William L. Crawford

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William Levi Crawford
Born 10 September 1911
Trafford, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died 25 January 1984(1984-01-25) (aged 72)
Pen name Peter Reynolds (with Amelia Reynolds Long), Garret Ford:based on his wife's name-Margaret Crawford
Occupation Publisher, editor, printer, novelist
Nationality United States
Genres Science fiction

William Levi Crawford (1911–1984) was an American publisher and editor.


During the autumn of 1933, Crawford proposed to start a non-paying weird fiction magazine, Unusual Stories, which was initiated soon afterward. About the same time he also published the magazine Marvel Tales. For Unusual Stories he commissioned a brief autobiography by H.P. Lovecraft, Autobiography: Some Notes on a Nonentity, although it was never published in the magazine. He also accepted Lovecraft's Celephais and The Doom That Came to Sarnath for Unusual Stories, but they were published instead in Marvel Tales (May 1934 and March–April 1935, respectively). Around July 1934 Lovecraft wrote Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction for one of Crawford's magazines, but the essay was published in the magazine The Californian (Winter 1935).

In 1935, Crawford published the collection Mars Mountain, by Eugene George Key. It was the first full-size book issued by a publisher that specialized in science fiction.[1]

During the spring of 1935 Crawford contemplated reviving the defunct magazine Fantasy Fan with Lovecraft as editor, but the plan was never realized. He also thought of issuing one of Lovecraft's stories At the Mountains of Madness or The Shadow Over Innsmouth as a booklet, or bound together in one volume; he considered submitting the latter story to Astounding Stories after learning of the acceptance there of At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Out of Time but it is not known whether he did so. In late 1935, he began the process of issuing The Shadow Over Innsmouth as a book. The project came to fruition in November 1936 (although the copyright page declares the date of publication as April 1936), but the book had so many typographical errors that Lovecraft insisted on an errata sheet (which was also faulty). The Shadow Over Innsmouth, issued with the imprint of the Visionary Publishing Co, was the only book of Lovecraft's fiction to be published and distributed during Lovecraft's own lifetime. Crawford printed 400 copies but bound only 200; the others were destroyed later. The book features a dust jacket and four interior illustrations by Frank Utpatel. Crawford wrote of the venture in his essay "Lovecraft's First Book" in The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces; reprinted in Lovecraft Remembered.

Crawford published books with a number of different imprints before founding the Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. in 1946. He edited several anthologies that he also published. He co-wrote the 1936 novel Behind the Evidence with Amelia Reynolds Long under the combined pseudonym Peter Reynolds.[2] The William L. Crawford Memorial Award for the best first fantasy novel is named in his honor.[3]



  1. ^ Clute and Nicholls 1995, p. 664.
  2. ^ Chalker and Owings 1998, pp. 705-706.
  3. ^ Clute and Grant 1997, p. 1015.


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