I’ve been taking a quick look at the possible candidates for another elusive Lovecraft correspondent: C. L. Stuart of 17 Brockett St, E Milton, Mass.

It seems here we have another Barlow error. The address should read “Brackett St.” The location is four miles south of the centre of Boston, near the coast.

I have found a rather likely personage in the form of the East Coast author and encyclopedia editor Charles Leonard Stuart (aka Leonard Stuart).

He first shows up in the online record as a magazine editor in the 1890s, then as Assistant Editor of Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1900). In 1910 he edited Current Cyclopedia, and by 1911 he is credited with the revising and editing of Webster’s New Illustrated dictionary. He then tackled the editorship of the Everybody’s cyclopedia (1912) (a complete reference library condensing the world’s knowledge in plain English) with George J. Hagar. This must have been a success, since two years later he was the chief editor of the People’s Cyclopedia (1914)…

Prepared by more than two hundred of the most eminent editors, educators, scholars, scientists, inventors and explorers under the chief editorship of Charles Leonard Stuart

A “Charles Leonard Stuart” has a 1922 copyright registry entry for a nationalist book in 1922 (cranky 1920s racialist stuff, with lots of worries about Papist influence and a chapter on Eugenics) which might have caught Lovecraft’s attention…

The Age of Understanding; or, Americanism and the standard of world nationalism: a true outline of history and science. Boston, R.G. Badger, 1922.

The book is available online at archive.org as by “Stuart, Leonard, [b.] 1868”. A short biography in this volume calls him an…

   “…encyclopedist and author of French-American ancestry; b. near Coutances, France, 12 February 1860; s. of Sara Stuart-Johns of Cornwall, England, and of Philippe Le Sueur, grandson of Pierre Le Sueur (d. 1792), the founder of French Methodism” […] settled in New York City in 1897 […] since has been continuously associated with international encyclopedic and educational book publishing work. Contributor to leading encyclopedias and periodical literature. Editor of the New Century Reference Library (1907); Current Cyclopedia of Ready Reference (1910); People’s Cyclopedia (1914); etc.; author of The Story of Human Flight (1907); A Misunderstood Scientist (1907) ; The Passaic and Its Falls (1910); The Great God Pan (1913); Unity, Life’s Ideal (1914); The Tycoon and the Suffragette (lyrical comedy; 1914); The Cosmic Comedy or the Kaiser’s Dream (1919) [possibly a wartime update of his 1901 The Cosmic Comedy; or, The vital urge]; The Age of Understanding or Americanism the Standard of World Nationalism (1922); A Roamer in Lyonesse (1922); The Eon or The Quest of the Lotus (MS.) [given as “The Eonic Quest” on the title page], Residence Glencliff, N.Y.

After 1922 he becomes quiescent in terms of publication. One assumes he might have retired to Brackett St. in the early-mid 1920s, aged about 65. But I can find no proof of this, other than it certainly looks like a nice retirement spot on Google Street View.

There are number of items in his Age of Understanding biography which would have interested Lovecraft, and might have prompted him to write offering revision services:

  1. The Great God Pan: an All-time Story (1913, Tudor Society, 35 pages). A copy is in Harvard Library, digitised but not yet placed online. This suggests it may have been a scholarly monograph.

  2. The Cornwall and Lyonesse connections might have intersected with Lovecraft’s quest after his own ancestors. I can find no trace of any title called A Roamer in Lyonesse, nor any work on Lyonesse from 1922 to 1935 under any likely name. Possibly the book was anticipated for 1922, but never appeared. Possibly it needed revision work, and if so the topic would have been directly in Lovecraft’s line of interest. Lyonesse is, of course, the Cornish/Arthurian folk story of the lost land under the sea.

  3. The manuscript of his esoteric-sounding “The Eon or The Quest of the Lotus” (aka “The Eonic Quest”) might also have been revision work for Lovecraft. I can find no trace of this work either, under those titles.