Student Information

Student Name

Michael Abolafia




Internship Information

Company/Organization: Hippocampus Press

Mentor(s):Derrick Hussey

Topic of Internship


Background Information

Founded in 1999 by long-time literary horror aficionado Derrick Hussey, Hippocampus Press specializes in horror and classic science fiction, with an emphasis on the "pulp writers" of the 1920s and the 1930s. Based out of publisher and sole proprietor Derrick Hussey’s library-like home in Manhattan, Hippocampus approaches the art and craft of small-press publishing with an enthusiastic sense of pride and mission, unearthing, disseminating and proliferating the works of underappreciated and unknown authors associated with the literature of the Weird, the supernatural, and the strange, as well as the nonfiction and poetry of their core authors, H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. Closely associated with the tireless litterateur S.T. Joshi, Lovecraft’s leading biographer and an expert in early twentieth-century fiction spanning the literary gamut from political satirist H.L. Mencken to fantasist Lord Dunsany, Hippocampus is known principally as a press concerned with publishing scholarly, academic, and textually-definitive and authoritative editions of classic works, which often feature introductions, notes and exhaustively-researched annotations. The work of Lovecraft’s contemporaries, including Clark Ashton Smith, R. H. Barlow, and others, is oftentimes neglected, and Hippocampus Press hopes to bring these writers to readers’ attentions so they can envision Lovecraft as the nexus of a dynamic literary community of the 1920s and 1930s that produced some of the most distinctive horror and fantasy work in all literary history. Hippocampus Press operates in conjunction with a number of the world's pre-eminent scholars, numbering among them professors of semiotics and literature, established authors, and independent scholars alike, which has earned Hippocampus Press considerable respect in the niche annals of speculative fiction academia. The imprint's catalogue consists of over one hundred publications, including collections of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism, as well as peer-reviewed scholarly journals and review publications. Hippocampus Press has received a myriad of awards and accolades, including the 2011 Horror Writers Association Specialty Press Award, the most distinguished and elevated honor of its kind, and has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and two International Horror Guild Awards. Hippocampus Press continues to publish works of a scholarly bent, alongside the novels and short-story collections of contemporary luminaries in the horror-fantasy field.

Summary of Internship

At Hippocampus Press, I perform a wide array of publishing-centered tasks, ranging from the mundane and the clerical to the exciting, research-based transcriptional work that I so enjoy. The vast majority of my time is spent at the palatial Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, where I work solitarily on either primary-source research in the Manuscripts & Archives Division or on day-to-day tasks in the library's reading room. I am responsible for, in a general sense, manuscript transcription, primary-source and archival research, literary management and rights procurement from literary and artistic estates (i.e. contacting the families of deceased artists to get permission to use their work), corresponding with writers, estates, and institutions, data entry adn digital cataloguing, proofreading, copyediting, and revisionary work, processing digital orders, and a number of clerical duties, like packaging and mailing books at the local post office. My internship has afforded was me the wonderful opportunity to engage myself in professional, scholarly research. In the Manuscripts & Archives division, I combed through crumbling old periodicals in search of data pertaining to H.P. Lovecraft and his associates Donald Wandrei of Wisconsin and Elizabeth "Barnet" Toldridge, of Washington D.C. The highlight of my time spent at internship was my handling of H.P. Lovecraft's original manuscript for his short story "The Horror at Red Hook," written in his distinctive cursive, which was incredibly exciting to me as a long-time fan of the author. I learned a great deal from these forays into the dim and dusty corridors of forgotten and neglected scholarship, and improved markedly my skills as a researcher and would-be writer and scholar. On the whole, my internship at Hippocampus Press is perfect for a literarily-minded soul like myself, and I could not ask for a more congenial, interesting, and intellectually stimulating work environment.

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