Life after Lovecraft

Sonia and Nathaniel Davis, circa 1936.

Sonia Haft Davis (1883-1972) would have lived her life in relative obscurity but for her 2-year marriage to a man named Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937).   Lovecraft was a science fiction and horror writer whose work has created a significant and active fan base.  To preserve her own literary output and the work of her third husband, Nathaniel A. Davis, Sonia donated materials documenting their lives to Brown University.  Those papers are now available for research in the Sonia H. and Nathaniel A. Davis papers (MS.2012.003) at the John Hay Library.

Those looking for information about H.P. Lovecraft in the papers of his ex-wife will be disappointed.  The bulk of the materials in this collection document the life of Sonia Davis from 1930 to 1972, during which time she lived in California and was married to Nathaniel A. Davis. Sonia and Nathaniel were both devoted to the idea of world peace and wrote numerous articles and poems promoting that goal.  Nathaniel founded Planetaryan, a humanitarian organization devoted to world peace, for which Sonia was the chief administrator.  The collection is a good source of documentation for anyone interested in U.S. social, political and religious history, especially around the period of World War II. It is also useful for researchers interested in American literature, especially religious poetry and didactic literature.

To learn more about the life of Sonia Haft Davis contact Christopher Geissler, Librarian for American and British Literary and Popular Culture Collections, or visit the John Hay Library.

Brown University Library Celebrates Lovecraft with an Exhibit and New Research Fellowship!

H.P. LovecraftPROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] —Brown University Library, home to the largest collection of H. P. Lovecraft materials in the world, is pleased to co-sponsor a two-part exhibit this summer in partnership with the Providence Athenaeum, and to announce a new annual fellowship for research relating to H. P. Lovecraft, his associates, and literary heirs.

“The Shadow Over College Street:  H. P. Lovecraft in Providence,” will be on exhibit August 19 through September 22 in the Philbrick Rare Book Room of the Providence Athenaeum, and a smaller satellite exhibit will be on view in the lobby of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library from August 19 through October 24. Mounted in conjunction with NecronomiCon Providence, this collaborative exhibition explores Lovecraft’s youth in Providence and the city’s role in shaping his career as a master craftsman of “weird fiction.” Both parts of the exhibit feature materials from the John Hay Library.

And, starting in summer 2015, the S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship will provide a stipend of $2,500 for six weeks of scholarly work with the world renowned resources on Lovecraft at the Hay. The S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship is sponsored by The Aeroflex Foundation and Hippocampus Press, and is named for S. T. Joshi, Brown alumnus (’80, MA ’82)  and prominent Lovecraft scholar. More information regarding application procedures will be announced in Fall 2014.

The Library will host a reception to celebrate the launching of the S. T. Joshi Endowed Research Fellowship on Thursday, August 22 from 4-5:30pm in the Lobby of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library. Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

Opened in 1911, the John Hay Library is part of the Brown University Library system, and is the largest and most diverse special collections library in Rhode Island, housing approximately 400,000 books, some three million manuscripts, as well as hundreds of thousands of broadsides, maps, prints, photographs, and pieces of sheet music. The Hay is especially strong in American poetry and plays, military history, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, Rhode Island history, the history of science and medicine, the history of magic and the occult, the history of dance, gay and lesbian fiction, the literature of wit and humor, extremist and dissident literature, alcohol and addiction studies, and book arts.  The Brown University Archives, housed in the Hay, contain the records of Brown University since its founding in 1764. As a whole, the Brown University Library is home to more than 6.8 million print items, plus a multitude of electronic resources and expanding digital archives serving the teaching, research, and learning needs of Brown students and faculty, as well as scholars from around the country and the world.

Contact: Christopher Geissler