occupation: Assistant Professor of American Folklore at Miskatonic University
Yes, those Whatelys. Celestine’s grandfather is Sawyer Whately, the Squire of Dunwich Township and the patriarch of the ‘undecayed’ branch of the family. Her father is the Squire’s eldest son, Titus. Titus went to Harvard where he earned a degree in Economics. He also found a flare for acting and threw it all away for the stage. He married Delphine Gardiner, an actress, in 1890. Delphine comes from a family of actors split off from an otherwise respectable Rhode Island shipping family. The respectable Gardiners rather look down on the Whatelys, confidently forgetting that their ancestors dug a dead child out of her grave and burned her as a vampire.
Celestine has two brothers, Vincent and Jerome, and a sister Angelique, the baby of the family. Vincent is a playwright and poet and the closest to Celestine. Angelique has just started college at Miskatonic and Jerome is a lawyer of all things. Their parents are still acting, though they are much choosier then in younger, hungrier, days. The Whately/Gardiners are a close knit family and will all come to the aid of a relative in need.
Celestine and her siblings often spent summers in Dunwich. The Squire has great affection for his wayward son’s family, though he can’t say he understands them. She wasn’t there at the time but Celestine knew all the people involved in the Dunwich Horror and has heard from family and others in Dunwich what happened. She and her brothers didn’t need to be told to avoid the crazy old man or his creepy grandson. She was in Dunwich when the Old Wizard died and will never forget the screaming of the whippoorwills.
Celestine did her undergraduate work at Harvard and earned her PhD at Brown. She has written several papers for prestigious academic journals and is acknowledged to be a first rate scholar. People who wish to denigrate her work criticize her focus on ‘frivolous’ topics and ‘overemphasis’ on the experiences of women, immigrants and the poor.
Celestine is a bright, kindhearted young woman with a great enjoyment of life. She genuinely likes people and hearing their stories. She is a great advocate for higher (or any) education for women and the poor. Enthusiastic is the word that best describes her. She really has too much personality for staid old Miskatonic and won’t go far there. Being attractive and well-dressed doesn’t help. She’s headed toward spinsterhood and doesn’t much care. She has an open mind about the occult, and has seen some things in her day that will make her receptive to the Armitage Group. She’s also seen enough poseurs and fake mystics to retain a healthy skepticism.
Some of Celestine’s papers:
Whippoorwills and Wailing Women: Death Portents in America
Stealing Our Breath: The Vampire Tradition in New England
The Long-Lost Friend: German Folk Traditions in America
The Fruits of a New Land: American Food Lore and Home Cooking in New England
For Your Edification and Enjoyment: An Oral History of the America Medicine Show