To be continued… The Australian Newspaper Fiction Database is excavating a wealth of fiction from the scans of pages of Australian newspapers. Interesting, but I must say that it has a search interface that only a librarian could love, and my search for “Rosaleen Norton” or Rosaleen Norton on the author field both threw up fatal database-error messages. An alternative search in the “Publication Author” field of the item grid, for Norton, worked but had no results.

As a wider test of what’s been digitised in Australia I went instead to Trove – Newspapers – Advanced Search and searched for “Rosaleen Norton”. She was a notorious occult/horror artist subject to an art censorship court trial in the early 1950s, and who as a girl had three H.P. Lovecraft-style macabre stories published in the popular Smith’s Weekly newspaper (Sydney, 1919 to 1950). She may possibly have been one of Lovecraft’s late postal correspondents, evidenced by some strong internal stylistic evidence and her story “The Painted Horror” strongly resembling Lovecraft’s lost juvenile tale “The Picture” (1907). He was known to send this story out at this time, for teenage authors to work over and learn from.

Excellent results were had with Trove. The accounts of the controversy and her trial show up in the 1950s. And two of her stories were available as scans and with original illustrations to boot. Though sadly the often-fragile UK-Australia Internet connection died before I could search for her third story, or see if there were other stories as yet unfound.

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