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Robert Hayward Barlow
Born 18 May, 1918
Leavenworth, Kansas
Died January 2, 1951 (aged 32)
Azcapotzalco, Mexico City
Cause of death Suicide (barbiturate overdose)
Occupation Author; anthropologist

Robert Hayward Barlow (18 May 1918 – 1 or 2 January 1951[1]) was an American author, anthropologist and historian of early Mexico, and expert in the Nahuatl language.

Barlow spent much of his youth at Fort Benning, Georgia, where his father, Colonel E. D. Barlow, was stationed; around 1932 Col. Barlow received a medical discharge and settled his family in the small town of DeLand, in central Florida. Family difficulties later forced Barlow to move to Washington, D.C., and Kansas.

Barlow had been a friend of writers H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard since he was 13. He collaborated with Lovecraft on six stories, and Lovecraft made several extended visits to the young Barlow at his home in Florida, later making Barlow his literary executor. Barlow came to Providence shortly after Lovecraft's death and donated most of the manuscripts and some printed matter to the John Hay Library of Brown University.

He moved to Mexico around 1943, where he taught at several colleges, later becoming a professor of anthropology at Mexico City College and a distinguished anthropologist of Indian culture and poet. In 1950 he published Mexihkatl itonalama ("The Mexican's calendar"), a Nahuatl-language newspaper.

Barlow had written as early as 1944 that he had "a subtle feeling that my curious and uneasy life is not destined to prolong itself".[2] He committed suicide on the first or second of January, 1951, apparently fearing the exposure of his homosexuality by a disgruntled student.[1] William S. Burroughs, then a student of Barlow's, briefly described his death in a letter to Allen Ginsberg, dated January 11: "A queer Professor from K.C., Mo., head of the Anthropology dept. here at M.C.C. where I collect my $75 per month, knocked himself off a few days ago with overdose of goof balls. Vomit all over the bed. I can’t see this suicide kick."[3]



Books by Barlow

  • Poems for a Competition. Sacramento, CA: The Fugitive Press, 1942. (verse). For these poems Barlow received the 26th award of the Emily Chamberlain Cook Prizde in Poetry.
  • View from a Hill. Azcapotzalco, 1947 (verse).
  • The Extent of the Empire of the Culhua Mexico. [Ibero-Americana 28]. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949.
  • Annals of the Jinns West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1978.
  • A Dim-Remembered Story West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1980. Preface by H. P. Lovecraft.
  • The Night Ocean (with H.P. Lovecraft). West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 3rd pr 1989.
  • Eyes of the God: The Weird Fiction and Poetry of Robert H. Barlow. NY: Hippocampus Press, 2002.

Books About Barlow

  • Hart, Lawrence (ed). Accent on Barlow: A Commemorative Anthology. San Rafael, CA: Lawrence Hart, 1962.


  1. ^ a b Joshi & Schultz (2007): p. xx.
  2. ^ Joshi & Schultz (2007): p. 408.
  3. ^ Burroughs (1993): pp. 77–78.


Abrams, H. Leon. Insights Into the Creative Genius of Robert Hayward Barlow. pp. 17-23.  
"Robert Hayward Barlow: An Annotated Bibliography with Commentary". Katunob Occasional Publication in Mesoamerican Anthropology (16): 1-32. 1981.  
Burroughs, William S. (1993). The Letters of William S. Burroughs: Volume I, 1945–1959. ed. by Oliver Harris. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-00-9452-0.  
Dibble, Charles E. (April 1951). "Robert Hayward Barlow - 1918-1951". American Antiquity 16 (4): 347.  
Joshi, S.T.; and David E. Schultz. "Robert H. Barlow". An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Wesport, Ct.: Greenwood Press. pp. 15–16.  
Joshi, S.T.; and David E. Schultz(eds.) (2007). O Fortunate Floridian: H. P. Lovecraft's Letters to R. H. Barlow. Tampa, Florida: University of Tampa Press. ISBN 978-1-59732-034-4.  
McQuown, Norman A. (1951). "Robert Hamilton [sic] Barlow, 1918–1951". American Anthropologist 53 (4): 543.  
"The historian Robert H. Barlow". The Americas 8 (2): 223–224. 1951.  
"Students and faculty mourn passing of Professor Barlow". Mexico City Collegian: p. 3. 1951-01-18.  

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