Name and location of repository
Level of description
Arkham House Collection (August Derleth)
- 1930-1953 (Creation)
Name of creator
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.
These materials are stored offsite and require additional time for retrieval.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
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Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
Description control element
Rules or conventions
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