'August Derleth was born... in Sauk City, Wisconsin, to William Julius and Rose Louise Derleth. He attended St Aloysius' parochial school, and sold his first story to Weird Tales at the age of 16. He earned his Bachelor's of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin. While Derleth was in college, he wrote the beginnings of the Solar Pons stories, which was not published in book form until 1945. After college, Derleth went to work for Fawcett Publications as an editor for Mystic Magazine. In 1932, the first of Derleth's "Sac Prairie" stories was published in various local papers such as, "The Midland," "This Quarter" and "Prairie Schooner." Derleth decided to write the "Sac Prairie" saga over the course of fifty books, combining novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, journal extracts and miscellaneous prose. In 1933, he wrote his first Judge Peck mystery novel, "Murder Stalks the Wakely Family" in ten days for a new publishing company. Derleth got a contract with Lourig and Mussey and began writing more and more. Derleth achieved Roll of Honor Status in Edward O'Brien's best short story anthologies. In 1935, his first book was published, a collection of related novellas entitled "Place of Hawks." He then got a contract with Charles Scribner's and Sons and in 1937, Derleth's first "Sac Prairie" novel was published, "Still is the Summer Night." He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1938 to help him continue the "Sac Prairie" saga. He went on to lecture in American Regional Literature at the University of Wisconsin. In 1939, Derleth founded Arkham House, which consisted of publishers devoted to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsary Algernon Blackwood, A. E. Coppard and others. He also became editor of The Capitol Times of Madison, Wisconsin, a position from which he later resigned in 1960. Derleth began lecturing at Los Angeles State College in 1953, and...[was also] Visiting Lecturer in English at the University of Wisconsin. In 1960, he began editing and publishing a small magazine of poems called "Hawk and Whipoorwill." August Derleth has had upwards of 3,000 works published in over 350 magazines. He has written in several different genres and done well in each. '
Derleth was devoted to, and inspired by, the settings of his home state. One fogotten book of his was a history of a local railroad: The Milwaukee Road: Its First Hundred Years (1948)
'From its incorporation in 1847 in Wisconsin Territory to its first run in 1851—twenty miles between Milwaukee and Waukesha—to its later position of far-flung power, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad Company had a vivid history. By 1948, the Milwaukee Road had more than 40,000 employees and maintained more than 10,000 miles of line in twelve states from Indiana to Washington.
'Also in 1948, August Derleth's popular and well-crafted corporate history celebrated the strength and status of this mighty carrier. On February 19, 1985, the railroad became a subsidiary of Soo Line Corporation and its identity vanished overnight. Nonetheless, it remains a romantic memory, and Derleth's book remains the only complete history of this innovative and dynamic railroad.'
Therein preserved for history is this worthy detail:
'On hand to meet The Marquette every morning when it pulls into Mason City, Iowa, at 7:45 is Minnehaha, the station cat, whose breakfasts for the last ten years have been served with the compliments of the Milwaukee Road.'