Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) is considered to be one of the foundational authors of American weird and horror fiction. Before his death from cancer at age 46, he wrote over 50 short stories and novellas alongside 34 works written in collaboration with others, approx. 300 poems, and many other pieces on a wide variety of subjects, from amateur journalism to astronomy.
Like many writers of the past, Lovecraft was famously racist and xenophobic. He is often defended as being a product of his era, but even contemporaries and friends were at times shocked by his vehemence. While more prevalent in his correspondence, Lovecraft's views made their way into his fiction, often surfacing as a monstrous "other" to be feared and/or destroyed. Modern interpretations and offshoots of Lovecraft's work seek to grapple with Lovecraft's views and reshape his Mythos into a more inclusive space.
Image: H.P. Lovecraft silhouette by Perry, 1925. H.P. Lovecraft Collection, Brown University Library.
The Brown University Library collects material on Lovecraft, his circle, and his legacy.
The Library holds an extensive collection of Lovecraft's original manuscripts, extensive personal correspondence, poetry, and juvenilia, as well as books from his personal collection. The collection also includes over 2,000 editions of work published or influenced by Lovecraft, including books, periodicals, videos, sound recordings, and games. While extensive, it is not a collection of record nor an exhaustive holding of everything created on Lovecraft.
Manuscripts of Lovecraft's writing, correspondence, and other material, in addition to material from members of his circle, is inventoried in the collection finding aid. The majority of the collection has been digitized; items can be viewed by following the links in the finding aid or by visiting the collection page in the Brown Digital Repository. Materials that have been digitized are restricted from in-person use.
The library's holdings of books by and about Lovecraft, and books he owned, can be browsed through BruKnow, the Brown University Library catalog.
Image: Postcard from HPL to Barlow, Robert H., January 31, 1934. H.P. Lovecraft collection, Brown University Library.
The majority of the manuscripts and correspondence in the Lovecraft archive are restricted due to fragility. Most of the collection has been digitized and is accessible freely online.
Material that has not been digitized can, for the most part, be accessed in the John Hay Library Special Collections Reading Room. Instructions for accessing collection material can be found in this guide to visiting Special Collections.