- Sully, Helen V.
- (1904–1997)Friend of Clark Ashton Smith (daughter of Genevieve Sully, a married woman with whom Smith carried on a longtime affair) and correspondent of HPL (1933–37). She visited HPL in Providence in early July 1933; HPL also took her to Newport, R.I.; Newburyport, Mass.; and elsewhere. HPL told her an impromptu ghost story one night in the churchyard of St. John’s Episcopal Church, frightening her so badly that she ran from the cemetery (see her memoir, “Memories of Lovecraft: II” [1971; rpt. LR]). After Providence, she went to New York, where HPL’s associates were captivated by her (Frank Belknap Long and Donald Wandrei threatened to fight a duel over her). She began corresponding with HPL after her return to California. Some of HPL’s replies suggest that Sully was despondent, perhaps even suicidal. He attempted to cheer her up by telling her his own situation was much worse but that he nevertheless found enough interest in life to continue. HPL’s biographer L. Sprague de Camp interpreted these remarks as displaying HPL’s own depressive and suicidal tendencies at the time, but such an interpretation seems wide of the mark.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.