are some of the most unchanging geographic and sociological characteristics barring war or structural damage.  Between 1886 and 2011, Auburndale's street names and locations are nearly identical, and many of the same structures still exist.  For instance, the Boston and Albany Railroad tracks seem to have been acquired by the current Massachusetts Turnpike, but its contours are very similar.  The Charles River seems somewhat displaced, and the area between Vista Hill and the old Woodland Park Hotel has seen renovation erasing a few features.  A 1907 map of Newton, Massachusetts, also helps understand the area, although by then, the Guineys had left the area.

A Brief History of the Development of Woodland Park within Auburndale, a suburb of Newton.

In 1869, landowner Edward D, Winslow owned the land we see between the boundaries of Hawthorne Avenue, Washington Street, Woodland Avenue, and Aspen Avenue.[i]  His architects and planners designed most of the are, although there was already a grand home on Vista Hill.  In the late 1870's, Edwin Haskell, co-owner of the Boston Glode acquired this home, and expanded it.  Windslow created the features of Vista, Studio, and Forest, and including the never built Bellevue Court.  By 1886, there were houses lining the eastern side of Vista Avenue, the Guineys' home being one of them, though there is evidence it was originally a summer home, and they lived in Boston.  In 1882, a large hotel for exclusive patrons was created – the Woodland Park Hotel.

It appears that stating in the mid-1880's, land developers such as Winslow and Haskell, were beginning to consider the ramifications of rapid mass transit.  The wealthy elite of that era saw that they could sequester their families in the far off suburb of Auburndale and still have easy access to Newton and Boston, but they sought to carve out a special location for themselves to be known as Woodland Park.  This is not much different than Whipple V. Phillips and Joseph Bannigan's decision to seclude themselves on Angell Street in Providence. In fact, this writer suggests that this is indeed the attraction of relocating from Dorchester to the new Woodland Park for the Lovecrafts.  Susan was a wealthy heiress, and her son was the heir apparent as no one else in the family yet had children.  Winfield, whether he found a new stationary job in Boston, or continued to travel for some time, would feel comfortable getting on the Boston-Albany and gain access to any major city in the nation.

There is little doubt that this particular neighborhood, which we might call the Guiney neighborhood, was profoundly elite.  Lovecraft stated, “I distinctly recall the quiet shady suburb as I saw it in 1892 - & it is a rather curious psychological fact at this early age I was impressed most of all with the railway bridge & the four-tracked Boston & Albany road which extended beneath it ...”[ii]”.  Historicity is on Lovecraft's side.  The maps and few renaming images show precisely what he stated in intimate detail.  The route down Vista Avenue, and probably Woodland Avenue to the train tracks, or over to the train station via another route would have been attractive in the late Summer and early Fall.  It could have been in a stroller, or it could have been by horse-drawn “cab”, or both.

Lovecraft was not always correct in his recollections of Auburndale, and this writer will discuss those elements, but by and large he got it right.  This is uncanny, as there is no record of the Lovecrafts returning for many, many years.  The quiet 1892 image was engraved in the Phillips family mythology.  Still, guards must be raised.  Much of Lovecraft's recitations appear “canned”, that is similar for each person he writes to, and similar over many decades.  He is working from a well rehearsed script, and that script derived from the Phillips family mythology superimposed upon his own memories, however fleeting.  Below, some controversies will be discussed, but a general scenario can be constructed.

Winfield was traveling as a salesman, probably for Gorham Silver.  Once the baby came, Dorchester was not working out for whatever reason, and word reached them that Woodland Park was a perfect place for “people like them”, or at least like Susan.  Winfield was likely acting erratic, sometimes pompous, sometimes warm and loving.  In his pompous moments this was probably sloughed off as “British” which Susan obviously adored.  It is highly unlikely she knew what was coming, and thought of these days as idyllic.

Dudley was a small vacation for Susan, and may have given enough time for research.  If they came back to Dorchester, they had already decided o Auburndale.   The Charles River was being built up for concerts, canoeing, and everything a rugged little boy like Howard could want.  There were very powerful people nearby, and best of all, Susan knew someone who already lived there:  her old friend[iii] Louise Imogen Guiney who was now becoming regionally famous.  Perhaps in Susan's mind she thought that here was someone who could converse about French literature.  Guiney was a women's rights activist, and a temperance follower, as was Susan and their family.

There may have been a small issue, however.  This writer has uncovered several possible rental facilities, and while Susan had a significant dowry, no doubt, the family still had to be frugal.  Clippings are reproduced below.  The hotel seems to have been booked solid.  However, a few inquiries later, the Guineys were an option until the hotel freed up – or another rental came available.  Contra that the Lovecrafts stayed with Guiney is to be discussed later, below.

Above, location is a perfect ten miles from Boston;'s heart.
It was an elite location, but Susan should have had no problem entering.

Above, there is a problem.  Summer of 1892 was booked up tight.
From the "Moses Handbook of Newton, Fall".
What would the Lovecrafts do?

Hmm, maybe a Rental House?

Hmm, who to rent from?  So many choices.

Above are rental homes for the Summer or longer periods.
Were these options?  It appears not.

Contra:  The Lovecrafts Did Not Stay at the Guineys.
After much consideration, this writer believes the Lovecrafts stayed for a brief time at the Guineys, and then relocated to another home, or to the hotel a few blocks away on Washington Street.  Clearly not everyone in Lovecraft scholarship believed this in the past, nor do they now.  Much weight was given to Lovecraft's memories during the examination fo this period – probably more than should have been – until L. Sprague de Camp made an astonishing discovery – that Louise Guiney hated boarders.  In fact, de Camp believed that specifically, Guiney hated the Lovecrafts.  This will be discussed below.  Then, just as that was sinking in with Lovecraft scholars, after the publication of de Camp's biography of HPL, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr reread the same letters that de Camp read, and made an even more spectacular discovery.  The people who Guiney hated were Germans.
Scholars scrutinized Guiney's letters, but no, there was no mention of Lovecrafts.  Did absence of evidence mean evidence of absence?  This writer took advantage of unprecedented access to contemporary newspaper articles on Guiney and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.  A week by week check was done on Guiney, and somewhat on Holmes.  The Lovecrafts could not have picked a more hectic period to visit Guiney.  She was tied to a rocket to stardom, and was constantly writing, lecturing, and making visits to people.  She would be in the midst of a media blitz, and notably,  her new play would make world headlines when it opened in Boston.  If they saw Louise Guiney, it was fleeting between September 1892 and April 1893.  Yet, this writer discovered that Guiney adored children, often allowed guests into the home, and indeed took individuals to visit Holmes – who also absolutely adored Guiney and by all accounts granted her every wish, few that there were.  No mention of Lovecrafts, yet historicity is again on HPL's side.  He simply could not have made up details this intricate.  Nor could Susan have stalked Guiney and created these myths from fiction and passed them on to little Howard.  A stalker most likely would have come up in Guiney's correspondence, or have been known to her friends.  There is evidence that Susan made more of the visit that was warranted, though, and after Winfield's breakdown, it may have been the one crowning star in an otherwise ruined life.. 
Lovecraft as a Gifted Child

It seems apparent from his life, his friends', his teachers' and relatives’ observations that two year old Lovecraft would today be considered a "gifted child" with an IQ in excess of 140.  In almost all cases this presents a significant challenge to parents in any era.  The Phillips family was wealthy at the time of Lovecraft’s birth, and Howard had access to any means of education available.  In the fin de siecle culture of New England, Providence had the most revered educational system, and Boston not far behind it.  In addition, the Phillips family had a long tradition of educating children - Whipple and Lillian both taught for a period of time.  Arguably, Susan would have understood quickly how gifted Howard was, and would theoretically grasp the consequences.  However, then and now, gifted children present a wide range of emotional issues to themselves and their parents.

