Smith, Charles W.

   Amateur journalist and friend of HPL. Smith, residing at 408 Groveland Street in Haverhill, Mass., edited the Tryout(a NAPA paper) for more than three decades (1914–1946); it contained many poems by HPL, along with prose articles as well as the first appearances of some of HPL’s fiction (“The Cats of Ulthar” [November 1920]; “The Terrible Old Man” [July 1921]; “The Tree” [October 1921]; “In the Vault” [November 1925]). HPL came in touch with Smith by correspondence as early as 1917, when Smith urged HPL to join the NAPA, which HPL did. HPL visited Smith in Haverhill on June 9, 1921, being charmed by Smith’s naivete and devotion to the “boy printer” ideal of the NAPA (Smith had a printing press in a shed behind his house). HPL wrote of his visit in the essay “The Haverhill Convention” ( Tryout,July 1921; rpt. as “‘408 Groveland Street,’” Boys’ Herald,January 1943). He visited Smith again on August 25, 1921. Smith supplied the central suggestion for “In the Vault”; in gratitude HPL dedicated the story to him. Smith’s return to Haverhill from a trip is commemorated in HPL’s poem “The Return” ( Tryout,December 1926). On August 30, 1927, HPL visited Smith again, recording the visit in a rather dry and compressed travelogue, “The Trip of Theobald” ( Tryout,September 1927). HPL met Smith for the last time on August 24, 1934, in Lawrence, Mass. In 1932 HPL and Smith jointly published a booklet of poems by Eugene B.Kuntz, Thoughts and Pictures;the title page states that it was “Cooperatively published by H.P.Loveracft and C.W.Smith”—representative of the typographical errors (which HPL called “tryoutisms”) that riddled the Tryoutand other of Smith’s publications. Smith was for a time the owner of the C.W. Smith Box Co.; his writings were published in Youth’s Companionand other magazines.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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