August Derleth - American writer, editor, publisher, anthologist; born on February 24, 1909 in Sauk City, Wisconsin.
Derleth is best known as the first book publisher of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos and the Cosmic Horror genre, as well as his founding of Arkham House (a publisher of Weird Fiction) in Sauk City.
Derleth was educated at St. Aloysius parochial school in Sauk City and the local high school. Derleth wrote his first fiction at age 13. He was interested most in reading, and he made three trips to the library a week. He sold his first story, "Bat's Belfry", to Weird Tales magazine at the age of 16.
Derleth wrote throughout his four years at the University of Wisconsin, where he received a B.A. in 1930. During this time he also served briefly as associate editor of Minneapolis-based Fawcett Publications Mystic Magazine.
Returning to Sauk City in the summer of 1931, Derleth worked in a local canning factory and collaborated with childhood friend Mark Schorer. They rented a cabin, writing Gothic and other horror stories and selling them to Weird Tales magazine. Derleth won a place on the O'Brien Roll of Honor for Five Alone, published in Place of Hawks, but was first found in Pagany magazine.
As a result of his early work on the Sac Prairie Saga, Derleth was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
In the mid-1930s, Derleth organized a Ranger's Club for young people, served as clerk and president of the local school board, served as a parole officer, organized a local men's club and a parent-teacher association. He also lectured in American regional literature at the University of Wisconsin and was a contributing editor of Outdoors Magazine.
In 1939 Derleth founded Arkham House withlongtime friend, Donald Wandrei. Its initial objective was to publish the works of H. P. Lovecraft, with whom Derleth had corresponded since his teenage years. At the same time, he began teaching a course in American Regional Literature at the University of Wisconsin.
In 1941, Derleth became literary editor of The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, a post he held until his resignation in 1960.
Derleth was a leading American regional writer of his day, as well as prolific in several other genres, including historical fiction, poetry, detective fiction, science fiction, and biography.
A 1938 Guggenheim Fellow, Derleth considered his most serious work to be the ambitious "Sac Prairie Saga", a series of fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and non-fiction naturalist works designed to memorialize life in the Wisconsin he knew.
The Trail of Cthulhu is a series of interconnected short stories by Derleth as part of the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction. The stories chronicle the struggles of Laban Shrewsbury and his companions against the Great Old Ones, particularly Cthulhu.
The stories were originally published in Weird Tales from 1944 to 1952, and were republished in collected form as The Trail of Cthulhu by Arkham House in 1962.
For more information on August Derleth, visit Wikipedia.
You can also visit The August Derleth Society.
Buy August Derleth books at Amazon. (Click on image below to browse.)
Above: Weird Tales (July, 1951) with "The House in The Valley", by August Derleth.
Above: Weird Tales (March, 1944) with the beginning of Derleth's "The Trail of Cthulhu" series.
Above: August Derleth's "The Trail of Cthulhu".
Above: Fantastic Universe (July, 1957) with August Derleth's "Seal of the Damned".
Above: "The Vanishing of Simmons" by August Derleth (Narrated by Ian Gordon)