Further to my article yesterday on Geo. FitPatrick, I can now clear up the other ‘lost’ Lovecraft correspondent. Kenneth W. Faig Jr., in the Lovecraft Annual 2012, could find no-one certain for this entry in Lovecraft’s address book…
Bell — 15 Pine Ave., Old Orchard, Ne. c/o E. Dixon, Box 292
This address was a mistranscription by Robert Barlow. What the address was is…
Bell — 15 Pine Ave., Old Orchard Be[ach], c/o E. Dixon, Box 292
This address is some 60 miles north along the coast from Providence. There was an Edith Bell (b. 19th July 1914) who died in 2002 age 88 at Old Orchard Beach. There is a record of her living at 22 Pine Ave.
There is an Edwin E. Dixon living at 15 Pine Ave., Old Orchard Beach, in the 1940 Census. Died 13th Jan 1964, at Old Orchard Beach, age 75. Presumably he passed Lovecraft’s letters to Edith Bell at 22 Pine Ave.?
Since Bell was under 21 until 1935, my guess would be that perhaps her parents didn’t approve of her interest in weird literature? Hence the need to pass letters via the fictitious? “Box 292” of near neighbour E. Dixon. An absolute need for discreetness would also suggest why Lovecraft listed her simply as “Bell” rather than giving her full name.
22 Pine Avenue, sadly recently emptied and put up for sale. It appears her relative Peter Bell lived there until recently. If he had a big pile of Lovecraft letters, they might have been worth more than the house!
Bell is not to be confused with the person who they named the local library after: that was one “Edith Belle Libby“, although it’s commonly mis-named in documents as the Edith Bell Library.