The young man's [?] business proposal has destroyed her concentration on a day when she was beginning a new story. Please keep an eye out; will get her lawyer onto it if he makes another move. Why can't people leave her alone? [Several words blotted out.] P.S.: So terrible about the Lindberghs. Willie [Stout #1101]
Weather has been cold since she got back, but once she got over the flu has been going to concerts and operas. Sees Virginia about once a week. Despairing about the Lindberghs' baby! Police don't seem to be doing anything, and no one respects their privacy. When her child arrives, don't smother him with motherly doting. That ruins children. Willa Cather [Stout #1102]
Please write and tell her all about the baby. Lindberghs' ordeal only seems to get worse. What disgusting deception of them! Has been enjoying their quiet cabin and the cool, foggy weather. [signature illegible] [Stout #1114]
Glad he sent the English reviews of Obscure Destinies, especially the one from Manchester Guardian. Interesting that he was a professor at Michigan when she received honorary degree there. The first university to give a person an honorary degree is brave. Princeton was brave in giving her its first to a woman. Best wishes with his work at the British Museum. Willa Cather [Stout #1153]
Appreciates wonderful, reassuring letter, which answered her questions about Dr. Creighton and Bess. Feels overwhelmed by good news of Bess. Will Elsie please take a good stock of food out there from Mrs. Burden's store so that Mrs. Kourtner can cook. Buy them new bedding or furniture if they need it. Is enclosing a check for forty dollars to assist with property taxes. Hopes Elsie will give Kitty work; will help her and Elsie both. Is as pleased as the Bishop that Elsie saved the trees at the church. Bishop is an impressive man. If West Virginia is to be at the University of Chicago, why doesn't Elsie go there for Christmas and enjoy some shows and music? She herself always stays at the La Salle hotel. Is amazed that though she is so busy Elsie had the house painted, but a good time to do it with labor and materials cheap. Nebraska climate always hard, but Michigan, Wisconsin, and even England are very hot and dry now. Grand Manan seems to be the only cool place left. Wishes she could bring Red Cloud in its entirety there for a week. Friend of J. M. Barrie wrote to ask that she inscribe a book to Barrie, since he often reads Death Comes for the Archbishop and My Antonia. Hard to know how to write such an inscription; he would not be pleased by anything reeking of flattery. Would rather write a book than this, but has to do it. Elsie should take it easy and rest after the heat of the summer. Willie
Virginia's graduation [from Smith College] went well. Did everything proper and had lunch with Virginia and her friend Miss Wilder and visited the Baldwin House. Stayed in the quiet Faculty House at Mount Holyoke. Virginia joined Cather and Lewis for dinner at the Whichers, who send greetings to Elsie. Virginia accompanied Cather and Lewis to Springfield and then went to Detroit. Like many her age, Virginia seems gloomy. Virginia brought Elsie's letter when she came over with Mary Lewis to Mount Holyoke to have dinner the day they arrived. W.
Lunched yesterday in this gorgeous place. Rested in the arbor after traveling 15 miles along the coast. Willa
Was planning to leave for Red Cloud weeks ago when received an offer from University of Michigan to get an honorary doctorate on June 16. Knopf and other friends believe that it should not be passed up. Robert Frost thought declining would be offensive. Ann Arbor is, surprisingly, closer to New York than to Red Cloud. So has decided to come after receiving degree in Michigan and stay there until late July. Is intolerant of the heat, of course, so will leave for Grand Manan and be there in friends' cabin in August and September—yes, a strange plan for getting a few weeks of writing time. The degree is wrecking the summer. Doesn't understand why she can't refuse. Wishes people would be independent enough to ignore praise the way they do criticism and let nothing get in the way of living. Elsie, please write if parents are unwell; a sick parent would be an acceptable way to decline the degree. Can't bring herself to lie about it, though; would feel responsible if they actually got sick. [note in the margin of the second page, written by Mary Virginia Cather, reads, "Why do you not write home Write what you think best to Willa I am not so very well. But I can easily[?] wait[?]. perhaps it is best for her to come late after you get here Mother."] Willie
Is not angry, just tired from the flu and impatient with all the requests made of her. Is refusing the requests, but even writing decorous rejections is burdensome. Getting the honorary degree from Columbia University was wonderful. Was the sole woman among six aging men, and sat in cap and gown next to the French Ambassador [Paul Claudel?]and the University of California's president [ William Wallace Campbell ]. Edith says that the crowd cheered for her most, and they did. Was applauded when the President [ Nicholas Murray Butler ] called her name and again after two Deans put a beautiful collar on her; the others only got applause after they received their degrees. The Cuban, de Bustamante, was also well-liked. After the ceremony, she went to a supper party hosted by President Butler and spoke with many dignitaries from the university and beyond. It was pleasant, but tiring. She should have invited Mary Virginia along. Is mailing the Columbia collar [hood], along with the Michigan one, to Carrie Sherwood for storage. Hasn't the room to store them, and Carrie has a special place. Hopes mother likes the beads, even if family does usually question her [i.e., Cather's] judgment in such matters. Is planning to go to Grand Manan soon. PS: The traveling done by the men receiving degrees tells one how important they think it is. Willie
Has described events in a letter to mother, and asked that it be forwarded to him. Inform Margaret and Elizabeth that she sat next to Charles Lindbergh at the [Princeton University] president's dinner party, and that she had lunch with the Lindberghs the day following. Willie.