Arkham House Collection (August Derleth)

Identity elements

Reference code

TxAM-CRS C000195

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Arkham House Collection (August Derleth)


  • 1930-1953 (Creation)


4 boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

August Derleth's career started at age 15 with the sale of a story to Weird Tales. He was a prolific and varied writer. During his career, he published over 100 novels, short stories, poetry volumes, biographies, histories, articles, and essays. He wrote historical fiction novels as well as poetry, juvenile fiction, mysteries, and science fiction/fantasy tales. Derleth himself was an avid reader; his personal library numbered approximately 12,000 volumes. He was also a nature enthusiast; his love for nature is apparent in many of his works. Derleth collected American commemorative stamps and comics; he reputedly had the world's largest collection of comics.

August Derleth began Arkham House Publishing to publish the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Ironically, the two never met. While Derleth was young, he and Lovecraft began corresponding with one another. They typically exchanged letters several times a month until Lovecraft's death.

  • February 2, 1904: born in Sauk City, WI to William Julius and Rose Louise Derleth
  • 1930: University of Wisconsin, B.A.
  • 1930-1931: associate editor, Fawcett Publications, Milwaukee
  • 1931-1971: free-lance write
  • 1934-1943: contributing editor, Outdoors Magazine
  • 1937-1943: served as director, Sauk City Board of Education
  • 1938: winner of Guggenheim Fellowship (sponsored by Sinclair Lewis, Edgar Lee Masters, and Helen Constance White)
  • 1939-1943: special lecturer in American Regional Literature at the University of Wisconsin
  • 1939-1971: publisher, Arkham House
  • 1941-1971: literary editor and weekly columnist (1961-1971) for the Capital Times
  • 1953: married Sandra Evelyn Winters (two children, April Rose and Walden William)
  • 1958: 1st prize winner in Scholastic Magazine's short story contest for "The Tail of the Dog"
  • 1959: divorced from Sandra Evelyn Winters Derleth
  • 1966: winner, Governor's Award. for distinguished service to the creative arts for Return to Walden West
  • July 4, 1971: died

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Arkham House Collection consists of correspondence from August Derleth to Howard Wandrei. Derleth, a writer, founded Arkham House to publish and keep in print the work of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a friend and fellow writer. Lovecraft died in 1937; for the next two years Derleth tried unsuccessfully to find a publisher for Lovecraft's writings. Using money from prepaid orders and the personal investment of Donald Wandrei (brother of Howard Wandrei), Derleth founded Arkham House in 1939. Arkham House published science fiction works by Lovecraft and other writers such as Algernon Blair, Clark Ashton Smith and Henry S. Whitehead.

In his letters to fellow science-fiction writer Howard Wandrei, August Derleth writes about his publishing efforts at Arkham House, his own writing career and the details of his personal life. His letters also mention other authors and publishing houses. The letters date from 1930-1953; most letters are accompanied by the original stamped envelopes.

System of arrangement

This collection is organized into 4 boxes. Letters are chronological.

Box 1 - Correspondence

Box 2 - Correspondence

Box 3 - Correspondence

Box 4 - Correspondence

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Restricted. Please contact Cushing Library staff to access this collection.

Physical access

These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Other Information:

Fully Processed

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Cushing Library. All rights reserved.

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places