The Curse of Race Prejudice cover

The Curse of Race Prejudice

  • October 11, 2021

One of the most challenging aspects of running the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is the fact that the man whose work we celebrate was a racist. Like the rest of us, Lovecraft was a complex and multi-faceted individual, but no matter how you look at his life you can’t get away from the fact that he believed in white superiority. His views were seldom challenged and often reinforced by the culture in which he lived, but—like the modern era—the ‘20s and ‘30s were not monolithic in their thinking, and he was on the intolerant end of the spectrum. To say he was “a man of his times” is no excuse: his times were very much like our times. Among his many correspondents there were a number who held opposing views on this topic, and perhaps none better represents those than James Ferdinand Morton, Jr.

Morton was, perhaps, an improbable person to become a friend of Lovecraft. Where the young HPL was an arch-conservative who deeply idealized the Georgian era of colonial history, Morton—20 years Lovecraft’s senior—was a progressive and an anarchist, advocating ideas such as civil rights for Blacks, voting and reproductive rights for women, environmental conservation and the single tax system. Where Lovecraft never graduated high school, Morton earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard. Yet through their correspondence the two men discovered a mutual respect for each other’s intelligence, and their correspondence covered a vast range of ideas.

Among the ways in which Morton supported himself was by giving public lectures. On January 21, 1906 he gave a lecture entitled “The Curse of Race Prejudice” in which he made the argument that racial hatred is injurious both to its victims and its perpetrators. He argued that a culture which harbored racial prejudice was headed into contraction and decline. As an active member of the amateur press movement, it was only natural that Morton later published an expanded version of the lecture as a 78-page pamphlet, which he sold for twenty-five cents.

Inspired by a very thoughtful member of the HPLHS who told us that he had recently sought out that pamphlet at his local library and read it, we thought it would be worthwhile to reissue it so that others could read it too. Since the HPLHS is known for doing replicas of vintage documents, it seemed like a project we were well-situated to pursue. We are offering it for the same price that Morton charged over a hundred years ago: 25¢.

The issues of racial prejudice and social justice have generally progressed from the standards of 1906, but as one reads Morton’s essay it’s heartbreakingly apparent that many of the problems he cites have persisted. We celebrate the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose cosmic imagination and dark fiction have inspired so many years of fascination for us. But we also celebrate the works of James F. Morton, whose passionate and inspiring humanity shines a brilliant, if sometimes painful, light on very real problems. There’s nothing we can do about Lovecraft’s racial views, but we can do something about our own.

You can get a copy HERE.

Miskatonic Missives stamp

Miskatonic Missives

  • October 11, 2021

We are launching our first Kickstarter and we hope you'll back it! In conjunction with our friends at Helios House Press, we are excited to offer Miskatonic Missives. It's a three-volume set, and each volume is like an episode of Voluminous in book form! Each volume will present the complete text of a letter from HPL, along with archival material, fiction, original art and scholarship, and more! We're also including replicas of items Lovecraft mentioned or included with the letter, so it's almost like getting a letter from HPL yourself! Card-carrying members of the HPLHS who back the project in the first 48 hours of its launch will qualify for a new bonus stamp, seen above.

BACK IT TODAY!

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Return to Portland

  • October 1, 2021

Lovecraftian film lovers are once again going to lurk in the lobby of the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, and we're going to join them! On Friday night, October 1 we are hosting a 10th anniversary screening of The Whisperer in Darkness, and on Saturday evening we're helping to kick off Black Goat: The 600 Steps with filmmaker Davey Robertson and our beloved impresario Mike Dalager!

Featured Member

  • October 1, 2021

Our Member of the Month for October, 2021 is James Cornell of Decatur, Georgia.

James says: "I didn’t come into contact with Lovecraft directly until I was in my twenties, but he was always on the periphery of things I’ve enjoyed my whole life. Being a fan of comics, pulp fiction and horror movies, there’s only so far you can go without eventually coming to Lovecraft’s work. I first heard his name as a fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, and how inspired he was by the work of this guy from Providence named Lovecraft. Curious, I went to a bookstore and picked up Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. After that, I was off to the races, devouring first Lovecraft’s work directly, and then branching out to the larger Lovecraftian genre, eventually arriving at the HPLHS itself, and their outstanding Dark Adventure Radio Theatre. I absolutely adore the work the HPLHS does to explore and expand the incredible worlds of Lovecraft and his successors, and I cannot wait to see what Sean and Andrew come up with next!

I have attached some of my artwork, including a piece from a tabletop RPG my friends and I are producing called Terrors and Tommyguns. (It’s HPL-inspired, but not explicitly Lovecraftian). I hope you enjoy it!"

Happy Equinox

  • September 22, 2021

Wishing everyone a joyful change of seasons! We have lots going on as the end of the year/holiday season bears relentlessly down on us!

Featured Member

  • September 4, 2021

Our Member of the Month for September, 2021 is SSG Joshua Hanafin of Guyton, Georgia.

