A Short Biography of Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island to Sarah Susan Phillips, and father Winfield Scott Lovecraft, who was currently employed as a salesman for Gorham & Company Silversmiths. At the age of three, the pattern of tragedies started with the nervous breakdown of his father. Winfield was sent to the hospital where he would rest in a coma for five years before dying of paresis in 1898.

After the loss of his father, Lovecraft and his mother were taken care of financially by his grandfather, a wealthy industrialist. Lovecraft’s grandfather was a very important part of his life. He often shared stories with him, and approved of his poetry and fiction writing. He probably gave him the most support of anyone until his own death in 1904. Howard was then left with his mother, and two aunts.

The family fell into financial troubles, and Lovecraft himself would experience psychological problems, often contemplating suicide, and because of a breakdown, dropped out of highschool and abandoned plans for college. Lovecraft all but abandoned his intrest in horror and became a recluse for several years.

In the following years, Lovecraft’s intrest in weird fiction began again. He started to submit poetry and essays to various journals, and became a member of both the United Amateur Press Association and the National Amateur Press Association (the rival organization which he was president of briefly). It was in these surroundings that some of his famous earlier works were written, as well as the start of his well-known correspondence with friends which would be collected and studied in years after his death.

The tragedy in his life would continue in 1919, with the suffering of Lovecraft’s mother from severe psychological problems and her admittance into the same hospital as her late husband. She passed away in 1921 due to a bad gall bladder operation. Lovecraft was devestated by the loss, but would recover.

Soon after his mother’s death, Lovecraft came to meet his future wife, Sonia Haft Greene, at a journalism convention in Boston. After their marriage in 1924, he moved in with her in her Brooklyn apartment. It was during this time that Lovecraft would see some of his biggest success with the publishing of several works into ‘Weird Tales’. His wife ran a hat shop in New York, and things were looking promising.

Many more problems were soon to come. Sonia’s hat shop went bankrupt, and her health began to deteriorate. Lovecraft stayed by her side until she was forced to take a job in Cleveland to survive. Lovecraft had trouble finding stable employment (having no experience with traditional jobs) and would remain in Brooklyn, in an area called Red Hook. This seperation would eventually lead to their divorce.

His writing continued, and in 1926 he made plans to return to his home in Providence to live with his two aunts in the place he grew up in. Lovecraft would continue to write, and his most well known works would be created.

In 1932 one of Lovecraft’s aunts died, and while facing financial hardships once again, he began to sell other works including non-fiction, and ghost-written works. Lovecraft was allready quite ill at this time, and entered the hospital on Marth 10, 1937 where he would die five days later from intestinal cancer at the age of forty six.

Lovecraft never had a true book published, and his voluminous letters, poetry, and stories would eventually be gathered up and made known to the world by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei (Arkham House Publishers).