In addition to his classics of horror fiction, it is estimated that Lovecraft wrote 100,000 letters — or roughly 15 every day of his adult life — ranging from one-page diaries to seventy-page diatribes. Perhaps 20,000 of those letters have survived, in the hands of private collectors and at the John Hay Library in Providence.
In each episode of this podcast, we'll read one of these letters (or part of it) and then discuss it. In his letters HPL reveals an amazing breadth of knowledge of philosophy, science, history, literature, art and many other subjects, and forcefully asserts some highly considered opinions (some of which can be upsetting).
And of course his letters offer a fascinating window into his personal life and times. Although we've been working with Lovecraftian material for over 30 years, we still find interesting new things in his letters, and while we don't claim to be experts we look forward to sharing them with a wider audience.
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In part one of this long letter from the summer of 1921, HPL tells his buddies in the Gallomo of a return to his boyhood clubhouse as a middle aged man. He regales his friends with accounts of his active social life, including a meeting with an intriguing woman: the future Mrs. Lovecraft.
The museum of the Haverhill Historical Society that HPL visited is now The Buttonwoods Museum. We look forward to visiting in person someday!
If you're interested, you can get your own copy of Swamp Yankee here. Thanks to listener Chris Kalley for pointing it out!
HPL mentions these two old songs that he used to sing with his friends. Click the links below to listen to recapture some youth with vintage recordings in the Library of Congress! In the Autumn Time, My Sweet Elaine and When the Mockingbirds Are Singing in the Wildwood
Our friend Donovan Loucks runs the H.P. Lovecraft Archive, and one of his missions is to find and photograph every Lovecraftian site that still exists. He very graciously shared with us some photos he's taken of a few of the places mentioned in this letter! Seen below is all that remains of the Great Meadow Country Clubhouse: the stone fireplace built by Civil War veteran James McKay. Also below is a view of the home of Myra Alice Little and her family, where Lovecraft stayed on his trip to Haverhill. For more photos of HPL during his happy summer of 1921, be sure to visit Donovan's photo gallery, and particularly this picture of HPL and HBM.