There are a myriad of books, studies, and forums to assist with parents of gifted children, so only one selection somewhat similar to HPL's recollection is presented here.

"… my 26 month old son is gifted … walked at 9 months … started running a couple of months later … says hundreds of words and sometimes uses five or six word sentences. … has always had a very long attention span for things that interest him. And he has been able to build an 8-10 block tower for about 5 months now. … Emotionally, he is very social, sweet and affectionate. He is a total ham and loves to show off and entertain an audience. He is also very curious and is constantly asking me "What's that?" …  he almost always remembers what I said. The only negatives are that he can be very bossy and demanding at times. He is very prone to tantrums and has very little patience. But I guess that isn't that unusual for his age. … To start, he can count to about 14 …  He also recognizes numbers from 1 to 10 by sight. He can recognize about 80-90% of the alphabet by sight (capital letters only). He LOVES the alphabet and has recognized many letters for at least 5 months.. … "[i]

Lovecraft made many mentions of his early childhood, but these are usually only loosely datable.  For instance in a letter to Edwin Baird [1007] he stated of himself, "…At the time, indeed, young Lovecraft showed signs of considerable literary progress.  Ever a nervous child, he began linguistic experiments at shortly after one, knew his Anglo-Roman alphabet at two, and at 2.5 was wont to astonish the suburban throng … with poetic recitations from the dizzy eminence of a table's top."  Lovecraft was at 26 months in late October 1892.  These two stories 13 years apart compel comparisons.

The next issue is the concept of historicity.  Historians, folklorists, and other scholarly theorists have come to realize that oral history of the type Lovecraft is reciting in his letters is quite fluid and adaptable.  In the Baird context, Lovecraft is spinning the facts a bit to goad and intrigue Baird, but it seems he was being essentially factual – to the best of his ability – to recite the stories handed down to him, and the vaguest of recollections he had of those early days.

Events told and retold in a community tend to become formalized and structured.  Loose stories latch onto other events to fix them for both the story teller and the fascinated listener.  In this case, Winfield was out of Lovecraft's life in 1893, and he had only his mother to tell and reinforce his own memories.  How accurate was she?  There are numerous questions about this very issue by scrutinizing Lovecraft scholars.

How does an historian extract fact from a story?  It is not necessarily easy when no objective data exists.  A community that has an agenda will take a free floating story and reshape it in such a way that it sounds extremely historical and accurate to listeners and readers.  When a legend is cast, it necessarily appears to be from the time in which it is represented, and this is known as having historicity.  Lovecraft's stories about Dudley and Auburndale, Massachusetts of 1892 and 1893 have a strong ring of historicity, but did they happen?  Lovecraft scholars are not sure.

Up until now, it appears that only John McInnis, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, and Lyon Sprague Decamp have had the most to say on this subject.  It was McInnis who uncovered many of the medical records of Winfield Scott Lovecraft, and de Camp who discovered seemingly pertinent letters of Louise Imogen Guiney.  However, it is Faig who has worked on this conundrum most recently and come to some sobering conclusions.

de Camp’s Discovery

In the mid-1960’s 1234 the science fiction stalwart, Lyon Sprague de Camp was reaching a point in his professional life where he was becoming nostalgic for the fantasy fiction of his youth, but also realizing that the field of SciFi was beginning to drift.  Together with another fantasy fan enthusiast, and professional editor, Lin Carter, they began to discuss how they might revisit the old Weird Tales fiction -  without crossing paths with the dynamic August Derleth, and they plotted a revolutionary idea.  They were to bring back reprinted fiction of Robert E Howard - and others - and expand upon it.  This innovative concept became known as Sword and Sorcery.  Branching out from this, de Camp determined to write an autobiography of Lovecraft.

On the surface, this seemed to fill a gap that had never been done in mass publication.  De Camp was a strong writer, and he quickly got the tacit help of many fans of the era.    Collectors allowed him access to information,a nd he collected many items to include.  The result was unanticipated, as de Camp treated Lovecraft in a lackluster manner offending many fans who wished to purchase the book, and he uncharacteristically did sloppy theorizing. 

On aspect of his diligence was to uncover several letters of the then obscure poet, Imogen Louise Guiney to her freind Day, and discovered that she and her mother not only rented their home to boarders, but that Guiney was embarrasssed and offended by allowing people into her home. 

For many decades, this theory carried the day, that the Lovecrafts were unwanted barbarrians, at least until the more careful researcher, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr. reviewed the letter archives and found that de Camp had either inadverntently, or purposely omitted a key phrase - the boarders in summer of 1892 were Germans.  This was apparently not known when Professor McInnis postulated his thesis based on Lovecraft’s story The Colour Out of Space and presented at the Centennial conference.

McInnis’ Guiney Thesis on Lovecraft’s Early Life

McInnis believed that Lovecraft’s fiction revealed a great deal about his psychological and was to an extent autobiographical.  This seemed on the surface a very worthy theory.  However, a number of ideas were based on research errors, and notably that of de Camp’s presumed discovery that had not yet been discredited. 

There is still much merit in McInnis’ research paper.  He stated, “Miss Guney’s successive demotion of the Lovecraft family from ‘heathen’ to ‘inmates’ to ‘unmentionables’ may be indicative of the steadily worsening behavior of the elder Lovecraft during this seven-week period, a time span which falls well within the ‘year past’ mentioned in Winfield Lovecraft’s medical record.”  Since the Lovecrafts seemed to be in Dudley, Massachusetts in this period, and the letter record is not about the Lovecrafts, we are left with no witness by Guiney for summer of 1892.  We may have some witness of Guiney for the winter of 1892-1893 which will be discussed below.

Faig’s Discrediting of the “Guiney Theory”

It is difficult to imagine the hundreds of hours of Mr. Faig’s time that has been put into unveiling the many mysteries of the Phillips and Lovecraft family genealogies, and of the hidden life of H. P. Lovecraft.  On one of those occassions, Faig revisited the letters of Day to Guiney 1234, and subsequently revealed de Camp’s error.


He also posited a very plausible historical recreation of how Guiney and Susan Lovecraft first met.   Quote reference

Imogen Louise Guiney:  December 1892

What did the visitor see when they entered the Guiney home?  We do not have a fulldescription from 1892, but we do have one from 1899, and it must have remained very similar.

Miss Guiney's study which inspired the poem, "Sanctuary",—
High above Hate I dwell,
O storms, fareweU!—

first arrested one's attention, by a peculiar paradox, with the implements of war. Here were sword and spurs and other accoutrements of the cavalry service, belonging, as she hastened to inform me, to her father who had been a brigadier general in the Civil War. She was born to the tradition of drumbeat and sword-flash, and recalling "The Wild Ride", "The Knight-Errant", "The Kings", "The Vigil-atArms", I saw why she used the symbolism of battle and why she could pack so much valor into a line. Nevertheless I recalled more happily those fine lines in "Sanctuary" where storms are
Winnowed into silence on that wind Which takes wars like a dust and leaves but love behind.
All about us was the evidence of that recondite scholarship which distinguished Miss Guiney: mediaeval books, archaic books, Latin poetry, early Italian and French poetry, early English poetry, and finally many rare volumes and souvenirs of those nearer to our time, particularly of Keats. First editions of some of the volumes, manuscript letters, a copy of Severn's drawing of the head, inscribed to her, if I remember correctly, by Laurence Hutton, a copy of the death mask, and many other things were embraced in the collection whose most personal feature was a lock of Keats's hair given her by a grandniece of the poet, then living in Spain. Miss Guiney linked this red-gold lock somewhat amusingly with the moderns by telling me that it was so identically the color of Bliss Carman's hair that when she tested the exactitude she would certainly have lost it had she not held firmly to the original! She told me that she had willed her Keats collection, as well as that of Stevenson and others, to the Bodleian Library, for she was already making those pilgrimages to England which resulted in a final residence there; and later, in one of my visits to her in Oxford, I found that these treasures had already been delivered to the library as she was moving about too much for their safety.

