People: Fletcher Pratt
Fletcher Pratt (1897-1956)
Among the many writers who were inspired by the local view of sand and sea was Fletcher Pratt (1897-1956), one of America's earliest and most influential Science Fiction authors. He also wrote important books on Naval History and the Civil War, and developed important war-gaming theories prior to the Second World War.
Pratt established a literary dining club in New York during the 1940s that called itself the Trapdoor Spiders. Fans of Isaac Asimov are familiar with the fictionalized version of this group, which appeared in several Asimov books as the Black Widowers.
Pratt and his buddies-including New York-based scientists, actors and authors-also gathered at the large house on Portland Rd. that he shared with his wife, Inga. The group called itself the Ipsey Wipsey Institute, after an old children's rhyme
The Pratt house was famous (some would say infamous) for the elaborate and highly theatrical parties that took place there. The property was later destroyed by fire.
Pratt lent his hand to local efforts from time to time, including A History of Highlands, which he wrote for the town's Golden Jubilee book in 1950.