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Howard P. Lovecraft

Howard P. Lovecraft

(1890-1937) ~ Inducted 1992


Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips), 1890-1937

Mr. Lovecraft was a great writer of supernatural fiction and a serious disciple of Poe.  A sincere artist, original thinker, and outstanding American writer, he was published throughout the world and translated into more than a dozen languages.  A uniquely Rhode Island figure with some of his work set in Providence, he was a significant regional New England writer.

Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in his family home at 194 (later 456) Angell Street in Providence, spening most of his life in Providence and attended Hope High School. At the age of three, Lovecraft's father was placed in Butler Hopsital where he would live the remainder of his life. Young Lovecraft was raised by his mother, his two aunts, and his maternal grandfather. He showed a precocious tendency towards story telling and make-believe throughout his childhood. By the time he was 31, he had published his first commercial story. 

In 1924 he moved to Brooklyn with his bride Sylivia Greene. Sylvia supported her husband while he wrote and socialized with other literary types. After the failure of her business, she relocated while Howard stayed in Brooklyn before returning to Providence in 1926 where he resided in a Victorian home on 10 Barnes Street  until 1933. In Providence, his career flourished. In the last decade of his life, he produced short stories, as well as his longest work The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness. He frequently revised work for other authors and did a large amount of ghost-writing. Harry Houdini was a fan and friend. Some of Lovecraft's work was inspired by his own nightmares. His interest started from his childhood days when his grandfather would tell him Gothic horror stories. Lovecraft's most significant literary influence was Edgar Allan Poe. He was also influenced by was influenced by Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood. He also drew inspiration from scientific progress in biology, astronomy, geology, and physics. An amateur astronomer, Lovecraft frequent visited Ladd Obervatory and penning numerous astronomical articles for local newspapers.

Unfortunately for Lovecraft, during his lifetime his stories did not earn him enough to live on and he was forced to downsize and move in with his sole surviving aunt. In 1936 Lovecraft was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine, and as a result he suffered from malnutrition. He lived in constant pain until his death on March 15, 1937, in Providence.

Lovecraft was interred along with his parents on the Phillips family monument, however, his fans raised the money to buy him a headstone of his own in Swan Point Cemetery, on which they had inscribed Lovecraft's name, the dates of his birth and death, and the phrase "I AM PROVIDENCE."

Groups of enthusiasts annually observe the anniversaries of Lovecraft's death at Ladd Observatory and of his birth at his grave site. In July 2013, the Providence City Council designated the intersection of Angell and Prospect streets near the author's former residences as "H. P. Lovecraft Memorial Square" and installed a commemorative sign.


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