Thursday, March 15, 2012

Arthur Styron (1891-1958)

Author, Teacher, Minister
Born December 23, 1891, Wilmington, North Carolina
Died September 8, 1958, Connecticut?

Arthur Styron lived such a varied life, I am inclined to think he was two different people. An Episcopal minister who wrote pulp fiction? It had been done before. Ordained in 1912, Henry S. Whitehead (1882-1932) began writing for Weird Tales in 1924. His friend H.P. Lovecraft described him thus: "He has nothing of the musty cleric about him; but dresses in sports clothes, swears like a he-man on occasion, and is an utter stranger to bigotry or priggishness of any sort." (Quoted in Wikipedia.) Unfortunately I don't have a description of Arthur Styron, though I do have a photograph and an account of his life.

Arthur Herman Styron was born two days before Christmas 1891 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina, and his name appeared in the yearbook, The Yakety Yack, in 1912. In 1917, Styron was a civilian employee of the U.S. government at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. The following year he began a two-year stay overseas, traveling to England, France, Germany, Holland, and Italy. Styron would travel to Europe several more times over the years. In 1919 he joined the U.S. Navy Naval Reserve, and he taught at the Irving School for Boys in Tarrytown, New York, now Sleepy Hollow High School. Coincidentally, stories by Washington Irving also appeared in Weird Tales.

I don't know when or where he was ordained, but Arthur H. Styron served as minister at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, also called "The Little Church Around the Corner," in New York City. I wonder if his congregation knew that Arthur H. Styron also contributed stories to pulp magazines with titles like Hot Stories, Paris Follies, and Nickel Detective. Styron contributed two stories to Weird Tales, "The Lip" (May 1925) and "The Clock" (June 1925). Styron also wrote "The Artist of Tao" for Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror (Oct. 1932). Styron's other pulp fiction credits include stories for Brief Stories, Man Stories, Navy Stories, and War Stories. Now more evidence of a double life: Arthur H. Styron also wrote the books The Three Pelicans: Archbishop Cranmer and the Tudor Juggernaut (1932), The Cast-Iron Man: John C. Calhoun and American Democracy (1935), and The Last of the Cocked Hats: James Monroe and the Virginia Dynasty (1945). 

Arthur H. Styron died on September 8, 1958, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Do two men lie in that grave?

Arthur Styron's Stories in Weird Tales
"The Lip" (May 1925)
"The Clock" (June 1925)

Further Reading
Arthur Styron's papers are at the University of North Carolina.

Arthur Styron's story "Betrayed" appeared in this issue of The Yellow Book in 1929. I can't say whether its ingredients included speed, sparkle, spice, or all of the above.
Another one-word title for a story: "Doubt," in Paris Follies, December 1933. I can't read the artists's signature.
Arthur H. Styron (1891-1958).
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

No comments:

Post a Comment