August William Derleth (February 24 1909 – July 4 1971) was an American writer and anthologist. The son of William Julius Derleth and his wife Rose Louise Volk, he resided in Sauk County, Wisconsin.
At the age of 16, he sold his first story to Weird Tales magazine. Derleth wrote all throughout his four years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Bachelor's Degree in 1930. During this time he served briefly as editor of Mystic Magazine.
In the mid-1930s he organised a Ranger's Club for young people, served as clerk and president of the local Board of Education, served as a parole officer, organised a local Men’s Club and a parent-teacher association. He also lectured in American Regional Literature at the University of Wisconsin.
Derleth was a contemporary and friend of H.P. Lovecraft — when Lovecraft wrote about "le Comte d'Erlette" in his fiction it was in homage to Derleth. After Lovecraft's death he took a number of that author's unfinished stories and rewrote or finished them for publication in Weird Tales and later in book form. In the process, he invented the term Cthulhu Mythos to describe the invented mythology that seemed to lie behind much of Lovecraft's fiction. Derleth codified the Mythos to bring it more in line with his own Christian conception of the battle between good and evil and, as other authors had done before him, added new gods and creatures to the stories.
When Lovecraft died in 1937, Derleth and Donald Wandrei put together a collection of that author's stories and tried to get them published. With existing publishers showing little interest, they founded Arkham House in 1939 to do it themselves. The name of the company comes from Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, which featured in many of his stories.
In 1939 Arkham House published The Outsider and Others, a huge collection that contained most of Lovecraft's short stories then known to exist. Derleth and Wandrei soon decided to expand Arkham House and began a regular publishing schedule after its second book, Someone in the Dark in 1941, a collection of some of Derleth's own horror stories.
In 1941 he became literary editor of The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, a post he held until his resignation in 1960.
Derleth was married April 6 1953 to Sandra Evelyn Winters, and they were divorced six years later in 1959. He retained custody of their two children, April Rose and Walden William. In 1960, Derleth began editing and publishing a magazine called Hawk and Whippoorwill, dedicated to poems of man and nature.
He died on July 4 1971 and is buried in St. Aloysius Cemetery, Sauk City, Wisconsin.
Derleth wrote more than 150 short stories and more than 100 books during his lifetime. Included among that number were several novels about a British detective named Solar Pons, who was quite similar in many respects to Sherlock Holmes. Derleth, however, lacked the knowledge to make the details of those stories authentic, as he had never been to England. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Grendon, Kenyon Holmes and Tally Mason.
- The August Derleth Society
- A more detailed biography
- A short autobiography
- "The Ultimate Cthulhu Mythos Book List" - Listing of all mythos novels, anthologies, collections, comic books, and more.
Original Wiki source: Wikipedia