Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents, Winfield Scott, and Sarah Susan Lovecraft had no other children. When Lovecraft was three, his father was indicted into a mental institution, where he died in 1898. Howard had sworn throughout his life that his father died of paralysis, which had been brought on by his “mental exhaustion”. After his father’s death, his mother, two of her sisters, and her father, raised Howard.
From an early age, he was said to have been able to write and read at a level much above average. At the age of six, Lovecraft supposedly read through The Arabian Nights, as well as simplified versions of the Iliad, and Odyssey. As he aged, Lovecraft was often sick, and was not able to attend school until his High School years. Lovecraft also suffered from night terrors, which de claimed that he was attacked by “night gaunts” which would later be featured in several of his pieces.
Between his childhood and high school, he was said to have been enamored with astronomy, and several earth sciences. During high school, Lovecraft’s grandfather died, and the family lost their estate, forcing them to move into a small apartment. This affected Howard greatly, and in addition to his difficulty in higher mathematics, kept him from ever receiving his high school diploma. For half a decade following high school, Howard forced himself into seclusion, with only his mother in the house.
Howard caught the United Amateur Press Association’s attention when he wrote in to, and debated with, a pulp magazine, complaining of the overabundance of love stories. In 1914, Howard joined the UAPA, which encouraged him to begin publishing his writings. In 1919, his mother died, due to both hysteria and depression. She had been admitted into the same mental institution as her husband. Only days after his mother’s death, Howard attended a journalist conference, where he met his future wife, Sonia Greene. They married in 1924, when he also decided to move in with her, to her Brooklyn apartment. Upon exploring New York, Howard found and joined a literary club,
which suggested that he begin writing for the Weird Tales
magazine, which he did. Not long afterwards, Greene lost her formerly successful haberdashery, and most of her assets due to a bank failure. This forced the two of them to move to Cincinnati, Cleveland, then back to Red Hook, Brooklyn; a neighborhood of the lowest class. Their home was burgled not long after, which left Howard with nothing, save the clothes he was wearing at the time. Greene kept a job that required constant travel, although it paid well enough for housing for them both.
Howard bought a very small apartment in Brooklyn Heights, a more affluent, working-class part of New York. In 1926, Howard would move yet again, this time, back to his hometown of Providence, where he bought a spacious house that he kept until 1933. During this time, Lovecraft had written many of his most successful pieces, such as At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. He was notably weak in finding a publisher for his stories at the time, and was said to often give up after a single rejection. After 1933, Howard’s meager expenses proved too little to sustain him, and he moved in with his surviving aunt. Not too long after, in 1936, he was diagnosed with Intestinal Cancer, and died a year later, on March 15, 1937. Howard was buried in his family plot along with his parents; until 1977, when fans bought him his own headstone.