Now available for pre-order and set to ship in August, H.P. Lovecraft: Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge & Anne Tillery Renshaw. Lovecraft corresponded with the disabled Elizabeth Toldridge for eight years, it seems mainly on poetry and politics. Anne Tillery Renshaw was an amateur colleague of the 1910s, who later became a rather tedious revision client. The letters are “unabridged”, and with “annotations by David E. Schultz and S.T. Joshi”.

Elizabeth Toldridge (1861-1940), graduated 1880 (although I have been unable to discover from where). Also corresponded with Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., although possibly only briefly as only one letter from her is in his archives. S.T. Joshi states that in Lovecraft’s time Toldridge lived the life of an invalid in various dingy hotels in Washington D.C. Her two volumes of verse appear to have been The Soul of Love (c.1910) and Mother’s Love Songs (1910). These show that, up to age 50 at least, she wrote ladies’ verse in the conventional Edwardian style. Although one can see, in at least one of her later poems, a somewhat more vigorous style. One wonders if this improvement was due to Lovecraft’s influence. For instance, this is the opening section of her poem “Washington” (pub. 1932) on George Washington…

   Some men are born to glory, as the day
   Awakes to travail and the night, to stars!

   And he, the predestined, was of such fine clay
   It fit his spirit as white sails their spars.

   Travail and star were ever rim to rim —
   His very toil was dream and prophecy.

She also set some of her poems to music, for instance writing the words and music of the song “Flag of My Home and Heart” (1921). This, in its use of the line “America-linking East and West” seems to show the influence of Walt Whitman…

   Flag of my home and heart!
   America-linking East and West,
   To heroic stature grown…”

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