The Wikipedia police would plaster this with “not notable!” and other warning banners within seconds of my posting it. Or it even be automatically deleted by the idiot-bots. But it’s here, for what it’s worth:—


Franklin Chase Clark (26th May 1847 — 26th April 1915) was a medical doctor of Rhode Island, and an author. He is notable as an uncle of the writer H.P. Lovecraft, and he had a formative influence on the young Lovecraft.

Life:

Clark was a graduate of Brown University (A.B., 1869), attended Harvard Medical School in 1869-70, and took his M.D. certificate from the New York City College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1872. He practised first as an outpatients’ surgeon at the main hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and then set himself up as a general practitioner.

He was a distant relative of the Lovecraft family, and then at the age of 55 in 1902 — after being freed from obligations by the recent death of his parents — he married Lillian Delora Phillips (1856-1932) who was then 46 years old and who was H.P. Lovecraft’s elder aunt.

Clarke died of cerebral haemorrhage and “chronic Bright’s disease”.

Influence on Lovecraft:

Clark was the author of translations of Greek and Roman works such as Homer, Virgil, and Lucretius. Between the years 1902 and 1905 it appears that he was able to greatly correct the writing style of the young home-schooled Lovecraft. He also helped Lovecraft compile a “Manual of Roman Antiquities”, possibly as an exercise in formal writing. Lovecraft was also encouraged to continue his pursuits of chemistry and astronomy, and his publication of small hectographed magazines. Immediately after Clark’s death in 1915 H.P. Lovecraft wrote a conventional elegy, “An Elegy on Franklin Chase Clark, MD” which was published in the Providence Evening News. Lovecraft also referred to Clark in his letters…

“Dr. Franklin Chase Clark, a distant relative who had become a closer kin through marriage to my aunt, began to influence my intellectual development. He was a man of vast learning”

From 1926 until her death Clark’s widow shared an apartment with H.P. Lovecraft at 10 Barnes Street, at the rear of Brown University. The rent was very low, and it may have only been possible to acquire the rooms because her husband had been a graduate of Brown.

Works:

In addition to his classical translations, Clark was also the author of many scientific and medical papers. He wrote at least one foreword to a catalogue of the Providence Art Club, and the novel ”Susan’s Obituary : Sketches of New England life” (Moshassuck Press, 1996).

Clark became a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1907, and he wrote a number of papers on local history. His researches are said to have contributed greatly to knowledge of the Lovecraft family genealogy.

In relation to Lovecraft’s work, it is interesting to note that Clark wrote articles and papers on: undersea ‘sponge cities’ (“A Curious City”, 1878); hypnotism (n.d.); and the local history of the circus (“The Ring in Providence”, 1909).

Clark’s papers are now held by the Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts Division, and these include some unpublished historical papers.

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