Author, Editor, Poet, Lyricist, Museum Curator and Director
Born July 14, 1879, River Falls, Wisconsin
Died May 19, 1944, Sacramento, California
Harry Noyes Pratt was born on July 14, 1879, in River Falls, Wisconsin. As a young man, he worked as a bookkeeper and purchasing agent. By 1920 he was calling himself a "writer of verse" (despite the fact that his middle name is a homonym for "noise"). He earned that title with two volumes of poetry, Mother of Mine and Other Verse (1918) and Hill Trails and Open Sky: A Book of California Verse (1919). As the title of the second book suggests, Pratt made a name for himself in the Golden State. He lived there as early as 1910 with his Californian wife and resided at one time or another in Lodi, Alameda, Berkeley, and Sacramento. Eventually he would become editor of The Overland Monthly, art critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, and curator and/or director of the Haggin Museum in Stockton and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. His poetry and short stories were published in Short Stories, Ace-High Magazine, All-Story Love Stories, and Argosy, as well as in anthologies of verse. As a California poet of the 1910s-1930s, Pratt may very well known Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961). The title of Pratt's operetta Atlantis (1926) implies that the author had an interest in the fantastic. His story for Weird Tales confirms that. Called "The Curse of Ximu-tal," Pratt's was the cover story for the August 1930 issue of the magazine. The cover and interior illustrations were by Hugh Rankin. Harry Noyes Pratt died on May 19, 1944, in Sacramento, two months short of his sixty-fifth birthday.
Harry Noyes Pratt's Story in Weird Tales
"The Curse of Ximu-tal" (Aug. 1930)
The Smithsonian Archives of American Art has a collection of Pratt's letters. His verse and non-fiction are still available in works out of print.
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley