Henry S. Whitehead

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Henry S. Whitehead
Henry S Whitehead.jpg
Born (1882-03-05)March 5, 1882
Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died November 23, 1932(1932-11-23) (aged 50)
Dunedin, Florida, United States
Occupation short story writer, rector
Nationality American
Period 1905 to 1932
Genre Horror, Fantasy

Henry St. Clair Whitehead (March 5, 1882 – November 23, 1932) was an American writer of horror fiction and fantasy[1]


Henry S. Whitehead was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on March 5, 1882, and graduated from Harvard University in 1904 (in the same class as Franklin D. Roosevelt).[2] He led an active and worldly life in the first decade of the 20th century, playing football at Harvard, editing a Reform democratic newspaper in Port Chester, New York, and serving as commissioner of athletics for the AAU.

He later attended Berkeley Divinity School in Middletown, Connecticut, and was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1912. From 1918 to 1919 he was Pastor of the Children, Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City. He served as Archdeacon of the Virgin Islands from 1921 to 1929.[1] While there, living on the island of St. Croix, Whitehead gathered the material he was to use in his tales of the supernatural. A correspondent of H. P. Lovecraft, Whitehead published stories from 1924 onward in Adventure, Black Mask, Strange Tales,[2] and especially Weird Tales; in his introduction to Jumbee, R. H. Barlow would later describe Whitehead as a member of "the serious Weird Tales school".[2] Whitehead's supernatural fiction was partially modelled on the work of Edward Lucas White and William Hope Hodgson.[2] Whitehead's "The Great Circle" (1932) is a lost-race tale with sword and sorcery elements.[2]

In later life, Whitehead lived in Dunedin, Florida, as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd and a leader of a boys group there. Barlow collected many of his letters, planning to publish a volume of them; but this never appeared, although Barlow did contribute the introduction to Whitehead's Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales (1944). H. P. Lovecraft was a particular friend of Whitehead's, visiting him at his Dunedin home for several weeks in 1931. Lovecraft said of him: "He has nothing of the musty cleric about him; but dresses in sports clothes, swears like a he-man on occasion, and is an utter stranger to bigotry or priggishness of any sort."

Lovecraft expressed admiration for Whitehead's work, describing his story "The Passing of a God" as "perhaps representing the peak of his creative genius".[1] Stefan Dziemianowicz describes Whitehead's West Indian tales as "virtually unmatched for the vividness with which they convey the awe and mystery of their exotic locale".[2]

Whitehead suffered from a long-term gastric problem, but an account of his death by his assistant suggests he died from a fall or a stroke or both.[1] He died late in 1932, but few of his readers learned about this until an announcement and brief profile (by H. P. Lovecraft) appeared in the March 1933 Weird Tales, issued in Feb 1933. Whitehead was greatly mourned and missed by lovers of weird fiction at his death.[3]


Short fiction[edit]

  • "The Intarsia Box" (1923) Adventure
  • "The Wonder-Phone" (1923) People’s Magazine
  • "The Door" (1924) Weird Tales
  • "Tea Leaves" (1924) Weird Tales
  • "The Wonderful Thing" (1925) Weird Tales
  • "The Thin Match" (1925) Weird Tales
  • "The Cunning of the Serpent" Adventure 1925
  • "Sea Change" (1925) Weird Tales
  • "The Gladstone Bag" The Black Mask 1925
  • "The Fireplace" (1925) Weird Tales
  • "The Projection of Armand Dubois" (1926) 'Weird Tales
  • "Jumbee" (1926) Weird Tales
  • "Across the Gulf" (1926) Weird Tales
  • "Gahd Laff!" (1926) The Black Mask 1926
  • "The Shadows" (1927) Weird Tales
  • "West India Lights" (1927) West India Lights
  • "The Left Eye" (1927) Weird Tales
  • "Obi in the Caribbean" (1927) West India Lights
  • "The Cult of the Skull" (1928) Weird Tales
  • "The Lips" (1929) Weird Tales
  • "Sweet Grass" (1929) Weird Tales
  • "Black Tancrède" (1929) Weird Tales
Whitehead's novelette "The People of Pan" was the cover story in the March 1929 Weird Tales
  • "The People of Pan" (1929) Weird Tales
  • "The Tabernacle" (1930) Weird Tales
  • "The Shut Room" (1930) Weird Tales
  • "Machiavelli—Salesman" (1931) Popular Fiction Magazine
  • "The Passing of a God" (1931) Weird Tales
  • "The Trap" (1931) (with H.P. Lovecraft) Strange Tales
  • "The Tree-Man" (1931) Weird Tales
  • "Black Terror" (1931) Weird Tales
  • "Hill Drums" (1931) Weird Tales
  • "The Black Beast" (1931) Adventure
  • "Cassius" (1931) Strange Tales (based on an idea by H. P. Lovecraft)
  • "Mrs. Lorriquer" (1932) Weird Tales
  • "No Eye-Witnesses" (1932) Weird Tales
  • "Seven Turns in a Hangman's Rope" (1932) Adventure
  • "The Moon-Dial" (1932) Strange Tales
  • "The Great Circle" (1932) Strange Tales
  • "Sea-Tiger" (1932) Strange Tales
  • "The Chadbourne Episode" (1933) Weird Tales
  • "The Napier Limousine" (1933) Strange Tales
  • "Ruby the Kid" (1933) Nickel Western
  • "Scar-Tissue" (1946) Amazing Stories
  • "The Ravel 'Pavane'" (1946) West India Lights
  • "Williamson" (1946) West India Lights
  • "--In Case of Disaster Only" (1946) West India Lights
  • "Bothon" (1946) (with H.P. Lovecraft) West India Lights


Novels for boys[edit]

  • Pinkie at Camp Cherokee (1931, Putnam's)


  1. ^ a b c d "In Memoriam: Henry St. Clair Whitehead". H.P. Lovecraft. Reprinted in Robert Weinberg, The Weird Tales Story. FAX Collector’s Editions. ISBN 0913960160 (p. 127).
  2. ^ a b c d e f Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, "Whitehead, Henry S(t. Clair)", in David Pringle, ed., St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers. London: St. James Press, 1998. (pp. 639-640) ISBN 1558622063
  3. ^ Editor's note, Magazine of Horror, p. 44


  • Associated Press, Dunedin, November 23, 1932. "Roosevelt's Classmate at Harvard Dies in Dunedin." Tampa Tribune, November 24, 1932. Obituary for "Rev. Dr. Henry Sinclair [sic] Whitehead, 50, author, traveler and lecturer...died here today."
  • Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 27. 
  • Jaffery, Sheldon (1989). The Arkham House Companion. Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, Inc. p. 8. ISBN 1-55742-005-X. 
  • Joshi, S. T. (1999). Sixty Years of Arkham House: A History and Bibliography. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0-87054-176-5. 
  • Nielsen, Leon (2004). Arkham House Books: A Collector's Guide. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-7864-1785-4. 
  • Ruber, Peter (2000). Arkham's Masters of Horror. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. pp. 154–158. ISBN 0-87054-177-3. 
  • H. P. Lovecraft. "In Memoriam: Henry St. Clair Whitehead" (Weird Tales, March 1933) (abridged). Full version in a letter by Lovecraft to E. Hoffman Price, Dec 7, 1932 (ms, John Hay Library; printed in part in Lovecraft, Selected Letters 4, 116-17).
  • R. Alain Everts, Henry St. Clair Whitehead (Strange Co, 1975).
  • A. Langley Searles, "Fantasy and Outre Themes in the Short Fiction of Edward Lucas White and Henry S. Whitehead", in American Supernatural Fiction, ed. Douglas Robillard (NY: Garland, 1996), 59-76.

External links[edit]