Below is an excerpt showing that Guiney enjoyed visitors, and they enjoyed her.  The recollection is most likely from the eve of 1901[i].

The Bookman, Volume 52, February 1921, Vol. LII, No.6
The Charm of Louise Imogen Guiney by Jessie B. Rittenhouse.
“You will find me on Vista Avenue, off Woodland Road, in Auburndale,” she had written, and here I was, on a crisp winter morning, setting out from Boston to visit the first poet I had ever seen in the flesh. I had reached Boston only a night or two before, without an acquaintance in the old city which was still the awesome court of American letters; had reached there at a most dramatic moment, when the people were thronging the Common, and processions with torches were filing up Beacon Hill to the State House where a trumpeter in mediaeval costume was announcing—not the New Year but the New Century! I look back upon it as a romantic ruling of events that, having made the impractical hazard of poetic criticism as a life work, I was impelled to cast myself upon Boston with the tide of the new century.
… when I arrived at the little station indicated, I was struggling with the fact that this sylvan deity who lived on Vista Avenue off Woodland Road was at one and the same time the village postmistress of Auburndale!   … I made my way, after numerous inquiries, to the small house under a sheltering bank, and was shown into a booklined room, fairly impregnated with literary atmosphere. Miss Guiney was at the post office but was expected at any moment—she had left word for me to wait. I was seated in a comfortable chair and left alone to glance at the books and pictures and to fall into a day dream, so that I did not notice the door open and a friend of Miss Guiney—for it could not be she—stand before me. Doubtless, I thought, this exquisite creature is some house-guest who has come to help me beguile the time, for she was young and gay as spring and came lightly into the room with her hand on the head of a great Saint Bernard dog  … Miss Guiney had a beauty as distinctive as her work, with the dark-blue eyes, chestnut hair, and fresh color of the Celt, and the delicate and sensitive features of one who lives with the finer emotions and has an eager joy in life. She was vivacious and companionable  … Here were sword and spurs and other accoutrements of the cavalry service, belonging, as she hastened to inform me, to her father who had been a brigadier general in the Civil War.  … All about us was the evidence of that recondite scholarship which distinguished Miss Guiney: mediaeval books, archaic books, Latin poetry, early Italian and French poetry, early English poetry, and finally many rare volumes and souvenirs of those nearer to our time, particularly of Keats.
Not long after my visit to her, Miss Guiney and her mother moved back into Boston, her official period being over, and ensconced themselves in a "dear little dingy house" on Pinckney Street. Here she spent a year or so … translating from early Italian and French texts and becoming, in so far as she would permit herself, the centre of a small but characteristically Bostonian group. She was the especial favorite of Mrs. James T. Fields and of Sara Orne Jewett, then living with her …
Next comes a pericope that may help us understand Guiney's coping mechanism with guests,
It was Mrs. Moulton who characterized her most aptly at the time as "a slight, blue-eyed girl, delicate as a wild rose and elusive as a thistledown"; for with all her arts of enchantment, she knew well how to escape from exactions and had in her something of the fay, so that even the closest friend could never feel quite sure that she would not vanish like a sprite when she should be most palpable. It was this spiritual defense, which most of us are too compliant to exercise, that kept her from being absorbed in the currents which would have swept her away from her essential self

Below is a newspaper report that mentions in passing that the Miss Guiney received visitors with charm and grace.  It's hard to believe that this might have given an open invitation to the Lovecrafts, but that they did experience her warmth.  Taken in context, Lovecraft's memories are just one more example reinforcing what all found in Guiney's public demeanor.

The article above is from the 7 December 1892 Boston Daily Globe. 
The reporter is unnamed, and the internal language
appears to indicate that this is derived from a close eyewitness
and friend of Guiney. 
Beyond that we can make no other determination.

Note the phrases, “any caller at the pretty little house”, and “cordial greeting from the gracious, scholarly looking lady and her sweet-natured mother”.  By all accounts this is a quite accurate view of both women at this time, though Guiney herself could be fiery at times.

In scientific process there are two standards that apply.  Occam's razor states that the simplest solution is invariably the correct one.  In this case, the Lovecrafts did visit Guiney.

In science and history, when there is factual data one can prove a positive fact, but in the absence of data one cannot prove a negative.  In the absence of either positive or negative facts, historians use the weight of coincidence and context.  This is sometimes referred to as historicity.  If it sounds similar, if it does not contradict other eyewitness data, then there is a high probability of truth and accuracy.

In the articles above, the Lovecrafts are not mentioned by name, but we can't prove that they were not there based on this evidence alone, nor can we prove they were there. 

Here is an example.  In one instance, in 1901, Guiney is connected with her beloved St. Bernard dogs.  The newspaper article does not mention them.  It is very likely that Guiney's dogs resided at the house, yet they are not mentioned.  It would be absurd to make a conclusion that the dogs were at a kennel when the newspaper reporter visited.  It is too convoluted of a theory with absolutely no evidence to support it.  No, they were there just unmentioned.  Of course a woman and a child are not dogs, but unless evidence precludes that the Lovecrafts and the Guineys met, and were guests, we conclude it happened.  However, there are significant periods of time that the Lovecrafts could not have seen or conversed with Guiney, particularly from mid-December into January.  Probability indicates that the Lovecrafts were already elsewhere, and their stay may have only been a very short time, with a later connection to meet Holmes.  Data will be discussed below.

Could Guiney Have Taken the Lovecrafts to See Holmes?

This writer checked the letters of Guiney that were available in online records.  This letter confirms the historicity of Lovecraft's claim, and happened no more than four years previous.  It shows that these were Providence schoolmates, and she fulfilled “an old promise” and took them to see Dr. Holmes.

Mar. 25th, 1889.
How do you do, Margaret dear? and here is a rose to find out for me. Do you remember my little friends the Fallon children, whom I brought to see you once?  We dined with their father and mother yesterday; and your namesake (who dwindled to a Daisy) sent you her love, and hopes to have another sight of you when she comes out to say good-bye to these sea-going folk over here. Last Saturday I met two young "old"schoolmates of mine, nineteen and sixteen, in town, and took them to see Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, fulfilling an old promise.
Compare Lovecraft's statement:

“Oliver Wendell Holmes came not infrequently to this [Guiney's] menage, and on one occasion (unremembered by the passenger) is said to have ridden the future Weird Tales disciple on his venerable knee.[i]

Unfortunately this is not “smoking gun” proof, but it is as close as scholars will likely ever get.  Whether Guiney took the Lovecrafts to Holmes, or (less likely) that Holmes visited Guiney, the circumstantial evidence leans to Lovecraft's accuracy.  This writer found no incidents that Holmes visited Guiney, but that they sometimes met at meetings and other activities.  Holmes would likely be swamped on the streets as he was one of the most popular figures in American life at this time.

On 16 January 1894, we have this letter from Guiney to a correspondent.  It leans less toward Guiney and Holmes meeting as often as Lovecraft believes.  This is approximately one year from when the Lovecrafts purported to stay with Guiney, and yet Holmes stated how long it had been.  This writer has not yet determined when the play was given, but one suspects it must have been in Boston at Christmas season.

