The August Derleth Society:

  • Has has a membership of 450 people worldwide.
  • Produces a quarterly newsletter with original Derleth materials, essays, photos, and local news.
  • Sponsors an annual event every 2nd Sunday in October called The Walden West Festival, which is open to the public. It includes skits, music, speakers and entertainment for August Derleth fans. The Festival is expanding and now includes activities for the whole weekend, including among other things, a drive through the countryside and an evening poetry reading at Derleth’s grave.
  • Provides tours of the Derleth area, highlighting where Derleth was born, where he is buried, where he hiked, and the places he wrote about in his books. Busloads of tourists come to the area to eat, shop, and to explore Derleth’s hometown.
  • Provides speakers for tours and for schools, clubs and organizations throughout the state. There have been requests from IL, MN and IA and the demand is greater than the availability of the speakers.
  • Has created displays and exhibits, some permanent and others for temporary shows. Permanent displays are at Leystra’s Restaurant in “Augie’s Room,” The “Derleth Room” in the Sauk City Library basement, “Augie’s Display” at the Cedarberry Inn and one at the Sauk County Historical Society in Baraboo. An example of our temporary displays was the large display at Grand Avenue School in Prairie du Sac as part of our Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Celebration.
  • Established a scholarship fund for University of Wisconsin Madison students who excel in writing. The annual August Derleth Prize is given out every year by the head of the Dept. of English, Professor Ron Wallace. This prize is much sought after and valued by the winner.
  • Supports the August Derleth Young Writers Project for 3rd and 4th graders from around the area. This includes writers’ workshops and writers’ contests. Board members participate in judging the contest. Awards are given out at the annual Walden West Festival.
  • Hold monthly readings to discuss individual books by Derleth in Madison bookstores and in the Sauk City
  • Assumed responsibility for reprinting Derleth books that have gone out of print averaging 4 or 5 books per year. Also printing new materials that have never before been published, including newly discovered Derleth novels and short stories. The Midwest Book Review is currently reviewing our new book In Lovecraft’s Shadow on TV, the Internet and in their monthly magazine.
  • Has gathered together short stories and poems by Derleth, long out of print and unavailable to readers, and raised money to create many books and publish them for his fans.
  • Has created a new interest in Derleth in the grade and high schools providing new readers of Derleth material for future generations.
  • Has established places to sell and buy Derleth books, making them available to readers everywhere.
  • Works with the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind in Milwaukee to provide Derleth books in Braille. We will do more titles this year.
  • Provides a mail order source for Derleth books. People order books and we pack them up and send them around the world.
  • Provides support for the author Zona Gale fans in Portage. Provide speakers for Zona Gale Days. Provided Derleth memorabilia to the Portage Historical Society last summer when they had a Derleth/Gale exhibit. Show support for their local activities. Presently planning to reprint Still Small Voice, a biography of Zona Gale, by Derleth.
  • Stays in touch with other authors groups who had correspondence or personal friendships with Derleth, including the Hamlin Garland group in West Salem and the Jesse Stuart Foundation in Greenup, Kentucky.
  • Has gathered a collection of Derleth memorabilia including copies of his books, letters, photos, and personal items.
  • Has received, based upon our reputation,  the gift of H.P. Lovecraft’s priceless telescope. (Lovecraft is to the 20th century what Edgar Allen Poe was to the 19th) We have countless requests, either to see the telescope, or to know more about it, from science fiction/fantasy fans around the world. A recent request was for slides and measurements, for a lecture to be held at Brown University’s Ladd Observatory in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Received permission to name the Sauk City bridge crossing the Wisconsin River the August Derleth Bridge and had a big dedication ceremony.
  • Created an exciting web site on the Internet (http://www.derleth.org.) so our members, and all Derleth fans have access to information about Derleth and all things relating to him. We keep the web site current and active.
  • Supported Professor of Horn Douglas Hill, from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Music in his efforts to turn Derleth poetry into music. He started out creating music for four French horns and a soloist. With Prof. Hill’s tireless effort, the music evolved into a second piece with full chorus and orchestra. The World Premiere of “A Place for Hawks” was held at the Wisconsin Union Theater in Madison, and it became a part of the Centennial Celebration of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Music. Another performance recently took place at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. This music, born of the poetry of Derleth, will continue to be played and sung by musicians from all over the world.
  • Provides resources for media and newspapers, often sending out press releases and answering questions for reporters. We appear on TV and radio to talk about Derleth and to promote his books. We handle mail and phone calls that require the efforts of a full time employed worker. We are barely able to keep up with the demand.
  • Has made Derleth multimedia presentations to numerous groups, mainly library groups, and at Walden West Festivals.
  • Has maintained audio and video history of events, members, associates and friends of Derleth.
  • Has done extensive research and accumulated many audio and video clips.
  • Has turned many of Derleth’s novels into Books on Tape.
  • Has created slide shows for use in schools and for seminars.
  • We took part in the PBS video “Gathering Like the Waters” which was partially filmed on the Sauk City railroad bridge and shown nationwide several times on the educational channel. We spoke about the history of the Wisconsin River and the significance of Derleth’s writings about the river.
  • Held Memorial Celebrations with largely attended weekend events to mark the 10th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of Derleth’s death.
  • For the 10th Anniversary we worked closely with the University of Wisconsin Center at Baraboo. We received a grant and produced the largest woodcut exhibit ever shown of Derleth illustrator Frank Utpatel. We put together a panel of educators for a presentation, created a slide show of places Derleth wrote about in his books, and provided a full weekend of events.
  • For the 25th Anniversary we conducted a tour of Derleth’s home, Place of Hawks. This was the first time the home was opened to the public since Derleth’s death in 1971. Bus loads of visitors toured the house and went to the marsh barn where Derleth often sat and wrote his poetry.