Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937 H. P. Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother was Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and his father was Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman for Gorham & Co. Silversmtihs. Lovecraft was reciting poetry at the age of two and when he was three years old, his father suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to Butler Hospital. He spent five years there before dying on July 19, 1898 of paresis, a form of neurosyphillis. During those five years, Lovecraft was told that his father was paralyzed and in a coma, which was not the case. His mother, two aunts and grandfather were now bringing up Lovecraft. He suffered from frequent illnesses as a boy, many of which were psychological. He began writing between the ages of six and seven and, at about the age of eight, he discovered science. He began to produce the hectographed journals, "The Scientific Gazette" (1899-1907) and "The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy" (1903-07). His first appearance in print happened, in 1906, when he wrote a letter on an astronomical matter to The Providence Sunday Journal. A short time later, he began writing a monthly astronomy column for The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner - a rural paper. He also wrote columns for The Providence Tribune (1906-08), The Providence Evening News (1914-18), The Asheville (N.C.) Gazette-News (1915). In 1904, his grandfather died and the family suffered severe financial difficulties, which forced him and his mother to move out of their Victorian home. Devastated by this, he apparently contemplated suicide. In 1908, before graduating from high school, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He didn't receive a diploma and failed to get into Brown University, both of which caused him great shame. Lovecraft was not heard from for five years, reemerging because of a letter he wrote in protest to Fred Jackson's love story in The Argosy. His letter was published in 1913 and caused great controversy, which was noted by Edward F. Daas, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA). Daas invited Lovecraft to join the UAPA, which he did in early 1914. He eventually became President and Official Editor of the UAPA and served briefly as President of the rival National Amateur Press Association (NAPA). He published thirteen issues of his own paper, The Conservative (1915-23) and contributed poetry and essays to other journals. He also wrote some fiction which titles include "The Beast in the Cave" (1905), "The Alchemist" (1908), "The Tomb" and "Dagon" (1917). In 1919, Lovecraft's mother was deteriorating, mentally and physically, and was admitted to Butler Hospital. On May 24, 1921, his mother died from a gall bladder operation. While attending an amateur journalism convention in Boston, Lovecraft met his future wife Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew. They were married on March 3, 1924 and Lovecraft moved to her apartment in Brooklyn. Sonia had a shop on Fifth Avenue that went bankrupt. In 1925, Sonia went to Cleveland for a job and Lovecraft moved to a smaller apartment in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn. In 1926, he decided to move back to Providence. Lovecraft had his aunts bar his wife, Sonia, from going to Providence to start a business because he couldn't have the stigma of a tradeswoman wife. They were divorced in 1929. After his return to Providence, he wrote his greatest fiction, which included the titles "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926), "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931), and "The Shadow Out of Time" (1934-35). In 1932, his aunt, Mrs. Clark, died; and he moved in with his other aunt, Mrs. Gamwell, in 1933. Suffering from cancer of the intestine, Lovecraft was admitted to Jane Brown Memorial Hospital and on March 15, 1937 he died.
Author Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943. He earned degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. He taught English at his former high school for three years and worked for a time on his doctorate in Ireland. He began writing in 1969 and published two books of poetry in 1972. His novel Julia (1975) was an attempt to find a successful genre in which to work, after his first novel, Marriages (1973), did not sell well. He found that he had a talent for writing horror thrillers in the Gothic tradition. His stories are complex and well paced, with authentic settings that add to the believability of the plot. He is particularly good at creating grotesque characters and gruesome situations; the eeriness of his work is captivating. He has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.