Renshaw, Anne (Vyne) Tillery


Renshaw, Anne (Vyne) Tillery
   Amateur journalist from Mississippi, instructor, and associate of HPL. Renshaw was a well-known figure in amateur journalism in the 1910s, publishing many poems (whose radicalism HPL chided in “Metrical Regularity” [ Conservative,July 1915] and “The Vers Libre Epidemic” [ Conservative,January 1917]) and editing The Pinfeather (for which HPL wrote “To the Members of the Pin-Feathers…,” November 1914), Ole Miss’(for which HPL wrote the essay “Systematic Instruction in the United” and the poem “A Mississippi Autumn,” both in the December 1915 issue), The Symphony (which published HPL’s poem “The Smile” [July 1916] and about which HPL wrote in the essay “Symphony and Stress” [ Conservative, October 1915]), and other papers. HPL was assistant editor for The Credential,a paper designed to publish the work of new amateurs, edited by Renshaw; only one issue (April 1920) is known to have been published. In late 1916 HPL, Renshaw, and Mrs. J.G.Smith (about whom nothing is known) teamed up to form the Symphony Literary Service, apparently a professional revision service; this appears to be the first time HPL engaged in such an enterprise, but the service does not seem to have lasted for very long. In 1919 HPL supported Renshaw’s successful candidacy for Official Editor of the UAPA (“For Official Editor—Anne Tillery Renshaw,” Conservative, July 1919). HPL met Renshaw for the first time in Boston on August 17, 1921. At that time she was teaching at the Curry School of Expression; some time previously she had been head of the English department at Research University in Washington, D.C. On April 11, 1925, Renshaw, back in Washington, drove HPL, George Kirk, and Edward L.Sechrist around the city on a sightseeing tour. Some evidence suggests that HPL may have been doing further work for Renshaw in a revisory capacity during the late 1920s. Little is heard of her until early 1936, when Renshaw, now running her own school of speech, proposed to HPL the revision of a manual on speech and grammar, entitled Well-Bred Speech. HPL undertook an exhaustive revision of Renshaw’s very crude draft, writing entire chapters (including those on “Words Frequently Mispronounced,” “Bromides [i.e., cliches] Must Go,” and a substantial concluding chapter, “What Shall I Read?”). Because HPL was so slow in getting the book to her (partly because of increasingly bad health, partly because of R.H.Barlow’s month-long stay with him that summer), Renshaw had to rush the book into print and omit much of HPL’s work. The volume appeared late in the year as Well Bred Speech: A Brief, Intensive Aid for English Students (Washington, D.C.: Standard Press, [1936]). She paid HPL only $100 for his work. HPL’s chapters and other revisions survive at JHL. The final chapter was published under the title “Suggestions for a Reading Guide” (in DB). Renshaw published another book early the next year — Salvaging Self Esteem: A Program for Self-Improvement (Washington, D.C.: Renshaw School of Speech, [1937])—which HPL owned. In her early amateur journalist days, Renshaw wrote a brief article on HPL, “Our Friend, the Conservative,” Ole Miss’No. 2 (December 1915): 2–3.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .


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