|Howard Phillips Lovecraft|
Aug. 20, 1890-Mar. 15, 1937
A happy 120th birthday to H. P. Lovecraft (shown in a photograph from about 1934).
I agree with Stephen King that H. P. Lovecraft is “the twentieth-century horror story’s dark and baroque prince.” King, one of the best-selling authors of the twentieth century, said that “Lovecraft ... opened the way for me, as he had done for others before me.”* Of course, Lovecraft is best remembered today for what he called “cosmic horror,” inventing a history in which to place his stories that others have named the Cthulhu Mythos, probably the most developed back story this side of Middle Earth (although far, far darker). His grim and scary work has inspired countless writers and readers, and has been graced by attention from Joyce Carol Oates and the Library of America.
Now fans of Lovecraft have an opportunity to give a little something back.
The United States Postal Service has a program, the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), to take suggestions from the public regarding new postage stamps. I invite all H.P. Lovecraft fans to write a letter to the CSAC, suggesting that the U.S. Postal Service issue a postage stamp featuring H. P. Lovecraft, on the 125th anniversary of his birth, which occurs on August 20, 2015. (Yes, this assumes that neither the Mayan apocalypse nor the Return of the Old Ones occurs before that time. I do, however, try to be optimistic. Me, a Lovecraft fan? Go figure.) The Postal Service requires at least three years advance notice before a significant anniversary, so we really do need to start this movement soon.
Instructions about proposing a stamp to the CSAC, including their stamp subject selection criteria, are available here. Basically, one writes a letter, which could be so simple as a one-line suggestion sent to
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
1735 North Lynn St., Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432
Or, if your circumstances permit, you could send a more elaborate letter. I strongly suggest that you at least mention the following:
- You suggest that they issue a stamp honoring H. P. Lovecraft, an American writer born August 20, 1890 and died March 15, 1937, in time for the 125th anniversary of his birth on August 20, 2015.
- Tell them why Lovecraft deserves a stamp, in your opinion.
If you have the opportunity, tell the Committee how Lovecraft has the “widespread national appeal and significance” that they look for in the subject of a stamp. Even if you only send a one-liner to the Committee, it will let them know that Lovecraft is important to you. If several thousand fans do the same, that will be a statement hard to ignore.
Let’s give the Old Man his own stamp for his birthday. Acknowledging Lovecraft in this way would be On The Mark.
*Stephen King, Danse Macabre (New York: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, 2010 edition, pp. 30, 101; originally published 1981).
[The photo above of H. P. Lovecraft is the property of Brown University. It was obtained from Wikipedia, and its use here is permitted under the fair use provisions of the United States copyright laws.]
(Text Copyright 2010 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)