Mr. Irving and Miss Terry have been in town a month. I sat the other afternoon, close to Miss Sarah Orne Jewett, Mrs. Fields, and Dr. Holmes; the latter with a rose in his coat, and a smile to match it. The play was "Henry the Eighth."  The Dr., as usual, spied me, with a jest. "You little Golden Guinea I haven't seen you since the Plantagenets went under!" He is Mr. Gladstone's age, almost to the exact date; and has universal suffrage to live forever, like god Lyaeus, ever young. Health, and an early spring, and perfect comfort
Guiney in December 1892:  No Lovecrafts

There is grave concern that there is no mention of Lovecrafts in the many and copious reports from December 1892.  It was non-stop for Guiney, and many opportunities to mention them.  They are not.  We have already seen the article, above, which for convenience will be again reproduced.

The article above is from the 7 December 1892 Boston Daily Globe.

Below is a letter of some merit.  It details most of the period of 20 December through the schedule of the week after New Years.  No Lovecrafts to be seen.

To Mrs, Frederick H. Briggs
26th December, 1892. {Monday}
            You are a dear Ada, and I am yours forever; and no help for it. The gloves are beautiful, and useful, too, to a cove who runs through clothes of all sorts at shortest notice. Please tell Aunt Mary Briggs that we all vote her considerably more than her weight in gold for sending that delicious box, both astronomical and decorative.
            I have to confess that the grapes fell, almost without reserve, to me; but then, I had so bad a throat that I could eat nothing else for my Christmas dinner. The mistletoe is hung where it is feasible to catch one coy Missis Guiney on her way up-stairs ! Thank you both, with a tiger ; and many a Happy New Year be upon your heads.
            I told you, didn't I ? that I was pickpocketed last Wednesday {21 December 1892 – this writer's addition} evening? Yea, robbed at one fell swoop of a vast, unique literary crop : fourteen dollars ! I had some fun, however, in a dark alley back of The Arena, alone with my tough, whom I chased, and, I verily believe, would have caught, had it not been for a very clever trick on the part of his pals. Well, I hope the grog to which I unwillingly treated them tasted choice.
            I have just promised Miss Aldrich, if nothing adverse headed me off, to dine with her on January 8th, Sunday. Will you come down with us, afterward, to call upon Janet Edmondson Walker, mere and Katharine Walker, fille on Huntington Ave., where they pleasantly hold forth o' Sabbath evenings? "You" is plural, with an eye to Brother Briggs. K. W. was my schoolmate, though much younger; has bright auburn locks ; knows French of France ; has an even temper and sweet manners; and can size up a joke. Her mother I love from crown to sole ; she is more of a girl, marry than her offspring. I know they will take to you; and I wish you might "spout" something for their delight, if you feel just like It.
            I had a letter this morning, which makes me suspect that you talked at J. Stetson, Esq., not in vain. I only hope Mildred Aldrich Is in luck, "by the same token."  He wants me to do EmIle Augier's "Le Manage d'Olymphe." Oh cracky! It is huge fun to make a living out of other folk's brains, especially when your own are not warranted to work eight hours a day. With love to that household from this.
            Yours ever,
            L. I. GUINEY.

Below is an article discussing the major work of Guiney and an associate, one Lovecraft scholars have not mentioned.  If anything would interest Susan Lovecraft it would be a work by Guiney, about French Literature.  It is highly likely that Holmes attended this – how could he stay away?  The Crust of Society not only wowed Boston, it made the road, and at each stop got either good reviews, and sometimes rave reviews.  This, as much as any poem, put Guiney on the map.  Yet, how could the Lovecrafts be fit into this impossible schedule.  It seems poignant that Guiney was mugged on the evening of her big debut, and in the struggle or amongst the crowd probably picked up her bad cold.

Of course, we must protest slightly.  We clearly know that day was present but he is not mentioned either.  However, all things being equal, it seems that the Lovecrafts were long gone to elsewhere the month of December.  January would be no better.

Lovecraft At The Train Station?

Lovecraft stated:

“I can see myself as a child of 2-1/2 on the railway bridge at Auburndale, Mass., looking across and downward at the business part of the town, and feeling the imminence of some wonder which I could neither describe nor fully conceive – and there has never been a subsequent hour of my life when kindred sensations have been absent.[i]

This is an incredible statement based on contemporary images.  One can look at the images reproduced here, and the maps, and there simply is now impressive downtown from any angle of Auburndale.  There were relatively few large buildings.  However, the Dudley Station shows some impressive views, but that is in Boston

His date is also impossible.  It would have been 20 February 1893 when Lovecraft turned 2-1/2.  It is not that Lovecraft couldn't have been train traveling at that time, but that was the month of a tremendous snowstorm.   The New York Times of 26 February 1893 reported over 40 inches of snow fall that month.  The Pittsburgh Press on 20 February 1893 reported zero and trains hopelessly snarled.  The Baltimore American of 18 February 1893 reported that a blizzard dropped 7 inches of snow, sleet, and hail.  That month was particularly brutal setting numerous New England records.  It would be unlikely that Susan would be pushing Howard through a blizzard, or large expanses of snow. 

We must conclude that “2-1/2” is a very rough guess, and could as easily represent April 1893.  If so, these feelings of foreboding would be perfectly in tune with the disaster that befell their family.  Susan's entire expression and demeanor would have impacted Howard, the child, in very traumatic ways.  Even a prodigy of 2 or 3 cannot comprehend the enormity of the suddenly and disastrous illness of their parent – but they can feel it.  The North Boston Train Station was not opened until 1893 (unknown month), and the Union Station was the only one of note for the Providence connection. 

Above, uncredited photographic image
of the mostly unchanged Auburndale station, modern era.

Above, vintage post card image
of the Auburndale station about 1907,
writer unknown.[i] 
It shows a few elevated vantage points. 

In the image above there is not a trace of a “downtown” of any prominence.  Maybe there is another possibility?

Above is the Dudley Train Station (to Dudley) in Boston, Massachusetts.  Note the vast urban landscape in the background.  One suspects that Susan and HPL would have went through Boston train stations such as this either to and from Dudley or Auburndale.  If one of these events followed some outburst by Winfield, or after the great tragedy of Winfield's collapse, then a foreboding could easily have manifested itself in the young, alert, and impressionable Howard.

For comparison,  Boston (South) Station fin de siecle.[i]

Winfield's Collapse

“In 1893 my father was seized with a complete paralytic stroke, due to insomnia and an overstrained nervous system, which took him to the hospital for the remaining five years of his life.  He was never afterward conscious, and my image of him is but vague.  This of course disrupted all plans for the future, caused the sale of the home site in Auburndale, and the return of my mother and myself to the Phillips home in Providence.”   {Selected Letters 1.6)

“In April 1893 my father was stricken with a complete paralysis resulting from a brain overtaxed with study & business cares.  He lived for five years at a hospital, but was never again able to move hand or foot, or to utter a sound.  This tragedy dissolved all plans for permanent settlement in Auburndale, & caused grief, my mother took me to the Phillips household, thereby causing me to grow up and complete Rhode-Islander.”  (Selected Letters 1.33, Kleiner 16 Nov 1916)

Written at nearly the same date to two close colleagues, Lovecraft is working from a formulaic phraseology.   The wording is nearly identical, and if not copying from a pre-written set of memoirs, these are well rehearsed statements.

Winfield's Madness

On 21 April 1893, Winfield Scott Lovecraft was visiting Chicago and his mind descended to madness.  It is with great fortune that Winfield's medical records were rescued and then preserved by M. Eileen McNamara in a small press edition of Lovecraft Studies[i].

Lovecraft alluded to Winfield's breakdown, but scholars do not know how much he actually knew of the details.  If he knew, he never revealed that his father had syphilis.  Winfield Townley Scott revealed this after his investigation many years after HPL died.  Consensus seems that HPL did not know that his father had the disease, nor did Susan or Howard contract it.

