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LOVECRAFT'S LETTERS

Updated: Apr 7

Lovecraft was not only an avid writer of horror fiction, but also a keen letter writer. It is estimated that Lovecraft wrote nearly 100,000 letters in his lifetime, ranging from one-page diaries to seventy-page diatribes. It is estimated that only about 10,000 have survived and are in the hands of private collectors or stored safely away at the John Hay Library in Providence.


As to letters, my case is peculiar. I write such things exactly as easily and as rapidly as I would utter the same topics in conversation; indeed, epistolary expression is with me largely replacing conversation, as my condition of nervous prostration becomes more and more acute. I cannot bear to talk much now, and am becoming as silent as the Spectator himself! My loquacity extends itself on paper. - HPL Letter to Rheinhart Kleiner, 23 December 1917

 

SARGENT-MURRAY-GILMAN-HOUGH HOUSE

DATE(S) VISITED: SEP 27, 2020
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The Sargent &c. house must have given you an excellent idea of a typical middle-period colonial interior... - HPL ~ Letter to Miss Helen V. Sully, 26 July 1933


 

NEWBURYPORT

DATE(S) VISITED: SEP 26, 2020
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Working slowly homeward via the quaintest towns I can find. Portsmouth yesterday, Newburyport today. It will cripple me financially, but it's worth it for this quaintness and antiquity forms the real fuel and pabulum of any imagination. Newburyport is exactly as it was in colonial times a study in colourful stagnation. At sunset today a marvellous silver mist rolled in from the sea, giving everything an antique and ethereal glamour. - HPL ~ Postcard to Clark Ashton Smith, Aug 30, 1927



Front & Back of the Newburyport postcard, sent by H.P. Lovecraft to C.A. Smith


 

CAPT. SAMUEL FOWLER HOUSE

DATE(S) VISITED: AUG 23, 2017
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Inform’d by the sign that this was the Capt. Samuel Fowler House, built 1809, accessible for eightpence, and the property of the Society for the Preservation of New-England Antiquities, I loudly sounded the knocker and awaited developments....Led by the Sibylline wraiths of decay’d gentry, I explor’d the house from cellar to attick. Its decorations are of unrivall’d beauty, and its furniture, ornaments, china, and silver, are beyond description. Fine ancestral portraits, old garments of great richness, priceless laces and other Colonial remnants of domesticity—all these recall uncannily a bygone prosperity which the present mocks. I was allow’d to don a cap which Captain Fowler wore in the War of 1812, and a civilian swallow-tail coat of the same period—a cream colour’d dress garment which fitted me finely, and shew’d that the good captain was as stout an old gentleman as your grandpa. - HPL ~ Letter to Frank Belknap Long and Alfred Galpin, 1 May 1923


 

ST. MICHAEL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

DATE(S) VISITED: AUG 22, 2017
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And St. Michael’s churchyard, where at twilight hideous shadows lurk amongst the dense willows of the far corner, and caper a ghoulish danse macabre on the tops of the old slate slabs as soon as the moon goes down! - HPL ~ Letter to Frank Belknap Long, 23 June 1923


 

OLD BURIAL HILL

DATE(S) VISITED: AUG 22, 2017
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Over all the rest of the scene tower’d a hill on which the rude forefathers of the hamlet were laid to rest; and which was in consequence nam’d Old Burying Hill....And atop all was the peak; Old Burying Hill, where the dark headstones clawed up thro’ the virgin snow like the decay’d fingernails of some gigantick corpse. - HPL ~ Letter to Reinhardt Kleiner, 11 January 1923


 

PROVIDENCE ATHENAEUM

DATE(S) VISITED: AUG 15, 2017/OCT 28, 2016
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...our old Athenaeum, where Poe spent many an hour, and wrote his name at the bottom of one of his unsigned poems in a magazine... - HPL ~ Letter to James F. Morton, 3 May 1923



Providence, which spurn’d Eddie living, now reveres him dead, and treasures every memory connected with him. The hotel where he stopt, the churchyard where he wander’d, the house and garden where he courted his inamorata, the Athenaeum where he us’d to dream and ramble thro’ the corridors—all are still with us, and as by a miracle absolutely unchang’d even to the least detail. - HPL ~ Letter to Frank Belknap Long, February 1924


 

454 ANGELL ST. - LOVECRAFT'S BIRTHPLACE

DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 29, 2016
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I was born on the 20th of August, 1890, at No. 454 (then numbered 194) Angell Street, in the city of Providence. This was the home of my mother’s family; my parents’ actual residence at the time being in Dorchester, Mass....In the mid-seventies, my grandfather transferred all his interests to Providence (where his offices had always been) & erected one of the handsomest residences in the city—to me, the handsomest—my own beloved birthplace! This spacious house, raised on a high green terrace, looks down upon grounds which are almost a park, with winding walks, arbours, trees, & a delightful fountain. - HPL ~ Letter to Reinhardt Kleiner, 16 November 1916.


 

PROVIDENCE ART CLUB

DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 29, 2016
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My mother is a landscape painter of no little skill, whilst my eldest aunt is still more expert in this direction, having had canvases hung in exhibitions at the Providence Art Club... - HPL ~ Letter to Rheinhart Kleiner, 16 November 1916



We went out to an exhibition of paintings at the Art Club, (the colonial house in hilly Thomas Street, in front of which I snap-shotted Mortonius last fall—I mean the fall of ’23)... - HPL ~ Letter to Frank Belknap Long, 1 May 1926

 

LADD OBSERVATORY

DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 29, 2016
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The late Prof. Upton of Brown, a friend of the family, gave me the freedom of the college obseratory, & I came & went there at will on my bicycle. Ladd Observatory tops a considerable eminence about a mile from the house. I used to walk up Doyle Avenue with my wheel, but when returning would have a glorious coast down it. - HPL ~ Letter to Reinhardt Kleiner, 16 November 1916


 

SLATER AVENUE GRAMMER SCHOOL

DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 29, 2016
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It was in 1898 that I first attempted to attend school....I entered the highest grade of primary school, but soon found the instruction quite useless, since I had picked up most of the material before. However, I do not regret the venture, since it was in dear old Slater Avenue (alas—to be abandoned next year!) that I made my only childhood friendship—that with Chester & Harold Munroe...In 1902 I again attempted school; & singularly enough, I went to the same old Slater Avenue edifice, which had now acquired a grammar department in addition to the primary grades. HPL ~ Letter to Reinhardt Kleiner, 16 November 1916


 

THE LITTLE WHITE FARMHOUSE

DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 29, 2016
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There is a little white Colonial cottage, just renovated for an artist, only three doors away at the corner of Prospect Street, and from the upper windows one may see the great brick Halsey Mansion, built in 1801 and reputed to be haunted. - HPL ~ Letter to Frank Belknap Long, 1 May 1926



Only three doors away is a little white farmhouse two centuries old—long overtaken by the growing city and now inhabited by an artist who still preserves a tiny patch of farmyard... - HPL ~ Letter to Bernard Austin Dwyer, June 1927

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