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Category Archives: Derleth, August W.

The Real John Wyndham

In the cupboard at The Place of Hawks there was also a manuscript with accompanying correspondence titled TIME TO REST by John Beynon. I have to admit I didn’t know what I was looking at but after consulting Sixty Years of Arkham House, here’s the scoop: John Beynon Harris of 22 Bedford Place. London, W.C.1– MUSeum 2161 submitted this story to August Derelth on September 3, 1948. It was accepted and was subsequently published in The Arkham Sampler Volume 2, No. 1 Winter 1949. The manuscript was bound in blue card with dark blue ribbon and consisted of 24 typed pages. The manuscript and correspondence is reproduced below. The author — John Beynon Harris (note his signature) is better known in fiction by his pseudonym JOHN WYNDHAM. Interesting historical footnote to The Arkham Sampler!

 

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cardboard what-cha-ma-call-its?

The four items pictured below came from that pile of comic strip ephemera in a cupboard in the home of August Derleth that is, at The Place of Hawks in Sauk City, Wisconsin. They are 5″ x 5″ pink cardboard ads for comic strips to be used as advertisement to be run in the Newspapers before the comic actually appeared in the Sunday section. I am told they are quite collectible and rare, but the name associated with them is so far lost on me. The first three are for Toonerville Folks 11-27, 11-28 and 11-30. They appear to have been created by F. Rox for the McNaught Syndicate, Inc. The fourth (5″ X 7″) appears to be an add for “Cordell Hull” a strip for TRUE COMICS. There appears to be a space left for “name of newspaper” in the bottom right column.

 

The Laboratory of Anthropology, Inc.

I have a number of collector’s prints of artifacts from Santa Fee, New Mexico. I will describe them as best I can. First of All I acquired them from a cupboard at Arkham House. They appear to be in three series. The First is titled “I-Sculptured Fetish” by Louie H. from The Masterpieces of Primitive American Art. This folder also contained a membership certificate for August Derleth, and I attach scans of both. I don’t know the provenance but in 1945, but must now have historical interest?

 
 

A Christmas Card from Frank Utpatel

to August Derleth -- from Marion and Frank Utpatel

August Derleth sent and received many Christmas cards during his career as a writing, publisher and family man. Christmas cards have become almost an anachromism in today’s world of e-mail, cell phones, and camera phones; somehow they are old fashioned, and expensive with postage charges, and international rates. I called overseas today with a flat rate of 2 cents per minute. A Christmas card would cost a minumum of $1.07 with HST! whereas with a telephone you get immediate feedback, with the give and take of social interaction. Here’s a scan of a card that the Utpatel’s sent to August Derleth in the 1940’s.

 

In Re: Pumpkin Carving

The three of us paged through the two pumpkin design books, and then approached the pumpkins with the carving equipment. We had enjoyed a leisurely lunch at The Blackhawk Restaurant, and had no other events planned for the rest of the afternoon. Henry Russell selected a ghostly gobblin, while Rodney Schroeter selected a cat sitting erect. When the job was done we sat back in our chairs, and watched the world go by, reflecting on the literary world, the August Derleth Society, the rise of Arkham House and the schedule of publications in the next two years, and finally how many angels will fit on the head of a pin!

 

Walden West 2010

I spent the Columbus Day Weekend again this year in Sauk City, Wisconsin. In Canada that’s The Thanksgiving Day Weekend. American Thanksiving is the last Thursday in November, and it is also a wonderful family tradition when families gather together to celebrate a successful harvest. I stayed in a small hotel on the edge of town,a nd Rick the manager was most an excellent host, and mounted a sign to advertise the event.

The members of the August Derleth Society met for dinner at The Feed Mill in Mazomanie.  I had the fish because it was Friday,  And left a tip to pay the bill by credit card only to find the gratuity had already bee added to the bill because it was a group event.  The scheduled  tour of the Train Museum was called off because the key was otherwise in use. Karen Nelson and Kay Price sat across from me, both fouunding members of the Society back in 1978.

The next morning toured the new August Derleth exhibit  at The Tripp Museum in Prairie du Sac which had been painstakingly assembled by the curator Jack Berndt. The group adjourned to the back room in the Blue Spoon across the street. This room has a gorgeous view of the Wisconsin River below the dam. The water level was at a record high because of records rains upriver.

