A free book from 1948 in digital facsimile, Angell’s Lane: the history of a little street in Providence, a complete history of Angell’s Lane. Angell’s Lane is now called Thomas Street, home of the Fleur-de-Lys Studios in Providence. Note the book has a handy annotated and referenced “list of Rhode Island Artists” and sculptors, from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This might be useful for some Lovecraftian scholar in the future.

The nearby Seril Dodge house in Thomas Street also has a free and very detailed history article online.

On the endpapers of the Angell’s Lane book is “Thomas Street 1932” by Helen M. Grose, although badly scanned…

thmas-st-providence-1932-helen-m-grose

Grose leads to some interesting racial fears of the time. Helen Mason Grose (1880-1960) was a member of the Providence Art Club and a local book illustrator who worked for national publishers. She was married to Howard B. Grose (b. 1851), who wrote ‘slum missionaries’ books on immigration such as Aliens or Americans? (1906) and The Incoming Millions (1906 Second Edition). Meant as primers for junior missionaries into the immigrant areas, taken together these two books appear to form virtually a complete high-school primer and study course on Lovecraft’s race fears. Complete with study questions at the end of each chapter, in Aliens or Americans?. One wonders if this was the sort of Christian race literature the teenage Lovecraft encountered during his mysterious teen years with the Men’s Club of the First Universalist Church of Providence? Aliens or Americans? is introduced with this poem from Thomas Bailey Aldrich — an example of how Lovecraft was certainly not alone in his fear of the Eastern hordes and what gods they might bring to America…

UNGUARDED GATES

   Wide open and unguarded stand our gates,
   And through them presses a wild, motley throng–
   Men from the Volga and the Tartar steppes,
   Featureless figures of the Hoang-Ho,
   Malayan, Scythian, Teuton, Celt, and Slav,
   Flying the old world’s poverty and scorn;
   These bringing with them unknown gods and rites,
   Those, tiger passions, here to stretch their claws.
   In street and alley what strange tongues are these,
   Accents of menace alien to our air,
   Voices that once the Tower of Babel knew!
   
   …

The picture below is also by Helen M. Grose, possibly in Providence. The children and mother perhaps evoke something of Lovecraft’s infant perambulations with his mother, and perhaps someone might recognise the building as one known to Lovecraft? The auctioneer suggests Brown University.

grose-providence

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