Thursday, August 19, 2010

For H. P. Lovecraft’s Birthday,
Give the Old Man His Own Stamp

Howard Phillips Lovecraft
Aug. 20, 1890-Mar. 15, 1937

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
     475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
     Washington, DC 20260-3501

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.)


  1. Great 120th Birthday Presents to/from H. P. Lovecraft!

    Happy 120th. Birthday H.P.L.!

    Freebies released in celebration of H. P. Lovecraft's 120th. birthday on 20-August-2010, and to stir up excitement for the possible making of the Universal Studios 3D version of "At the Mountains of Madness" by Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron; and as a celebration by Will Hart of the 20th. anniversary of his being at Lovecraft's grave-side on his 100th. birthday.

    Released during the last few hours in MP3 Format on:
    (The audio companion to the CthulhuWho1 Flickr collections.)

    "Fungi from Yuggoth"
    H. P. Lovecraft's complete 36 sonnet set; in an all-new recording by William (Will) Hart; in single file, and multiple file versions. A dark poetry reading if there ever was one...

    "What If H. P. Lovecraft Had Lived Into The 1960's?"
    A 163 minute panel recording in six parts, of Professor Dirk W. Mosig, Professor Donald R. Burleson, J. Vernon Shea, Fritz Leiber, Jr., and S.T. Joshi at the 36th World Science Fiction Convention in Phoenix in 1978. A must-have for Lovecraftians!

    Plus, behind the scenes recordings including a live reading by Don Burleson of his darkly funny, "The Last Supper."

    And more audio goodies too!

    And there are now over 1200 Lovecraft, Cthulhu, and Providence related images for the taking at the CthulhuWho1 Flickr page at:
    (The image companion site to the audio site.)

    All of the above items (and more to come) were created in honor of H. P. Lovecraft; but since he’s not here with us, it’s up to you, and everyone you can share them with to enjoy them!

    Will Hart
    aka CthulhuWho1
    aka California Cthulhu

  2. Thank you for telling us about this, Will.

  3. I sent my letter. Thanks for the suggestion. I found the little slip of paper in a Lovecraft book in Barnes and Noble on 66th and Broadway, by the way.

  4. Elizabeth: Thank you for checking in here, and for writing your letter. And, thanks for letting me know that my little publicity campaign is reaching people!


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