Online at HathiTrust, Bulletin of the Providence libraries, a monthly listing of new books, 1900-1901. Lovecraft then aged about 9½ to 10½, the Bulletin then sent to “each party holding a card in the Public Library”. So presumably the Lovecraft household had a copy via someone, if not Lovecraft himself. Perhaps his family preferred the more exclusive Athenaeum (the city’s private library), but it would have been a social faux pas not to also support the cause of the grand new Public Library through membership of it.

An interesting glimpse into the catalog available to the young Lovecraft. Here are some of the books on the ‘new books’ shelves at the Providence Public Library, in those years, and presumably also still there to be picked up in Lovecraft’s teenage years…

Egyptian Magic.
London Burial Grounds.
Babylonian Religion and Mythology.
Imagination in Dreams, and their study.
The Riddle of the Universe (Hackel).

It also appears to have had a good folklore section, with volumes on Danish, Irish, and other national folklores being added in a single year.

For a complete list of the journals and other periodicals taken in 1906, when the fifteen year old Lovecraft might have been expected to start taking an interest in the more specialised and tehcnical of them, see the 1906 Annual Report.

providence_public_library_1900Picture: Providence Public Library, [March] 1900. Picture: Collection of Providence Public Library. Lovecraft then 9½ years old, the picture taken to document the newly opened new Children’s Library (details). One wonders at the similarity of a boy, third from the left, to the young Lovecraft.

1898-ALovecraft, circa age eight. Hair, ear shape, slight chin-cleft, and general appearance all very similar.

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