Previously Winfield Lovecraft's career was discussed, and it is this writer's thesis that by early 1892 Winfield was working for Gorham Silver[ii].  Several circumstantial instances seem to lean that way.  The most important was Sonia (Lovecraft's wife) reported in her memoir that Winfield worked for Gorham.  Most likely she received this information from Howard Lovecraft, but Lovecraft would have been dependent on oral family stories about this. 

This writer checked many copies of Jeweler's Circular Keystone (JCK), a significant newsletter that frequently discussed comings and goings of salesmen, jewelery store issues, and horological issues.  Frederick Lovecraft's death was mentioned, and many, many salesmen were listed on many matters, but none about Winfield Lovecraft.  Local Boston and suburban Boston directories were consulted with no information about Winfield.  Newspapers were consulted, and while many hotel registrations of Winfield were listed, none were found for 1890-1893. 

None of this is conclusive for two reasons.  The first is that if he were a Gorham employee, it would be highly unlikely that they would allow their internal matters discussed in JCK.  Secondly, the extant issues do not cover the entire time period, so Winfield's name may surface with more research.  Conversely, there is every reason for Winfield to have traveled to Chicago[iii] for Gorham.  Contemporary 1880's newspapers confirm that Winfield traveled to Detroit and Chicago as part of some western territory he patrolled.  In addition,  Gorham was at business war with Tiffany's and had staked their marketing strategy on the upcoming 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago.  The show was so massive, that it began construction a few years earlier, and Gorham had frequent on site presence during the construction phase, as well as throughout the show.  Numerous employees were needed for various functions, and Winfield could easily have been tapped to be part of the upcoming show.

(Above, from the Massachusetts newspaper The Southbridge Journal
is a local paper that residents of Dudley, mass. Could easily have obtained
and often listed Dudley news)

In any event, Winfield was in Chicago on Friday, 21 April 1893.  The phrasing of the doctor report is interesting, “He continued his business, however, until Apr. 21, when he broke down completely while stopping in Chicago.”  One can read this as a routine situation, that his business involved travel and Chicago was simply a stopping point.  This fits the historicity of a traveling salesperson.  Background research is shown below.

The incident of Winfield's collapse was violent.  “... he broke down completely … he rushed from his {hotel} room shouting that a chambermaid had insulted him, and that certain men were outraging his wife in the room above.  He was extremely noisy and violent for two days, but was finally quieted by free use of bromides...”.[i]    It is not known whether Susan was actually present.  It seems unliekly, but she may have been.  If not, she was quickly contacted by telegram and it seems highly likely she turned the matter over to her father, Whipple V. Phillips. 

Apparently hotel management and local security apprehended Winfield and put him under emergency care no later than Sunday, 23 April 1893.  In that time, Whipple must have made contact by telephone and/or telegram and by aid of family physician Wilcox, Winfield was relocated to Providence's Butler Hospital no later than Friday, 28 April 1893.  If Winfield were put in a special car on Monday, 24 April 1893, in Chicago, one suspects he made it to Providence by late Wednesday, 26 April 1893.

The next entry we have is dated Friday 28 April 1893, “Until last night patient has been quiet … broke out violently toward this morning – rushed up and down the ward shouting and attacked watchman...”.  This continued the enxt day, “violent and noisy .. hallucinations … men … trying to do violence to his wife ...”.  By 15 May 1893 no change is listed, only bouts of quietude interspersed with violence, and hallucinations.

The article below shows that on 14 February 1891 that Winfield stopped at the Tremont House hotel.  In Chicago Daily Tribune, 14 February 1891.

Below a typical article in the JCK periodical, this one for 1 March 1983 only six weeks before Winfield's collapse.  Gorham and Tiffany's were literally head to head in their building.  It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this exposition for Gorham, and their published expenditure was extraordinary.  This allows that Winfield and many other agents circulated into and through Chicago on behalf of the upcoming show, and perhaps taking pre-show orders by the book full.

“Pompous Englishman” and “Weak Sister”.

While the Myra H. Blosser letter to Winfield Townley Scott (WTS) is safely at the John Hay Library (JHL), it remains unpublished.  It appears that a few scholars have accessed it, or at least have alluded to it – notably S. T. Joshi (STJ) and Kenneth W Faig, Jr (KWF).  Of course, WTS had full access to it when he wrote his biographical sketch in the 1940's.  This sketch has been reproduced a few times, by Derleth, by Peter Cannon, and by Scott in his 1961 book.

In modern times, only STJ and KWF versions have been available, and even then in very limited access.  KWF first published “Lovecraft's Parental Heritage” in Books at Brown, 1991-1992 after delivering his lecture at a Lovecraft centennial conference.  This has only recently been reprinted in a book The Unknown Lovecraft (2009)[i], however his footnote from 1991 has been somewhat truncated in the new book.   Both versions are reproduced here. 

Books at Brown
1991-1992                                                                 The Unknown Lovecraft
“Lovecraft's Parental History”                           “Lovecraft's Parental History”
pp. 58-59

“The recorded portraits of Lovecraft's parents   “The recorded portraits of Lovecraft's parents
from the lips of Albert A. Baker                         from the lips of Albert A. Baker
are a characterization of the father as a              are a characterization of the father as a
“pompous Englishman” and of the mother          “pompous Englishman” and of the mother
as a “weak sister”.  [footnote 29]                     as a “weak sister”.  [footnote 12]
[29] “In His Own Most Famous Creation               [12]“In His Own Most Famous Creation
Winfield Townley Scott attributes these              Scott attributes these
descriptions of Lovecraft's father                       descriptions of Lovecraft's father
and mother to                                                   and mother to
respectively, “a friend of the family” (p.312)       respectively, “a friend of the family” (p.312)
and “the family lawyer” (p. 319)                        and “the family lawyer” (p. 319)
Since Whipple V. Phillips' own attorney,           Since Whipple V. Phillips' own attorney,
Clarke H. Johnson (1830-1917),                     Clarke H. Johnson,
later Chief Justice
of the Rhode Island Supreme Court,
was long deceased at the                                              was long deceased at the
time Scott conducted his research,                    time Scott conducted his research,
“the family lawyer” can refer only to                  “the family lawyer” can refer only to
Albert A. Baker, as the author suspects             Albert A. Baker, and I suggest that
“a friend of the family” may also                        “a friend of the family” may also
refer to him.”                                                                refer to him.”

{As it turns out, Johnson died in 1930, but this does not change KFW's argumentation.}

Thus, KFW offers argumentation that Albert A. Baker was the lawyer in question by conflating the two pericopes together.  That is, “the friend of the family” and “the family lawyer” were one and the same person.  At this we pause, and reflect on another scholar's viewpoint.

In 1990, STJ created H.P.L.: A Life after finding the earlier L. Sprague de Camp biography inadequate.  However, the publishing company, Necronomicon, could not justify a two volume edition, so STJ abridged his work.  Even then, the book was often hard to acquire once Necronomicon ceased publication.  The full, and allegedly corrected edition, was only just published in mid-2010.  Only in that version did the Myra H. Blosser connection appear in print having been excised in the original abridgment.  Both versions are reproduced here.  (STJ published a slightly different edition of his biography in England[i] which represents this section exactly as in HPL: A Life).

H.P.L.:  A Life                                                            I Am Providence
1990                                                                2010
Necronomicon                                                  Hippocampus

Winfield Townley Scott                                                 Winfield Townley Scott
reports that a “family friend” referred                 reports that a “family friend” referred
to Winfield as a “pompous Englishman”.            to Winfield as a “pompous Englishman”.
[footnote 32]                                                                [footnote 56]
This appears to be Ella Sweeney,                                  This appears to be Ella Sweeney,
a school teacher who knew the                        a school teacher who knew the
Lovecrafts from as early as                               Lovecrafts from as early as
their 1892 vacation in Dudley.                                  their 1892 vacation in Dudley;
                                                                                    the information was passed on to
                                                                                    Scott by a friend of Sweeney's                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                    Myra H. Blosser.

