H. P. Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived for almost all his life. When he was 7, his father died, after being institutionalized for madness related to, it is suspected, syphilis. Spending much of his childhood isolated due to poor health, Lovecraft used the time to read. After he dropped out of high school following a "nervous breakdown," he began to write short stories inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and others. Still living at home with his increasingly ill mother, Lovecraft found work as a freelance journalist for local papers, even working as an astrology columnist. In 1917 he became president of the United Amateur Press Association, a post he held again in 1923. By then, he had already written a handful of stories, but it wasn't until the early 1920s that his work took on a unifying form. In 1922 he began writing what would become the 60-odd stories that compile the Cthulhu Mythos. These stories feature an extremely cohesive, if tremendously complex, system of gods and monsters, and their interactions among themselves and with humans across a multitude of dimensions. From 1923 onwards, almost all of Lovecraft's short fiction appeared in Weird Tales, a pulp magazine where many of the future writers who came to emulate and idolize him first encountered his work. He married and moved to New York for two years before divorcing and returning to Providence in 1926. Inspired by his stories in Weird Tales, Lovecraft's many fans wrote to him and, as a result, he co-wrote stories with some of them. In 1931, his mother died in the same asylum as his father. Six years later, Lovecraft died of cancer. In 1939, one of his acquaintances, August Derleth, co-founded Arkham House, a publishing company dedicated to Lovecraft's works. The business didn't become successful until the mid-1940s, but it is largely through Arkham's efforts that Lovecraft--and, later, other authors--became widely known and respected.