Talman, Wilfred Blanch

   friend and correspondent of HPL (1925–37). Talman, while attending Brown University, subsidized the publication of a volume of his poetry, Cloisonne and Other Verses(1925), which he sent to HPL in July 1925. (No copy of this volume has been located.) The two met in New York a month later, and Talman became an irregular member of the Kalem Club. In the summer of 1926 Talman sent HPL a draft of “Two Black Bottles,” which HPL exhaustively revised (chiefly in regard to the Dutch dialect in the tale); it appeared in WT(August 1927). Talman chafed at the extent of HPL’s revision of the tale, but nonetheless expressed his gratitude by designing HPL’s bookplate in the summer of 1927. He published a few other stories and poems in WT,these not revised by HPL. Talman visited HPL in Providence in September 1927. HPL in return visited Talman’s estate in Spring Valley, N.Y., on May 24, 1928; Talman then drove HPL to Tarrytown, where HPL took a bus to Sleepy Hollow. The two met again when HPL came to New York in April 1929, at which time Talman offered to try to get HPL a job with a New York newspaper. HPL declined, of course. At a gathering at Talman’s apartment in Brooklyn on July 6, 1931, HPL met Seabury Quinn for the first time. For a time Talman was a reporter for the New York Times;later, around 1930, he became editor of the Texaco Star,a trade paper operated by the Texaco oil company. Talman suggested that HPL write a series of travel articles for the paper, but HPL did not feel that the plan was practicable, given the idiosyncratic nature of his travel writing. Talman, a pronounced genealogist, encouraged HPL to research his own genealogy, even as he diligently pursued his own New York Dutch roots. For a time he also edited De Halve Maen (The Half Moon),the magazine of the Holland Society of New York, and commissioned HPL to write “Some Dutch Footprints in New England,” which appeared in the issue of October 18, 1933. In late 1936, on his own initiative, Talman approached William Morrow & Co. about the possibility of a novel by HPL; Morrow seemed interested, but HPL had nothing to offer, and by that time was too ill to write one afresh. Long after HPL’s death Talman wrote a memoir, included in the booklet The Normal Lovecraft (1973; rpt. LR), as well as a historical treatise, Tappan: 300 Years, 1686–1986 (Tappantown Historical Society, 1989).

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