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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.

 

 

Who Owns Undershaw?

Undershaw, view looking South

Disclaimer: This blog is a collaboration with John Michael Gibson (JMG). It is not meant to be a solicitation for funds.

When the Undershaw property was put on the market in 2003 by the Bridger family at a price in excess of £1,000,000 there was immediate interest by a number of purchasers, and sold quite rapidly.

In February 2004, the property was sold to Fossway Limited registered in The British Virgin Islands for £1.1 million. The beneficial owner(s) remain unknown up to the present day.

Throughout the debâcle which ensued, JMG always assumed that three local gentlemen, brothers Neil and John Caffrey, and Desmond Moore were the owners throughout the dealings and planning applications with Waverley Borough Council.

The name of the beneficial owner did not become apparent in the High Courts of Justice in 2012, nor in any of the submissions thereto, nor in the two subsequent appeals later in 2012 to the best of our knowledge.

When Aequitas Ltd put the For Sale Board on the property in December 2012, their agent Rupert Maxwell-Brown declined to identity the owner. I know because I asked him myself! and the asking price was £1.2 million.

I now understand that the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  Heritage Centre Limited a registered charity #1154718 is in the process of negotiating an option to purchase at a price of £1.65 million with somebody.

We now ask “Who?” I understand that Marek Ujma, the Chief Organizer for The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Heritage Centre is presently negotiating an option to purchase which is time delimited to six months in order to raise the necessary money to complete the transaction; and the purchase is arranged through a sales agent for the owner in Guildford  by the name of Damon Lidbury of Pinks. Damon has signed a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with the owner.

This agreement is presently with the Fossway Limited’s solicitors for final approval, and then the clock will start to tick, and fundraising will then commence. This option has been an on-again-off-again affair, and in our view has a miniscule chance of success. This has been a magnificence negotiation but I fear it will come to nought!

JMG and I would like to know the name of the beneficial owner(s), because at his or her or their feet lay the responsibility for the present debâcle, make no mistake about that. There is a human being behind this mess, and these same fellow(s) or gal(s) have set the asking price of £1.65 million. This has not been the action of Fossway’s agent, as we are currently led to believe.

Posy Metz of English Heritage is presently in consultation to raise the Grading from Grade 2 to Grade 1 or Grade 2.*star. Either upgrade will result in a huge increase in the cost to restore. Hopefully Waverley Borough Council can be persuaded to serve a schedule of dilapidations, and if these are not complied with, subsequently serve a compulsory purchase order.

It is said that History is written by the winner. There is no clear winner here yet, but there will be — one way or the other.

We repeat “Who Owns Undershaw? This is a great literary home which is now in scandalous disrepair?”

One might ask Matthew Evans, the Chief Planning Officer for Waverley Borough Council. One might ask Damon Lidbury, One might ask Michael Wilson, the architect who designed the Nine Condo Plan which was ultimately squashed in the High Court. One might ask Damon Lidbury, Fossway’s sales agent at Pinks, (but he won’ tell you because he has signed an NDA). One might ask Desmond Moore who originally presented the plan approved by Waverley Borough Council and was squashed. One might ask DM Planning of Guildford, but they are unlikely to identify their client. And finally one might ask one of Fossway’s Solicitors, past or present, but you’re not likely to have any one of them identify their client.

Our best guess, at present, is that the present owner(s) of Undershaw reside(s) … two miles south of Gatwick.

 

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