Sonia H. Greene
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Created: February 2017
| Updated: February 2017
Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft Davis (16 March 1883, Ichnia, Ukraine - 26 December 1972) was a one-time pulp fiction writer and amateur publisher, a single mother, business woman and successful milliner who bankrolled several fanzines in the early twentieth century. She is best known for her two-year marriage to American weird fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. She was a president of the United Amateur Press Association.
Some of Greene's biographical details are unclear – she was born as either Sonia Haft Shafirkin or as Sonia Shaferkin Haft in either Ichnia, Ukraine, Russian Empire or Konotop, Chernigov Province to Simyon and Racille (Haft) Shafirkin. It is known that she did come from a Jewish family. Her father apparently died when she was a child, and her mother emigrated to the United States, leaving Sonia and her brother in Liverpool at the Baron Maurice de Hirsch School. Sonia joined her mother in America in 1892, after her mother remarried to a shopkeeper named Samuel Morris.
At the age of sixteen, on 24 December 1899, Sonia married Samuel Greene, a Russian whose name may have originally been Samuel Seckendorff, who was ten years her senior. The following year she gave birth to a son, who died at three months of age. Her daughter, Florence Carol (later Carol Weld) was born on 19 March 1902. According to Lovecraft's correspondent Alfred Galpin Samuel Greene was "a man of brutal character". The marriage was turbulent, and Samuel Greene died in 1916, apparently by his own hand.
Greene was independently middle class, unusual for women of that time. She worked as a milliner at a department store and traveled frequently for her job. Her salary allowed her to rent a nice house for herself and her daughter in the then-fancy area of Brooklyn known as Flatbush. It also allowed her to donate money to several amateur press publications, as well as to travel to amateur press conventions.
Her daughter Florence became a successful journalist under the name of Carol Weld. The two women had a tense relationship, and stopped speaking to each other. Greene does not mention her daughter in her volume The Private Life of H.P. Lovecraft, an autobiographical work which details only the period of her relationship and marriage with Lovecraft.