Rediscovered: John D. Haefele on the Prowl

With the raw bulk of his book on Lovecraft turned in and awaiting editing, our pal John D. Haefele already is poking around on his next book, August Derleth of Arkham House, meanwhile feeding tidbits of his research out to his fans.

He’s got a fascinating little post up on the “Cinderella stamps” Derleth had in hand by 1939 — with the Wisconsin writer fresh off winning a Guggenheim Fellowship (did the Gug send him the sheets of stamps, or did he pay for them out of his award money?) while on the cusp of publishing the first Arkham House title, Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others. A pretty good year for Derleth, a titanic milestone for most other people.

In terms of our mutual hobby of collecting Arkham House ephemerae, which I covered in part in Firsts magazine some years ago (and by now we have discovered so many more items we’ll need to issue a book of some kind to catalog them all), these Derleth stamps are no doubt ephemerae — but more akin to the matchbook covers advertising Arkham that Derleth also had made up.

In at least one instance the stamps appear on a genuine item, the postcards Derleth sent out to those who had pre-ordered The Outsider to let them know the book was on its way. That postcard will appear in any revised list with its own Item Number, so the tireless Arkham ephemerae collector can know what he’s looking for — and I think any copy of the card isn’t quite complete if someone along the way has steamed off the stamp. . . .

So, for those interested in arcane bookman lore, surf over and soak up the info.

And you’ll find a Haefele article on Derleth and Colin Wilson (and even Joyce Carol Oates) in issue 110 of the resurrected Crypt of Cthulhu (a magazine is not dead which comes back from the grave. . .), if you want to check that out.

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