- Brobst, Harry K[ern]
- (b. 1909)Friend of HPL (1932–37). Born in Wilming-ton, Del, Brobst came with his family to Allentown, Pa., around 1921, be-friending the young Carl F.Strauch, with whom he shared an interest in weird fiction and WT. Brobst particularly liked the work of HPL, Clark Ashton Smith, and other WTwriters. Securing HPL’s address from Farnsworth Wright, Brobst wrote to HPL, probably in the autumn of 1931, receiving a cordial reply. In early 1932, Brobst entered a program in psychiatric nursing at Butler Hospital in Providence, and from that time till HPL’s death he was a frequent visitor at HPL’s home and companion on his local travels, including Bristol and Warren, R.I., in March 1932 ( SL4.29) and a tour of Butler Hospital sometime in 1932 ( SL4.191). In July 1933 Brobst joined HPL in welcoming E.Hoffmann Price; it was on this occasion that the three of them spent an entire night dissecting a story by Strauch. Brobst has confirmed that HPL worked briefly as a ticket agent in a movie theater in downtown Providence and has also noted that in 1936 HPL was horrified at the stories of Nazi atrocities as related to him by an acquaintance (a Mrs. Shepherd) who had visited Germany. Brobst visited HPL frequently in Butler Hospital during the latter’s terminal illness. He wrote letters to R.H.Barlow on March 2 and March 13, 1937, describing HPL’s condition, and saw HPL two days before his death, asking him how he felt; HPL replied, “Sometimes the pain is unbearable.” Brobst and his wife attended HPL’s funeral service and burial on March 18, 1937. Subsequently Brobst gained a B.A. in psychology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He spent many years teaching at Oklahoma State University. His extensive recollections of HPL are recorded in “An Interview with Harry K. Brobst” ( LSNos. 22/23 [Fall 1990]: 24–42; abridged version in LRas “Autumn in Providence: Harry K.Brobst on Lovecraft”).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.