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Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)

Early life

H. P. Lovecraft clawed himself free of the unnameable horror of being imprisoned alive in the womb at 9:00 A.M. on August 20, 1890, bewildered to find himself in a house at 194 Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island. Howard screamed in terror to discover his father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, was a traveling silverware salesman. His mother, Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft, was a descendant of George Phillips, who, in turn, was one of the first pilgrims to America. Winfield Lovecraft suffered an astounding nervous breakdown when Howard was just three, and crawled back into the grave five years later.


Howard was a sickly boy, frequently plagued by illness (both mental and physical) throughout his childhood. This did not diminish his love for the unspeakable (not to mention thankless) profession of writing. He wrote poetry and stories starting in childhood, but did not begin to be recognized for them until 1913, when he wrote an attack, in verse, on the insipid love stories that filled the pulp magazines in those days. Who could have pictured the unimaginable surprise on his face when the President of the UAPA (United Amatuer Press Association) wrote him and asked him to join? Lovecraft eventually became the President of the UAPA himself, but before this would occur, he would have begun writing the tales of complete and utter horror which turn even today's readers into terrified puddles of quivering flesh.


Shortly after his mother's death in 1921, Howard met the unnameable beast that he would subsequently make his wife. Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew living in Brooklyn, married H. P. Lovecraft on May 24, 1924, and ran a hat shop for a while, until, of course, misfortune overtook them and the hat shop went belly-up. She subsequently became quite ill, and entered a sanitorium. Howard moved back to Providence in 1926 and divorced Sonia in 1929.


Some of Lovecraft's most famous writings were written after his return to Rhode Island. He continued to write until he succumbed to the unspeakable cancer that moved through his intestines on March 10, 1937. It was mainly due to two of his friends that we have any of his works today. August Derleth and Donald Wandrei had some of Lovecraft's works put into a hardbound edition in 1939, and Derleth subsequently finished many of Lovecraft's incomplete works.