Sgt. Hanafin says: "For better or for worse, I am from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Such is what I tell most folk upon first meeting them and having to briskly answer that imminent question as to my origins. Furthermore, I am half-Japanese, half-Irish, and an only child. I was born at the beginning of 1974 in a Baltimore hospital, right across the street from the historic reformatory and orphanage of George Herman "Babe" Ruth's childhood years. My father always led me to believe that I was also born just down the road from that revered place of rest for none other than the American literary icon Edgar Allan Poe himself. Regardless of the calamity and mystery concerning the truth of his burial site (befitting the story of his life, really...), the simple reality of the matter is that his remains were originally buried many blocks away from the specific place of my birth. Yet, get this. The historical Baltimore error of his originally-indicated birthdate is truly my own birthday, while he actually was born the day before by only a matter of hours. Curiously enough... I do indeed play baseball (pitcher and left field), and I am most definitely an enthusiast of classic American literature, science fiction, mystery, horror, and even detective stories. Imagine that...

Anyroads, I did not remain in Baltimore for very long at all beyond my being a wee babe. As soon as my enlisted Regular Army veteran, Army National Guardsman, and Air Force R.O.T.C. cadet father completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the nearby University of Maryland, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. From there began my life of moving around the country as well as the world every 2 to 3 years. The first language that I learned to speak was Japanese, since my mother brought me back to her family in Japan for over a year while my father dealt with his very first assignment fresh out of the Armed Forces Air Intelligence Training Center at Lowry Air Force Base (Denver, Colorado) - his mandatory and unaccompanied hardship tour to Cyprus. Upon completion of his duty requirements in that far edge of the Mediterranean Sea, our nuclear family was eventually reunited for the duration. Though my father's duty stations were colourful, geographically widespread, and many, he did his damnedest and succeeded in getting reassigned to various air bases thus scattered across the entire Japanese archipelago for my mother's sake. Thus, I was mostly raised in Japan and with the culturally diversifying as well as emotionally and intellectually structuring influences of my stern Japanese mother (of course, along with the omnipresent Japanese world at large beyond our household at the time).

Very closely to my father's retirement from the U.S. Air Force, I officially joined the U.S. Army in 1992 at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell might be a truly minor "city" in the middle of nowhere. Yet, to quote the narrator's introduction for every episode of that Courage the Cowardly Dog series, "but creepy stuff happens in Nowhere" to be sure! Thus, Roswell is noted mostly for its close associations to the early-20th Century development of rocketry through Robert Hutchings Goddard (events and a man ironically tied to Massachusetts during that classically Lovecraftian window of time and point of interest to us), the wildly notorious and controversial 1947 sensation of U.F.O. and extraterrestrial significance, as well as the consequently ever-popular location for what would eventually become the International U.F.O. Museum and Research Center (cues The X-Files theme) from the ruins of Roswell's historic "Plains Theatre" which rather interestingly opened its doors for their very first time in 1946 (awesomely close proximity to that "Roswell incident" of note which would soon follow during this fledgling theatre's second year). By the by, Robert H. Goddard also happened to die in Baltimore, Maryland. Fancy that... 'Tis such a small world of wonders.

When my father saw fit to leave his service, my own lengthy military career and resumed process of again moving every 2 to 3 years began right there in Roswell, NM during mid-September of 1992. Such..."coincidences" as these never truly cease for me, not even for my honoured selection here as this "Member of the Month" for September 2021 of all months (and the plot only continues to thicken). Sure enough, I am still today a career soldier with a most atypical service record spanning the Army National Guards of New Mexico, California, and South Carolina as well as the Army Reserve and Regular Army - all without a single break in service for any reason. In a few weeks, I will have completed my 29th consecutive year of service to this "Total Army" - as they have been frequently calling it within the past decade. Again, I began my warrior's journey right there at the N.M.M.I. in 1992 as a cadet and then rather quickly as a commissioned officer of the Armor Branch (tanks, that is). After 9 years of being an Armor Officer, I volunteered myself down into the enlisted ranks of this same branch in order to jump right into the heat of action during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. I have remained a 19K Armor Crewman as a noncommissioned officer ever since... Though I have officially been a "tanker" throughout the entirety of my career, my own tracks of training and their yields of unique experience have weirdly taken me well away from the tank line into some extremely unusual directions and destinations for a Combat Arms soldier of any rank and status - including assignment to play trombone for an Infantry Division Band as a tanker! Since every other aspect of my being seems to be inherently designed for breaking all of the rules and violating all manners of boundaries, containments, and expectations (even without my will to actively do so), why should my career paths and progressions be any different - right...? It has all been quite a fascinating and dubiously wild ride for me, but in truth, I would never recommend it nor wish it upon anyone.