Since STJ and KWF have com to different conclusions, does the text of WTS allow for this confusion.  There are several versions of the Ella L. Sweeney testimony, all of them rare to obtain.  The original was done for Derleth, which was picked up and reused by Peter Cannon.  This text, STJ follows.  WTS reprinted in  his Exiles and Fabrications (1961) and it is this text that KWF used.  Cannon's text is as yet unavailable to this writer, as is the Derleth version.  ???  The 1961 version, which Mr. Faig does not explicitly preserve, was obtained by this writer.

Exiles and Fabrications                                             I Am Providence
used in “Lovecraft Remembered”                                              2010
                                                                                    As quoted on page 12

On their summer vacations at                                        On their summer vacations at
DudleyMassachusetts                                                 DudleyMassachusetts
(where by the way they knew the poet                          {… omitted}
Louise Imogen Guiney),                                                {… omitted}
Mrs. Lovecraft refused to eat her dinner                        Mrs. Lovecraft refused to eat her dinner
in the dining room                                             in the dining room
not to leave her sleeping son alone                                 not to leave her sleeping son alone
for an hour one floor above.                                          for an hour one floor above.  
When a diminutive teacher friend,                                  When a diminutive teacher-friend,
Mrs. Ella Sweeney,                                                       Mrs. Ella Sweeney,
took the rather rangy youngster to walk,                        took the rather rangy youngster to walk,
holding his hand,                                                           holding his hand,
she was enjoined by Howard's mother                          she was enjoined by Howard's mother
to stoop a little                                                              to stoop a little
lest she pull the boy's arm                                              lest she pull the boy's arm
from its socket.                                                             from its socket.

Except for STJ's elipsis, as he discusses Guiney at length elsewhere in the biography, and a slight change in using hyphenation once, the texts are identical here.

Therefore, both scholars use their logical skills and intuition to parse who said what.  Lacking the Myra Blosser letter, all that can be determined is that it seems likely that Baker stated that Winfield was a weak sister, and Sweeney that he was a pompous Englishman.

The Significance of George D. Wilcox.

Above, the obituary notice of Dr. Wilcox.

“...No History of Mental or Nervous Disease in Family ...”

The doctors and Susan seemed clueless about the Lovecraft family proclivities.  Or if they did, somehow it was minimized or deleted from the historic record.  We now know that Winfield, Frederick A. Lovecraft, and Joshua Lovecraft[i] all would contract and die of "paresis" in virtually the same catastrophic manner.  However, news would trickle to Susan slowly, each one no doubt a sharp blow toward scandal for the Phillips family.

 Below, an e-clipping of Joshua Lovecraft's incarceration for insanity as reported by the {Rochester, NY} Post Express  of 21 February 1899.  The date given is 16 March, 1895. 


So Gentle Readers, this is the chronicle so far.

Hope you enjoyed.


[PS:  I know the footnotes are butchered, but this was due to the copy and paste issues into blogger.  One day I will repair this.]

Below, Fred Lovecraft's sensational headline and a small portion discussing his suicide from the New York Times of 27 October 1893.

[i]       Joshua Elliot Lovecraft (1845-98), died insane of paresis in the same year as Winfield - he was Winfield's cousin, i.e. George Lovecraft's brother.  Joshua died 8 November 1898 at the state hosipital in Rochester.  This was somewhat rediscovered by the Criticaster,  

[i]     A Dreamer and a Visionary: Lovecraft In His Times, S. T. Joshi, Liverpool University Press, 2001.  In this case, this section appears on page 16, and referencing that footnote 19.

[i]     The Unknown Lovecraft, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., Hippocampus Press, 2009.  A collection of significant essays by Mr. Faig, lightly edited from their original publication.

[i]     McNamara states that bromides were frequently in use, but caused side effects of hallucinations and toxicity reactions.  The cause of the hallucinations, then, are called into question and to what amount the disease and the narcotic caused these.

[i]     Lovecraft Studies #24, pp. 14-17.  McNammara declares in her footnotes that Robert Harrall contributed to the article, and provided the entire document.  McNammara makes clear that John McInnis' article “An Autobiographical Reading of 'The Colour Out of Space'” preceded her article.
[ii]    In S T Joshi's, I Am Providence, p. 12 he tells some interesting anecdotes.  In the 1960's, Arthur S. Koki, tried to find the employee records of Gorham but failed.  He discovered Gorham records were maintained only 40 years – thus a few decades too late.  Joshi had heard that New York personnel records may have been retained, but nothing has been forthcoming to scholarship.
[iii]   Professor John McInnis in his “An Autobiographical Studyof The Colour Out of Space” states that Gorham maintained an office in Chicago as early as 1881, but does not cite a reference.  Books at Brown, 1991-1992, Volumes XXXVIII-XXXIX, p. 83

[i]     Magic Lantern Slide of Southern Union Station in Boston by T.H. McAllister Co.

[i]     As seen on Ebay March 2011.

[i]     HPL to August Derleth in Selected Letters Vol. 2 page 100.

[i]     Reproduced from S T Joshi, I Am Providence, p. 21, from Derleth's Selected Letter,s Vol. I, page 296, HPL to Edwin Baird, 3 February 1924.

[i]       1901 was considered the beginning of the new century., not 1900.  This may because 1900 was not a leap year, or simply convention.  This changed, and the year 2000 was considered the beginning of the new millennium  

[i]     Expanded Excerpts:  Hello. I am very curious to know if my 26 month old son is gifted. I don't know where to begin. He walked at 9 months and started running a couple of months later.  Other than that, no other milestones stood out before age 1. His language development doesn't seem particularly advanced to me either. He says hundreds of words and sometimes uses five or six word sentences. But this language development doesn't seem especially advanced by what I've read. He also has always had a very long attention span for things that interest him. And he has been able to build an 8-10 block tower for about 5 months now. He also tries to balance it so it won't fall. He seems quite advanced in his motor skill development. … Emotionally, he is very social, sweet and affectionate. He is a total ham and loves to show off and entertain an audience. He is also very curious and is constantly asking me "What's that?" when he wants me to identify objects he has never seen before. And he almost always remembers what I said. The only negatives are that he can be very bossy and demanding at times. He is very prone to tantrums and has very little patience. But I guess that isn't that unusual for his age. … To start, he can count to about 14 if he is putting coins in his piggy bank (with supervision of course). Sometimes he can count to 20 when he is doing this. He absolutely loves counting coins and putting them in the bank. He even asks to sleep with it. But he can only count up to 5 objects by sight (counting one at a time). He does this with pictures in books. He also recognizes numbers from 1 to 10 by sight. He can recognize about 80-90% of the alphabet by sight (capital letters only). He LOVES the alphabet and has recognized many letters for at least 5 months.. … Expert: Carol Bainbridge - 11/6/2005;  Answer,  … It sounds very much as if you have a gifted child on your hands.  Almost everything you mentioned is pretty typical of a gifted kid.

[i]     This is digested from a document, Auburndale Local Hiostoric District: Final Report, January 2005, prepared bu the Auburndale Historic District Committee. 
[ii]    S T Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft, A Life, 1996, p. 12 ff.
[iii]     This writer follows the tehsis of Mr. Kenneth W Faig, Jr, that through the Irish neighbors, the Banigans, the Phillips family met and embraced young Louise Imogen Guiney while she attended school in Providence.

[i]     King's Handbook of Newton, self published in Boston by Moses King Corporation, 1889, p. 205-209

[i]                   Published by Robbins Bros., Boston, MA and is # H 13641. Caption reads (Auburn St., Auburndale, Mass.).