The annual meeting followed on a early lunch. The neeting was chaired by Rodney Schroeter in the absence of Ken Grant, the President. The minutes will be posted by yours truly.  The group next gathered at The Freethinkers Hall. Kay Price gave a spell-binding presentation with the help of series of old photographs mounted on foam board, and received a long overdue globe from Mary Schweitzer. David Schweitzer gave an excellent reading Walden West impersonating August Derleth.

Henry and Pat Russell lead the car caravan to view the car colo(u)rs in the Baraboo Bluffs and ended up at Ski-Hi Apple Orchard for a wide selection of apples, coffee and especially apple pie.  It is interesting to note that August Derleth patronized the same orchard as far back as 1942 as the illustrated post-card from Jessie indicates. What are Whitneys? a type of apple back in the 1940s. This post card was dated August 26, 1943. In any case they still had Golden Delicious on sale that day.

The group travelled back for Jim Kirschstein’s presentation n the Sauk City Library. Both retrospective vignettes, memorable and well worth seeing again.

The group met wfor dinner at Leystra’s restaurant, and then assembled at Auigust Derelth’s grave for a poetry reading. I didn’t read a poem, but did give my annual report to Augie instead. There wasn’t a mishap with the two pumpkins this year, skilfully carved by Rodney Schroeter and Henry Russell.

The next morning I took a tour of August Derleth Park. The day before Sue Kennedy had presented her attempts to reintroduce native species back into the park. I hadn’t been there for some years, and it looked pretty good to my uneducated eye. So I snapped a picture of The Wisconsin River.

 

Contemplating Deerstalkers

I have observed over the years that most Sherlockians own a deerstalker hat. They don’t often wear them, because perhaps they are afraid of being identified as part of a fringe group of readers who might firmly believe in something their heart believes is true. But I purchased my own Fore-and-Aft Cap from a mailorder firm in Florida many years ago now, and which, undoubtedly, has gone out of business by now. It is well used and is beginning to fray at the edges, but it will do me for my remaining breathing time. But I have also inherited some deerstalkers from other Sherlockians.

My friend Bob Gray died some years ago now. He gave me two first editions of the Hound shortly before his death, along with countless other Sherlockian Treasures, including signed material from Richard Lancelyn Green whom he met at the Metro Toronto library in 1980 when Richard was doing research for his ACD Bibliography with John Michael Gibson. When Bob passed away, his family invited me to select some stuff and I ended up with Bob’s deerstalker, his reading lamp and his Betamax tape collection. The hat is a little small for me, but I will always treasure it.

When my friend Bill McCoy died last year, I was in the unenviable position of emptying his apartment. Most of the cupboards and drawers went to Good Will or The Salvation Army, but not his WWII Air Force Uniform, and not his Deerstalker. It too is a little small for me, but I will treasure it always.

When I travelled to Don Izban’s CCC (Canonical Convocation and Caper — I think) in 2005 Don Izban presented me with a handsome black and white checkered deerstalker which did fit, and I wear it proudly, and each time I wear it I remember the events of that late summer weekend in Door County, Wisconsin very fondly. It is a wonderful place to visit on the south shore of Lalke Superior. We took the ferry across Lake Michigan on the way home.

In early 2010, I purchased some of the books from the library of August Derleth from his daughter April Rose Derleth. His deerstalker came as part of that package. It was still hanging on a coat & hat-rack in his studio library upstairs at The Place of Hawks. I tried it on with trepidation. Alas, it too was small. But it had a label inside which intrigued me “Hawkshaw” this was undoubtedly the manufacturer. BUt it also reminded me of a comic Strip that Derleth collected over many years, and I plan to extract and republish from the State Historial Society in Madison. Hawkshaw the Detective. It had some name changes over the years because of conflict with those two reprobates Denis and Adrian Conan Doyle, but I think a collection of the Hawkshaw strips by whatever name would be a useful adjunct to the Sherlock literature — always remembering, never has so much been published by so many for so few!

And finally I contemplated Derleth’s Deerstalker itself. It had a shades of green and dark green checkered design that was familiar to me. The Mycroft & Moran logo than Coyne (not Utpatel) designed for Derleth in 1945. This hat was the model Derleth used for his logo for his Solar Pons stories!