As for the myriad details which "make me tick" as a person, well... I will do my very best to faithfully summarise. After all, they are just as manifold and complex as I am. Military science, martial arts, pipes and pipe tobacco (including narghile or hookah pipes), natural history and science, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, world religions, metaphysics, divination, occult science, parapsychology, demonology, etymology, and languages are all examples of my various interests. My tastes for music range from Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century among the musical traditions of Western history; opera and musicals; computer or video game, television, and movie soundtracks and scores; Celtic; Irish folk and "rebel songs"; traditional Japanese; Gothic soundtracks; jazz; classic rock; 80's pop; heavy metal; and alternative rock among a broad scale. Horror, fantasy, science fiction, drama, comedy, and action (in television and movies) all represent my film preferences. Books of my particular fancy can easily be found among the history (all periods and subjects), world mythology, classical literature of the Western world, English and American literary classics, classical military treatises, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery stacks. My favourite sports to play (never watch) are baseball, softball, badminton, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, and even table tennis. Among my plethora of hobbies and favoured activities are music (performance by voice and numerous instruments as well as simple appreciation), theatre (performance and appreciation alike), fantasy role-playing games (especially Dungeons & Dragons - all old school TSR tabletop, pencil-and-paper versions from the late 1970's and early 1980's primarily), classic strategy games, war games (military and historical simulations), board games (family and thematic), trivia, outdoorsmanship, horsemanship, birdwatching, wildlife and pet care, amateur astronomy, living history (all periods with an emphasis on military subjects), English composition (writing), and collecting (fine books, out-of-print materials, antiques, comic books, CD's, DVD's, figurines, toys, and games). Obviously, this is not a flawlessly comprehensive list of all that there is to me, but one should nonetheless get the idea...

Now, in laboriously putting all of these revelations of informations together, one might expectedly be compelled to ultimately ask the question here. Just how is it that someone like me finds his way to an especial respect and enjoyment of H.P. Lovecraft's work as well as directly into the ranks of a lifetime membership in the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society? Well... All of the clues to the answer are rather plainly situated in the open, above - right here among these unapologetically so very many words. My design is so dynamic, and my pattern is so pronounced for all to detect and perceive. As my own variety of gamer... As an unquestionable scholar... As a..."nerd", really... This was all rather inevitable, and no mistake. Would ye not agree...? Besides, amongst the great mass of you out there with your highly similar inclinations of culture and subculture alike, it is not really as if you too have not already come to this special place of darkly magical fascinations and realisations in much the same way - by one road or another. Generally, for most of us... I assert that it is simply just a matter of time. Some of us arrive sooner, while others merely arrive later (when at all given the time and opportunity to do so in this life of course - shite always happens, I know). Alas, I must concede that I am with this latter group of latecomers. Nevertheless, here I finally am! 'Tis a genuine privilege and pleasure for me to join this fine organisation and deliberately promote its endeavours of prolific creativity through persistent quality. How so genuinely...Slytherin of the H.P.L.H.S. to most commendably be this way and conduct its artful business in such an elevated fashion of elite professionalism... Anything worth doing is only worth doing well, eh? In any case, 'twill be a grand delight to be with y'all for many years to come as I resume my own individual venture to delve ever deeper into the universe (or even multiverse) of H.P. Lovecraft. Thank you ever so very much for this distinguished honour of being made September's Member of the Month for 2021. Kanpai... Sláinte!!!"

HPLHS members can see even more pictures from Sgt. Hanafin in the Member Sanctum!

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Raffle Report

  • September 1, 2021

After taking the photograph of Rhan-Tegoth's throne room for one of the props in "The Horror in the Museum", we decided to raffle off the miniature Ivory Throne and donate all the proceeds to non-profit organizations that benefit the indigenous people and environment of Alaska. We sold 997 raffle tickets, raising almost $2000, and the total will be evenly split between The Native American Rights Fund, The Alaska Conservation Foundation, and Kawerak.

prizes HPLHS Member Bernhard Schlaefli of Lausanne, Switzerland was the winner of the Ivory Throne, and Member B.P. Overton of North Carolina won the genuine Madame Tussaud's souvenirs. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all who participated! HPLHS Members who purchased 50 or more tickets will be awarded a new bonus stamp for their membership passports!

PVD

Horror Now Shipping!

  • August 30, 2021

The CDs are back from the replicator and "The Horror in the Museum" is now shipping! The Pre-order period is officially over. Get your copy here!

PVD

Whisperer turns 10

  • August 19, 2021

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is hosting a special tenth anniversary (!) screening of our film The Whisperer in Darkness this Saturday evening, August 21, at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. Although we can't attend in person this year, we will be greeting festival-goers via video introduction.

Also screening this weekend is Black Goat, a very special short film produced, shot and directed by our very own Davey Robertson! Get all the schedule and ticket information here!

Lament for H.P.L.

  • August 1, 2021

When HPL's old friend Alfred Galpin learned of Lovecraft's death, he dedicated a piano composition he was working on to his memory, and called it "Lament for H.P.L." Andrew Leman recently commissioned Reber Clark, composer for several episodes of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, to do an orchestral version, and we are extremely proud to share that recording with you above.