Orton, [Kenneth] Vrest [Teachout]
- (1897–1986)Man of letters and friend of HPL. W.Paul Cook introduced HPL to Orton in late 1925. At this time he worked in the advertising department of the American Mercury;later he became an editor of the Saturday Review. He first met HPL on December 22, 1925, and became a member of the Kalem Club, although his attendance was very sporadic. In June 1928 Orton, living outside Brattleboro, Vt, invited HPL to visit for an extended period; HPL stayed from June 10 to June 24. Numerous individuals whom he met during this time were later adapted for use in “The Whisperer in Darkness” (1930), including Orton’s neighbors, the Lees (whose name was used for “Lee’s Swamp” in the story); Charles Crane, who ran “The Pendrifter,” a column in the Brattleboro Daily Reformer;and Bert G.Akley, a self-taught painter and photographer whose name (and, in part, personality) was used for the character Henry Wentworth Akeley. Orton contributed an article on HPL to “The Pendrifter,” entitled “A Weird Writer Is in Our Midst” (June 16, 1928; rpt. LR). HPL visited Orton and his family (then residing in Yonkers) for a short time in April 1929. In late 1931 Orton, now operating the Stephen Daye Press in Brattleboro, arranged for HPL to copyedit and proofread Leon Burr Richardson’s History of Dartmouth College(1932). HPL hoped to do more work for the Stephen Daye Press, but apparently no more assignments were offered to him. Orton published the first bibliography of Theodore Dreiser, Dreiseriana: A Book about His Books (New York: Stratford Press, 1929); among his other works are And So Goes Vermont: A Picture Book of Vermont as It Is (editor) (Weston, Vt.: Countryman Press; New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1937) and Goudy, Master of Letters (Chicago: Black Cat Press, 1939). He became celebrated as the founder of the Vermont Country Store. Late in life he wrote a brief memoir, “Recollections of H.P.Lovecraft” ( Whispers,March 1982; in LR).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.