[i]       Discussion on p. 28, S. T. Joshi, I Am Providence.
[ii]      HPL to Maurice W. Moe, 5 April 1931.  This is nearly 38 years after the fact, a robust memory if not induced by a family photograph.  See also p. 26, I Am Providence.
[iii]     HPL to J Vernon Shea, 4 February 1934, from Selected Letters Vol IV, page 355, or see I Am Providence, p. 28.  Lovecraft probably means self-absorbed, and not self-conscious.

[i]         Dudley Massachusetts, 1890   From A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts, with Numerous Illustrations written by Rev. Elias Nason, M.A.; revised and enlarged by George J. Varney. Boston: B.B. Russell. 1890, 724 pages  
Dudley is a pleasant and prosperous town lying in the southwesterly part of Worcester County, on the Southbridge Branch of the New York and New England Railroad, which has a station at West Dudley, 67 miles from Boston. The eastern part of the town is accommodated at the eastern border by the Webster station on the Norwich and Worcester Railroad. The town is bounded by Charlton and Oxford on the north, the latter and Webster on the east, Southbridge on the west, and Thompsonville, in Connecticut, on the south. The assessed area is 12,870 acres, of which 4,800 are woodland.

The Quinnebaug River crosses the southwestern part, receiving an affluent from the hills. Here its valley is broadened, affording ample space about the mills for the village of West Dudley. The southeastern part is an extended plain, on which are strung out a group of six large and small ponds, whose outlet enters the French River at Merinoville. The latter forms the eastern line of the town, and in this limit furnishes power for several mills. The central village is delightfully situated on elevated ground, so that its prominent buildings are visible at a great distance. The surface of the town is charmingly interspersed with handsome hills, verdant valleys, rocky ravines, rivulets, fine forests, and beautiful ponds. The largest of these is Gore Pond, which, with two or three others, lies on the northern line.

The farms number 133, producing the usual variety of crops, to the value in 1885 of $155,395. There are in the town a linen mill employing about 300 persons; a woollen mill, employing about 270, and making excellent cassimere, a jute mill, employing 40; a mill for knit goods, employing about 20; dye-works, a gunny-cloth mill, a shoe factory, a tool factory, and saw and grain mills. From this variety of manufactures have sprung several villages, the list being, beside those already mentioned, Jericho, Chase, Perryville, Stevensville, or Dundee, and Tuftsville. The value of the aggregate manufactures, for 1885, was $1,316,112. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $964,305, with a tax of $12.20 on $1,000. The population was 2,742 — 446 being voters, — sheltered in 348 dwelling-houses.

The schools are graded, and make use of it buildings whose value is near $40,000. The Nichols Academy has buildings and property valued at upwards of $30,000. This institution has a library of about 2,000 volumes. The institution was founded by Amasa Nichols in 1819. Hezekiah Conant also was a liberal patron of this school, having given to it upwards of $50,000. The churches are the Congregationalist and the Methodist.

This town was incorporated on February 2, 1731, and named in honor of Paul and William Dudley, who were early proprietors. The first church was established in 1732; and the first minister, the Rev. Perley Howe, was settled in 1735. A later minister was Joshua Bates, D.D. (installed in 1843, died in 1852), a vigorous writer, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
[ii]       From the long running H P Lovecraft blog by Chris Perridas (this writer) 
      Myra H. Blosser!
Myra H. Blosser?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, we can also see how Townley got a typo. While Sweeney spent summers at Dudley, the Lovecrafts apparently only spent one there. Townley somehow conflates that they spent summers there together on vacation.
[iii]               Scott, a journalist at the Providence Journal in the mid-20th century, was startled to discover a literary genius had lived and died virtually unnoticed by providence.  He had lived only blocks away, and not known himself.  Through some contact with Derleth, he became -as many have - fascinated with he details of Lovecraft’s life, and as a journalist, had access to resources that mere mortals would not.  He wrote these details up into first an article, and then for Derleth, and finally preserving them in his 1961 check reference book Exiles and Exhortations.  Like so much of Lovecraft arcana, these resources are now hard to find and expensive to obtain, as they most always are printed in short runs by small presses.  Slowly the digital age is beginning to make these items more widely available.
[iv]   Perhaps one of the oddest is the staunch belief by Ray Bradbury that he clearly recalls his circumcision as a new-born infant..
[v]      Public documents of Massachusetts, Number 43.  "Number of Assessed Polls, Registered Voters and Persons Who Voted in Each Voting Precinct as the State, City, and Town Elections in the year 1891.  page 41.  This lists 649 males assessed polls  as of 6 April 1891 (402 registered, 268 voted in primary), and as of 3 November 1891 645 poll assessed males (441 registered, 390 voted).  There were a number of towns with registered females, but none in Dudley.  This probably gives a population near 3,000.
[vi]     The Southbridge Journal, a regional weekly, stated on page 2 of the 21 July 1892 issue that there were 44 residents and 10 non-residents with taxable income that accrued taxes over $50.  There were 713 polls, and a total personal and real estate value of slightly over $1,000,000. 
[vii]  This writer obtained access to two Dudley documents, both through eBay.  One was the image of a local writer of note, Nora Perry, but there seems no connection to Susan.  The other was a Congregational church record and listing of members.  The Lovecraft name does not appear, nor does the name Phillips. 
[viii] Footnore neded … Kleiner Nov 1917 … ? 
[ix]    The Southbridge Journal, 4 August 1892, for entry under Fiskdale:  5.97 inches of rain for July.  p.2  A thunderstorm on 28 July 1892 struck a farmer with lightning.  Under the East Brimfield heading, low water was complained about.   On p. 3, “Relief from the oppressive and sweltering weather, which prevailed last week, began to be felt toward night, and cool cloudy weather conditions continued through Monday and Ztuesday.”.  Rain in Dudley Summer 1892,  The 4 August 1892 Southbridge Journal also indicated that on that Thursday (3) and Friday (4) rain deluged, “...certainly the storms of Thursday and Friday can be classified as the worst of the season...”.  This was noted in passing in the 11 August 1892 issue as well.  This may be as close as we ever get to a date.
[x]       The Southbridge Journal, 8 August 1878, page 2.  The writer is comparing a trip to the White mountains with local scenery.  It is unsigned, so one suspects it was the managing editor.
[xi]    Sweeney went on to be a significant force in the Providence school system. About 1901, Sweeney advocated school gardens.  The article below emphasizes some of Ms. Sweeney's interests.
      The School Garden Movement in Rhode Island
      The work of this state is under the immediate supervision of Prof Ernest K Thomas who is a member of the faculties of the Agricultural College and of the State Normal School In some respects of course Rhode Island is so much a manufacturing state that it is not considered the most appropriate place to interest the schools in agricultural work but notwithstanding this handicap school gardens have been developed in all the leading institutions of the state The work was first introduced about twelve years ago by Miss Ella Sweeney Assistant Superintendent of the Providence schools The Civic League of Newport began some work in school gardening in 1906 and the Westerly Schools started about the same time Even before this in 1904 a small garden was started at Kingston under the direction of the extension department of the College The Pawtucket Old Home and Improvement Society attached a school garden to their school in 1008 Without doubt the school garden which will have the most effect in influencing the teachers of Rhode Island is the one in connection with the Rhode Island Normal School under the management of Principal John L Alger As I have already mentioned the city of Newport has had some most excellent school gardens for a number of years The City of Pawtucket has a very commendable garden which is interesting many people in that city in this movement and in improved home conditions generally Warwick Saylesville Lonsdale and a number of other smaller cities of the state have made commendable progress One of the most valuable results of the whole movement has been that of the home garden which has been established in many places as an outgrowth of the interest aroused by the school garden.
      EE Balcomb
      Formerly of the Providence Normal School
      March 1913 THE GARDEN MAGAZINE, page 102

