Dudley Charles Newton (1864-1954) of New York and St. Augustine, Florida, was another mysterious friend of Lovecraft. His dates are from S.T. Joshi’s I Am Providence, who states that almost nothing is known about Newton. Presumably Joshi had the dates from The Unknown Lovecraft by Kenneth W. Faig Jr. Newton was Lovecraft’s elderly guide to St. Augustine, Florida, in 1931. He doesn’t appear to have been a correspondent of Lovecraft, and is missing from the 1937 address list.

He first appears in the online record in Club Men of New York: Their Clubs, College Alumni Associations (1902), listed as “NEWTON, DUDLEY C, millinery, …” Millinery being the profession of making ladies’ hats.

A Charlotte Griffing Griswold married a Dudley Charles Newton on 12th October 1904, on Long Island, New York. She died, age 28, on 8th April 1907 — and is buried in Guilford, Connecticut. A “Dudley C. Newton”, of Georgetown in Connecticut, is recorded in the Connecticut Motor Vehicle Register as owning a vehicle in summer 1915. This location is about 30 miles NE of New York City, suggesting he may have motored in to work in New York City. It seems he did, since he was a senior millinery buyer on Fifth Avenue.

A Dudley C. Newton left New York on the transatlantic ship Caledonia, bound for Glasgow in Scotland, on 14th June 1913. Presumably this was a buying trip to the Scottish tweed industry.

There is a 52 year old Dudley C. Newton, listed as disembarking at Ellis Island in New York on the transatlantic ship Chicago, from Bordeaux in France, on 19th July 1917. His age on the ship’s passenger list is right, if he was born 1864. One has to assume that this is Newton returning from Europe because of the American entry into the First World War on 6th April 1917. This appears to have been so, since we known that he brought back with him a copy of the Paris edition of The New York Herald, suggesting he had been in Paris. This is evidenced by the Millinery Trade Review (Volume 42, 1917, p.106), a New York trade journal which noted…

Paris Takes Note of Arrivals: A copy of the Paris edition of The New York Herald of July 1st, brought back by Dudley C. Newton, contains the following: “The Autumn millinery season for foreign buyers is due to open this week, but the…”

The Paris supposition is confirmed elsewhere in the same issue, which has a short article on Newton’s experiences…

“Nevertheless [despite the war], men and women buyers from the large department and wholesale millinery stores have braved these [ocean] dangers repeatedly since the submarine became a menace and have lived to return with gratitude. Dudley C. Newton, of Scully Brothers and Co., accompanied by F.T. Bartlett of The Lafayette Importing Company, returned to an American port, July 18th, having sailed for this side from Bordeaux. Both men had bought extensively of flowers [presumably silk, presumably for hats? …] “Hope I won’t see Paris again, under its present conditions, for a long long time” [he said, and reported the ship attacked by u-boats on the return to New York]”.

Given Newton’s going to Paris to buy flowers (presumably silk ones for hats) might there then be some connection of Newton to the work of Sonia H. Greene in her New York dept. store employment? Or (more likely) with her ill-fated independent hat shop just off New York’s Fifth Avenue? Could Newton in 1931 have been a retired professional colleague of Sonia? Perhaps one of her key suppliers or senior industry contacts in the hat-trade? If so, then this would suggest how Lovecraft knew Dudley Charles Newton and also why he was not noted as a correspondent in the 1937 diary.

His employers Scully Brothers & Co.. Inc. of New York, do appear to have been heavily involved in the hat trade at the time Sonia and Lovecraft were in New York, and in a very upmarket way since they were sited on Fifth Avenue and in Paris. In 1919 the Millinery Trade Review records them as…

“Scully Brothers & Company 417 Fifth Ave. NEW YORK and PARIS, 42 Rue de Paradis, HATS OF QUALITY UNSUPPASSED”

Scully Bros. later moved to 32 West 47th Street around 1920 or 1921. They are recorded as having patented a number of “N.Y. Ladies’ trimmed hats.” in 1922. They also later made winter shoulder capes which included “all-wool tartan plaid” linings, perhaps suggesting why Newton would have embarked on his ship to Scotland rather than London in summer 1913, since he could then have visited the weavers of the Scottish tartan industry.

I also wonder if he may be the same Dudley C. Newton who wrote credited (and possibly syndicated?) crosswords for newspapers in the early 1940s? This is one from the Montreal Gazette

newton

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