"There they hung, though no ladder's rung
Supported their dangling feet"
Henry St. Clair Whitehead was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on 05 March 1882.
Whitehead attended Harvard University, graduating in 1904 in the same class as Franklin D. Roosevelt. He later attended Berkeley Divinity School of Middletown, Connecticut and was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1912. Whitehead served as acting archdeacon of the Virgin Islands from 1921 to 1929. Whilst living on the island of St. Croix, Whitehead gathered the material he was to use in his later writings of the supernatural.
He wrote his first story in 1910, although it was not published until long after his death. His first published story appeared in Weird Tales in 1924, and between then and 1933 he had about twenty-five stories published. His stories also appeared in Strange Tales and other pulp magazines.
He started a correspondence with H.P Lovecraft in late 1930, and Lovecraft visited him at his home in Dunedin, Florida, where Whitehead was the rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Lovecraft said of him, "He has nothing of the musty cleric about him, but dresses in sports clothes, swears like a he-man on occasion, and is an utter stranger to bigotry or priggishness of any sort."
His work is represented by Wordsworth Editions in Voodoo Tales The Ghost Stories of Henry S. Whitehead.
The Reverend Whitehead died on 23rd November 1932, from a chronic gastric ailment, at the age of fifty. Weird Tales ran a full-page memoriam written by H.P. Lovecraft. Whitehead was reaching the peak of his writing skills when he died, but no collections of his stories were published during his lifetime. As a result, despite the quality of his writing, he never achieved the same fame as his contemporaries in the genre. It was not until 1944 that the first book of his stories, Jumbee and Other Uncanny Tales, was published, followed by West India Lights in 1946. These books subsequently became unavailable for many years, and the cult following that he acquired eventually, made them highly-prized collector's items.