Category Archives: Philately

H.P. Lovecraft envelope to Howard Wandrei

HPL Letter to Wandrei-Front HPL Letter to Wandrei-Back

Here is a straight forward empty No. 10 envelope addressed to Howard Wandrei from HPL. I have no idea what it originally contained, but Derleth saved it for the 3 cent Washington on the front cover. The group contents would be most appreciative and informative to all.



H.P. Lovecraft letter to Robert Barlow




HPL Letter to Barlow-Front HPL Letter to Barlow-Back

Here is an empty envelope from HPL to Robert Barlow in Daytona Beach. I believe he lives here before he moved to Mexico where he died. The little note on the back is intriguing. I wonder in the building at this address is still standing? or has it been demolished and rebuilt? Anyone want to check it out?


H.P. Lovecraft envelope to Clark Ashton Smith

HPL Letter to CAS-Front HPL Letter to CAS-Back

Here’s an empty envelope from HPL to Clark Ashton Smith. How it ended up in Derleth’s box of stamps is simply beyond me. However the return address at the V of the flap is characteristic, and the note is undecipherable to the uninformed, but I am confident the serious scholars will have fun with it. The contents of this envelope has undoubtedly survived in some collection or library somewhere. Your comments would be most appreciated.


Follow the Money

Here is another empty Registered Letter that was in that same box. It is dated 12 April 1940 on the reverse, from Donald Wandrei to Derleth. I speculate that it contained Donald share of the the expense to produce “The Outsider and Others” likely a cashier’s check, money order, but certainly not cash. The letter and the amount might well be in the archives at The State Historical Society. This is dated before America entered the war, and Donald was subsequently called up to serve.

Wandrei Registered Letter to Derleth 1040 Wandrei Registered Letter to Derleth 1040 - back


Derleth and The Guggenheim Foundation

Guggenheim to Derleth 1939

I purchased August Derleth’s stamp collection from April Derleth in 2010, and subsequently purchased Augie’s collection of FDC’s from David Rajchel the following year mounted in two blue binders. There was a box of stamps on paper, and envelopes and stationary dating right back to the 1930s. Here is but one of the covers. I speculate that this is the envelope that August received which notified him that he had won the prize, or perhaps it contained the check for $2,500 (Alison WIlson Bibliography). in any case August spent the money to bind his extensive collection of Comic Strips that he had meticulously collected since he was chilld. This collection now resides in the State Historical Society in Madison. Interesting! How a single envelope can tell a story. I am confident that Augie opened it, emptied the contents, and threw it into the box of philatelic odds and ends, only to be removed some 70 years later.



One man’s trash is another boy’s treasure!

In February 1995, after Austin McLean introduced us, Peter Ruber and I started to lay out Vincent Starrett’s collected Poetry which forms Volume 1 of The Vincent Starrett Memorial Library. We talked regularly on the phone, much to the chagrin of Sandra, my secretary. I used to pick up the mail every morning, and one morning I picked up a parcel that I was not expecting from Peter. It contained four manuscripts which Peter later told me had been sitting on his bookshelf since 1971: “Country Matters” by August Derleth; “Return to Sac Prairie” by August Derleth; “The Game is Afoot!” by Charles Layng; and a 4th which I didn’t publish but subsequently sold to a collector, and sent the proceed to Peter. Peter also included a number of Sherlockian ephemeral items, and when I asked him about them, because I immediately called him as soon as I opened the parcel, Peter noted that he no longer had any interest in them, but he didn’t want to throw them out! The one that immediately caught my interest, because I am a life long philatelist was the pamphlet I attach here as a pdf. It appears to me to be the 1957 Christmas offering from Julian Wolff. I’ve never seen another one like it. and woe is me, I have not checked it in De Waal! A Ramble in Bohemia


The Derleth-Trimpey Correspondence

Ephraim Burt Trimpey of Baraboo, Wisconsin was a photographer and a philatelist. He did photographic work for Arkham House and Derleth, and the two exchanged Christmas greetings. The back of the card featuring John and his wife in a sleigh is the inscription “Again old Dobbin and the Trimpeys bring you friendly Christmas greetings.”  Here are three covers which Derleth saved for the stamps and not the envelopes themselves. I have described the Derleth cinderella elsewhere, but you should also not the strip of three 1 cent National Parks issue with a plate number “21247.” This was a common practice for Derleth. He would include a return envelope addressed with postage — many with collectible plate numbers — to his customers when sending book orders out. When Augie received payment he would add the used plate numbers to his collection. Also note the 1 cent George Washington with plate number “21826” and the motto “Portraiture of the Better Kind.” It is interesting to contemplate that what is ephemeral and quite disposable one day becomes a collectible in the following decades — in this case seven decades.

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Arkham House, Philately