- Kalem Club
- Informal band of friends in New York City, of which HPL was the central figure. According to Rheinhart Kleiner, the club existed in a rudimentary form prior to HPL’s advent to New York in March 1924, its original members including Rheinhart Kleiner, Everett McNeil, and perhaps James F.Morton. When HPL arrived, he introduced several more members, notably Frank Belknap Long, George Kirk, and Arthur Leeds. The club initially met on Thursday nights, but later shifted to Wednesdays because Long attended night classes at New York University. Still later there were separate “McNeil” and “Leeds” meetings because of a dispute between these two members over a small loan that the former had made to the latter; many members did not go to the McNeil meetings (held at Everett McNeil’s apartment in Hell’s Kitchen) because they found McNeil tiresome. HPL always attended both meetings. The club was not named until February 1925; Kirk provides an account of the event: “Because all of the last names of the permanent members of our club begin with K, L or M, we plan to call it the KALEM KLYBB” (George Kirk to Lucile Dvorak, February 1925; quoted in Hart, “Walkers in the City” [see under George Kirk]). HPL, however, never refers to it under this name in his correspondence, making mention only of “the gang” or “The Boys.” The club achieved its heyday in 1925, especially with HPL largely unemployed and living by himself. HPL took pride in being a solicitous host for the meetings held at his apartment, purchasing an aluminum pail for 49? to fetch coffee from the neighboring delicatessen; he would serve it and various desserts on his best china. In late 1925 Wilfred B. Talman and Vrest Orton were enrolled as members, but it was decided that the name would not be changed; these two were very sporadic participants in any event. By the spring of 1928, however (two years after HPL’s departure from New York), HPL notes that the club had “almost dissolved” (HPL to Lillian D. Clark, April 29–30, 1928; ms., JHL), leading one to suspect that he had been the driving force behind it.See Rheinhart Kleiner, “After a Decade and the Kalem Club,” Californian 4, No. 2 (Fall 1936): 45–7; rpt. LSNo. 28 (Spring 1993): 34–35.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.