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    "'The Horror of Red Hook', alone, indicates his violent hatred not only for Jews but for all foreigners."

    [H. P. Lovecraft] Vast Archive of Letters from Lovecraft's Ex-Wife, Sonia to Samuel Loveman of "The Lovecraft Circle."
    The archive presented here is composed of the following manuscript material, all from Sonia Lovecraft Davis, nee Greene, to Samuel Loveman (unless otherwise noted) dated between 1947 and 1968:

    Autograph Letter Signed "S", with envelope, two pages, September 14, 1947, Hotel Chicagoan stationery, ink.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", two pages, October 26, 1947, plain paper.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", eight pages, November 1, 1947, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, March 3, 1948, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, four pages, June 18, 1949, plain paper, pencil.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, one page, August 9, 1949, plain paper.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, three pages, April 24, 1950, plain paper, ink.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, August 16, 1950, plain paper.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", one page, August 18, 1950, plain paper.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, October 29, 1950, plain bifolia paper, ink.

    Typed Letter Signed "SHD", one page, July 26, 1951, plain paper.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, August 21, 1951, plain paper.

    Typed Letter Signed "S", with envelope, two pages, August 29, 1951, plain paper. Includes a handwritten postscript, also signed "S".

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope one page, September 1, 1951, plain bifolia paper, ink. Accompanied by a one-page Typed Letter Signed from Spanish historian and novelist Adolph de Castro to Sonia.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, one page, October 31, 1951, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, September 25, 1954, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, four pages, June 24, 1966, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, three pages, July 19, 1968, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, two pages, July 30, 1968, plain paper, ink.

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, one page, August 10, 1968, plain paper, ink. Accompanied by a change of address card from Sonia to Loveman.

    Typed Letter Signed "Sonia", one page, undated, plain paper. Second page of a two page letter (no first page).

    Also included in this marvelous collection is the following:

    Autograph Letter Signed "Sonia", with envelope, one page, undated [envelope postmarked October 27, 1966], to Alyce Loveman, plain paper, ink.

    Sonia Lovecraft, later Sonia Davis, and Samuel Loveman met when the former was married to H. P. Lovecraft, and the couple lived in New York City. Sonia was a self-sufficient, middle class working woman, somewhat difficult in the early days of the last century. She is perhaps best known for being president of the Amateur Press Association, which is how she came to know Lovecraft, and later Samuel Loveman. Loveman, a poet and bookdealer, was a member of the unofficial "Lovecraft Circle," a small band of writers and amateur journalists who corresponded with the now famous Providence recluse until his untimely death from intestinal cancer in 1937.

    This collection of letters from Sonia to Loveman stands as testament to a lifelong friendship brought to life by the tragic death of a mutual friend. From Sonia's letters, it is evident the two shared a cordial friendship, with Sonia constantly encouraging Loveman to cheer up or eat better. She writes in the August 21, 1951 TLS "Would that I knew how to teach you not to worry..." And she constantly berates Loveman, good-naturedly, to respond to her letters. They also often discussed Lovecraft himself, with the majority of Sonia's letters mentioning him in one respect or another. Specifically, Sonia details for Loveman her late ex-husband's anti-Semitism. In the June 18, 1949 ALS dated, Sonia writes: "My expose of Howard's anti-semitism was very mild in comparison to its real force. I did not tell everything. Tho' Derleth insists that in his later yrs. H. P. changed his mind considerably in his attitude toward the Jewish people. Personally, I don't believe he did." Further, in the August 16, 1950 TLS presented here, Sonia writes that "I would not be at all surprised to find that HP had taught all or most of his gentile and Christian correspondents, also, to hate Jews and giving these correspondents reasons for wiping them out, a la Hitler." In this letter, and in her next two of August 18, 1950 and October 29, 1950, Sonia asks Loveman for a copy of a 1926 Lovecraft letter in which Lovecraft states emphatically his hatred for the Jews. In the subsequent letters, there is no mention that she ever received the letter from Loveman, who certainly resented learning of his late friend's dislike for the Jewish people. In fact, when Loveman, a Jew, realized the extent of Lovecraft's anti-semitism and racism from Sonia, he burned most of his letters from Lovecraft (as Sonia also did).

    Most of the letters in this archive are in fine or better condition, with usual mailing folds. The September 25, 1954 letter has been toned on the surface from newspaper clippings that were kept with the letter, else it is also in fine condition. This is a truly unique collection of letters from the wife of H. P. Lovecraft to one of his closest friends, Samuel Loveman.

    "Sonia Haft Greene was a Russian Jew seven years older than Lovecraft, but he was captivated by her devotion to amateur letters and what on the surface appeared to be a similar view of the world. Their courtship cut short a budding romance (of which we know very little) between Lovecraft and the amateur poet Winifred Virginia Jackson, but it took three years for Lovecraft and Sonia to decide on marriage. When they did so Lovecraft told his aunts by letter after the ceremony had taken place at St. Paul's Cathedral in New York; perhaps he feared that Sonia's racial heritage, and the fact that she ran a successful millinery shop on Fifth Avenue, would not have met with the approval of two elderly ladies of old New England stock.

    Was Lovecraft's marriage doomed to failure? It is easy to say such a thing after the fact, but there is no reason to believe it. Who knows what might have happened had a series of disasters not hit the couple almost immediately upon their marriage? - the collapse of Sonia's shop; the inability of Lovecraft to find a job in New York; Sonia's ill health, which forced her to leave the household and seek recuperation in various rest homes; and, perhaps most important, Lovecraft's growing horror of New York - its oppressive size, the hordes of "aliens" at every corner, its emphasis on speed, money, and commercialism. The many friends Lovecraft had in the city - Samuel Loveman, Rheinhart Kleiner, Arthur Leeds, and especially the young poet and fantaisiste Frank Belknap Long, Jr. - were not enough to ward off depression and even incipient madness. On 1 January 1925, after only ten months of cohabitation with Sonia, Lovecraft moved into a single room in a squalid area of Brooklyn, as his wife left to seek employment in the Midwest; she thereafter returned only intermittently to New York. " (S.T. Joshi: An Epicure in the Terrible: A Centennial Anthology of Essays in Honor of H.P. Lovecraft, 1991)

    "Although Lovecraft had many friends in New York-Frank Belknap Long, Rheinhart Kleiner, Samuel Loveman-he became increasingly depressed by his isolation and the masses of "foreigners" in the city. His fiction turned from the nostalgic ("The Shunned House" (1924) is set in Providence) to the bleak and misanthropic ("The Horror at Red Hook" and "He" (both 1924) lay bare his feelings for New York). Finally, in early 1926, plans were made for Lovecraft to return to the Providence he missed so keenly. But where did Sonia fit into these plans? No one seemed to know, least of all Lovecraft. Although he continued to profess his affection for her, he acquiesced when his aunts barred her from coming to Providence to start a business; their nephew could not be tainted by the stigma of a tradeswoman wife. The marriage was essentially over, and a divorce in 1929 was inevitable." (S.T. Joshi: Howard Phillips Lovecraft: The Life of a Gentleman of Providence) From the Robert and Diane Yaspan Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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