[xii]   The first mention this writer can find of Miss Ella Sweeney is as one of two assistants to the principal of Charles Street Primary School in 1893.  This is in  p.107 of Providence City Documents Vol. 1 (under then Mayor William K Potter).   Prior to that she is simply listed as a teacher in Providence schools for 1890-1891 on page 16 of the Report of the State Board of Education.  We can determine the date of birth as November 1870 for Sweeney from online ancestry sources.  Her father was William Sweeney (b. circa 1834) originally of Vermont and listed as a mattress maker in 1880, and her mother was Sophia Sweeney (b. circa 1839).  Ella was the youngest of three sisters in 1880.  The US 1900 Census shows that Ella L Sweeney boarded with a Robinson Pierce (one of two boarders and a large family with servants).  This was on Olney Street.  The 1899 Providence Directory lists her as boarding at 29 George Street.  This was about two blocks from Angell Street.
[xiii]  Blosser, Myra to Scott, Winfield Townley Scott Box 1, accession number A11953, and as quoted in Books at Brown, Vol. 38-39, 1991, p. 97, footnote 15.
[xiv] This portion of the letter is stated in a footnote in John McInnis' “An Autobiographical Study”, and he dates the letter to about 1944, a half-century after the event.

[i]       HPL to Edwin Baird on 3 February 1924, Derleth's Selected Letters III, page 383, and also in S T Joshi's I Am Providence, p. 17.
[ii]    HPL to Rheinhardt Kleiner, 16 November 1916.  This letter is reproduced in part in several of S T Joshi's autobigraphies, in a special edition of Kleiner letters published by Necronomicon, and in August Derleth's Selected Letters {of Lovecraft} volume I
[iii]     Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born at 9 AM on 20 August 1890.  This writer will also speculate, and agrees with Mr. Joshi, that Susan and Howard most likely remained at 194 Angell Street at least through November 1890 – three months after birth.  H. P. Lovecraft:  A Life, S. T. Joshi, Necronomicon Press, 1996.  page 10, footnote error, Mr. Joshi has the letter as Selected Letters, I, page 147 and is oft cited in Lovecraft works.
[iv]   August 1892, rather than June 1892 was selected by this writer due to argumentation made in the Dudley section.  The weather seems much more of a match to Lovecraft’s testimony in early August.  It is highly likely that Susan had to exit Dudley before the start of the Fall sememster of Nichols Academy which was in early September.
[v]      From the school system's perspective, Dorchester was a part of the Boston district, see Annual Report of the School Committee of Boston, 1893, for instance on p. 173 the shcools are listed by:  Latin School, Girl's Latin School, English, Girls', Roxbury, Dorchester, Charlestown, West Roxbury, Brighton, East Boston High Schools.  Auburndale was considered a portion of the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

[i]     S. T. Joshi, I Am Providence, Hippocampus, 2010, page 17-20.
[ii]    For instance, Souvenir history of the New England Southern Conference in three volumes By Micah Jones Talbot, Vol. 1, 1897.
[iii]     Stern Fathers ‘Neath the Mould, by Richard Squires is the classic biography of the Lovecraft family in America.  Information is derived from that reference unless otherwise stated.  The primary discussion is pp. 30-33.   Scholars such as Richard Squires, Kenneth Faig, Jr, and S. T. Joshi have speculated that Winfield may have worked with relatives Frederick A.  Lovecraft - a wealthy New York socialite - or George Lovecraft.  He lived on a farm for some time.
[iv]   For many decades, members of the Esoteric Order of Dagon have researched the life of H. P. Lovecraft and circulated on an irregular basis their findings in a mailing to one another.  Much published information has been derived from these folks.
[v]    Under a column dated 19 July, “Notes from Newport,” among the arrivals at hotels on that date is, “W.S. Lovecraft.” I presume this is the father of HPL and one among a barrel-full list of names (20 July 1884, p.7).
[vi]   16 August 1885, New York Times, a pick up from the Newport News “Newport Society News:  Receptions, Dinner Parties, and Latest Arrivals at the Cottages” Newport, R.I. Aug. 15, “C.S. Caswell, J.M. Riddle, W. Lovecroft {sic}, ...”;  Detroit Free Press -”Sayings and Doings”, Apr 19, 1884, “W. S. Lovecraft of New York, D. B. Hyde of Boston, and R O Dolittle of Chicago are at the Griswold House.

[vii]  “Certificate of Death, State of Rhode Island” lists WSL as a “traveling salesman” and his birthplace as Rochester, NY.
[viii]    Originally, Sonia wrote a memoir of her husband, Howard Lovecraft, and submitted it to the Providence Journal through Winfield Townley Scott.  Edited, it was published in the 22 August 1948 Providence Sunday Journal as “Howard Phillips Lovecraft As His Wife Remembers Him”.  Later, it was discovered and published in its original entirety as The Private Life of H. P. Lovecraft , ed. S. T. Joshi, Necronomicon Press, 1985.  This quote from fourth printing, 1997, p.7, “His father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, had at one time been a travelling salesman for the Gorham Company, Silversmiths of the United States of America.”  From this statement all evidence appears to come, cited or not.
[ix]     Issues examined for the Jeweler's Circular and Hororlogical Review were Vol. 15 of 1884, Vol. 23 of August 1891, Vol.27 of August 1893, Vol. 34 of February 1897.  These were available through the Google book service, a scanned document service free to all.  As other of these items surface, there may be references yet found.
[x]     Also sometimes spelled Rhoby.
[xi]    The marriage was later reported as  1857 to camouflage the pegnancy out of wedlock of Lillian Phillips.  This may have precipitated an exit to Coffin Corner, later rnamed Greene.
[xii]   This writer’s research.
[xiii]  In a separate, as yet unpublished work, this writer has determined that in 1874, a note came due of a value of $8000 and due to Caleb Robinson Hill of Warwick.  Unable to pay, WVP brought counter suit that it was not valid because WVP declared bankruptcy.  In 1883 the suit was reopened, once WVP once again was wealthy, but WVP counter-sued stating that a statute of limitations had run out.  The case went to the Rhode Island State Supreme Court to determine validity.  After 1874, WVP taught school, entered the legislature as a Property Valuator, moved to Providence, sold sewing machines, met one J B Lincoln, and developed the Lincoln Patented Fringing Machine, and remade his fortune.
[xiv] The Private Life of H. P. Lovecraft, Sonia H. Davis, Necronomicon Press, fourth printing, 1997, p. 7.
[xv]  The Unknown Lovecraft, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr., Hippocampus Press, 2009, "Lovecraft's Parental Heritage", pp. 56 ff.   Enough cannot be said for the diligent research Mr. Faig has provided to Lovecraft scholarship.
[xvi]   This writer’s calculation.
[xvii]   Syphillis has a long incubaion period, and often recedes and is not contagious for periods of time.  There are four stages now known.  The first is an incubation stage, which then goes to an outbreak stage with a 10-12 week rash that then fades.  The latent stage is next, and variable.  It can last for as many as 20 years.  It is believed that unless a relapse of external symptoms occur, the disease is non-contagious, and the victim can easily hide the disease.  The final stage is insidious, as blood vessels and major organs – especially brain activity – deteriorate.  Neurosyphillis affects the lining of the brain, and gummata express debilitating and frightening welts, sores, and nodules on the skin.  Susan's behavior patterns with Howard may indicate both of these symptoms were present with Winfield, as she seemed obsessed with his skin problems, and any time a rash appeared.
[xviii]         Frederick Lovecraft is briefly mentioned by S T Joshi in I Am Providence, p. 12.  He does not mention that Frederick Lovecraft died by suicide in a scandalous episode after seeming to contract paresis.  His symptoms of paranoia were remarkably like Winfields.

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