W. Paul Cook: The Wandering Life of a Yankee Printer


  • With Selected Writings
  • Edited by Sean Donnelly
  • October 2007
  • ISBN 0-9771734-6-1, ISBN13: 978-0-9771734-6-4
  • Paperback


Photo: H. P. Lovecraft and W. Paul Cook in Vermont, on Lovecraft's 37th birthday.

W. Paul Cook (1880-1948) is best known as a friend and publisher of H. P. Lovecraft. But there was much more to Cook’s life and work than his relationship with a famous man.

Cook was first and foremost a printer. From his 60-year association with amateur journalism, during which he produced important magazines like the Recluse, the Vagrant, and the Ghost, founded The Recluse Press (1925-1929), and acted as the de facto publisher of The Driftwind Press (1941-1948), most of his activities were influenced by his love of printing.

He was an amateur, in the true sense of the word, who labored with love for half a century as a printer, publisher, editor, and author in his native New England. Giving much more of himself than he could ever expect to be repaid, the pleasure of the work itself was often the only reward for Cook’s labors. His friends and colleagues recognized his impractical nature, and marvelled at both the quantity and quality of his work.

The first part of this book is about Cook, with a 70-page biography by the editor, memoirs of Cook by his friends Arthur H. Goodenough, Edward H. Cole, and Walter John Coates, and a bibliography of Cook’s publications (including items published under his "Willis T. Crossman" pen name, the books issued by his short-lived Recluse Press, and his numerous amateur journals).

The biography allows Cook to speak through quotes from the letters he wrote to H. P. Lovecraft, Edward Cole, August Derleth, H. C. Koenig, Donald Wandrei, and Will Ransom. We learn first-hand about his relationships with his correspondents and with other friends and associates like Vrest Orton, Walter John Coates, J. Howard Flower, and H. Warner Munn and come to appreciate why his friends called him a "sterling patron of weird literature" and "The Colossus of the North."

The second part features a generous selection of Cook’s own writings. In works on subjects ranging from his abhorrence of cruelty to animals, and his opinions of H. P. Lovecraft the writer and the man, to works of social protest written during the depths of the Great Depression, the reader can sample the variety of Cook’s interests and the quality of his writing.

This book is a companion volume to Willis T. Crossman’s Vermont: Stories by W. Paul Cook (2005).

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 06 April, 2010.