A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To the Very Rev. Francis R. Lee [Dean of St. Mark's Pro-Cathedral], n.d. [Nov. 1935?] pub. Hastings [Nebr.] Daily Tribune Dec. 2, 1935, quoted in full in Bohlke

Please convey greetings to Bishop and Mrs. George Beecher on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his consecration as bishop. Wishes she could be there on November 30. He has affected the lives of many people.   [Stout #1277]


To President Butler [ American Academy of Arts and Letters ]Nov. 16, [1938]AAAL 

Regrets having received his letter only today. Is grateful to accept election to the Academy. Has heard many of his public statements, with which she agrees. Senses the country is drifting toward dreadful events contrary to its traditional values and daily experience.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1425]


To Carrie Miner SherwoodSept. 25, 1946, from Northeast Harbor, MaineWCPM 

Sending a check for the Red Cloud Hospital Fund but wants the donation to be anonymous. Is glad the old house is being put to this use, though doesn't see the need when Hastings so readily accessible. Not sending more because still helps a good many causes in the county as well as nieces and nephews. Some nieces and nephews help her, too—such as when Helen Louise sent butter by air mail last winter when butter was unavailable in New York. Used to bring meat to her from New Jersey, too. Are returning to New York next week and will soon have apartment redone. Much love.   Willie   [Stout #1740]


To Mary Virginia CatherApril 27, 1928, from Rochester, MinnesotaUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Gave Dr. Edward Starr Judd [of the Mayo Clinic] her mother's picture after he requested it twice.  Is including a copy of the inscription she wrote on it.  Is getting daily treatments on back and shoulder, and Dr. Judd provided special shoes.  Would be more rested if Death Comes for the Archbishop was less well-liked.  People are so kind, but sometimes it seems like it would have been easier to have had surgery than to see so many kind people.  Hopes to hear from her when she returns to New York on Wednesday.   Willa 


To Elsie CatherJuly 9, 1934UNL-Rosowski Cather 

It would be cruel even to consider surgery for Bess.  Has spoken with her own doctor about it by telephone, and he says even young people do not recover from that operation.  Elsie should not take on Bessie's care.  It will get worse, and then she should be taken to the Mary Lanning [hospital] in Hastings.  She will need the care of nurses and doctors who will give her codeine for the pain. Will cover the expenses, along with Douglass.  Is enclosing a check to cover Elsie's expenses on Bess.  Sent William Andrews $25.  Has Will Auld paid interest on what he got from Bess for TomHoward Foe should look into it. Will Auld shouldn't get off all the time.  Feels bad for Elsie, too, for missing vacation to Grand MananElsie should send Bessie to the hospital before she is exhausted.  Is leaving for Grand Manan the 16th.  Will send another hundred dollars when needed.  Would be glad to pay for hiring a girl to help Elsie out.  Bessie would like the Hastings hospital after a few days.  Does Will Andrews need any more help now?  Can type only with one hand, so must stop.   Willie 


To Elsie CatherJuly 14, [1934]UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Appreciates Elsie's letter from Hastings and is pleased to learn that Bess does not have cancer. The heat is terrible. Has been hoping to see a cooler, wetter forecast when reading about the Midwest's weather in the [New York] Tribune, but it never comes. Feel pity for all, particularly the elderly. Would say it's punishment for the world's latest ideas and ways if she were a Catholic. Very hot in New York when she was finishing the book [Lucy Gayheart], but didn't really mind thanks to cool mornings and Josephine's good nature and creative housekeeping. The typist [Sarah Bloom?] could not keep the purple ink from running and smearing the manuscripts. Had to send dirty manuscripts to both the magazine [Woman's Home Companion] and Alfred Knopf. Both are thrilled with the book. Sent draft to Jan Hambourg to check musical material and received cable in return declaring the book to be her finest one. Not true, but it has good form. All directed toward the end. Had to put it down for four months when it was going well or it would be even better. Is sending a check now in case Elsie needs something for medical expenses, since getting to Grand Manan will put her out of touch for a while. Virginia cried at news of Bess's illness and has fond memories of her. Paper says that Charles is in Red Cloud. How has the town reacted to Will Auld? Does Elsie ever see the Aulds? Amazed that Bess gave Tom money for school—cannot respect him. Elsie should use part of enclosed money to buy electric fans—was a great relief to have them in the Grosvenor Hotel. Feels guilty going where it's cool, but could not read proofs in the heat of Red Cloud. Fears Elsie thinks her selfish, but the many letters she receives indicate her books serve a purpose for many readers and give others something to gossip about. No matter how strong and charitable she was, she could not do more for people than that. Not that she writes them for that reason, but that is their effect. Integrity is always positive, regardless of the form it takes. With love and sympathy.   Willie 


To Elsie Cather,  Holy Thursday [March 29, 1934] UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Sprained a tendon in her left wrist weeks ago, it got inflamed, and now is forced to wear a splint. Is not supposed to write, because of overload on right hand, so hasn't corresponded recently. The heat therapy takes hours each day, and every daily process takes more time and effort. Does not attempt to work. Thankfully, Yehudi and his family have kept her company; the pleasant children always distract her. Menuhin children are divine. Have just finished reading Richard II together. Supposes she would not have understood the quality of Yehudi's character if she had not had her injury, so there is a silver lining after all!   Willie 


To Elsie CatherJanuary 14, 1937, with clipping of an article from the New York Herald Tribune entitled "A Great Farewell" ; UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Enclosed editorial represents the New York view on the matter [of the abdication of England's King Edward VIII]. American media created such a stature for the woman [ Wallis Simpson ] that he could not have separated from her even if he wished to. Church officials probably wouldn't have minded if he put "duty" before "happiness," but the public wouldn't have respected him if he did. With such fierce public attention on the relationship, he couldn't really let her go, even though she may seem to be of low character to many. Kings struggle to have any sincere friends, and she seemed like one to him.   W. 


To Elsie Cather,  Wednesday [April 15, 1936?] UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Feels sure Elsie is exhausted after Easter, so doesn't want her to write at length about visit until after she's recuperated, but please respond to enclosed typed page of questions [enclosure not now with letter]—just the facts, not extended answers. Also enclosed is pleasant correspondence from Trix. The Mizer women are amazingly dignified in their ability to remain so positive after such a difficult life. Has been sick this Easter, but did get cards written and sent. Went with Yehudi to see Parsifal on Good Friday before the family left for the west. Roscoe has been delighting in his visit with Douglass in Long Beach. Take care, and don't be too concerned about the bleak events of Red Cloud. Carrie, Mary, and Vernon can bear it daily, so the abstract thought of it ought to be endurable. Hopes Mollie got the checks.   Willie 


To Helen Louise Cather [niece]June 2, [1930], postcard showing Avenue de l'Opéra, Paris, FranceUNL-Southwick 
Image of postcard showing the Avenue de l'Opera, Paris, France
Front of postcard #1947

Happy birthday from lovely Paris! The crossing was fine, and it is a joy to visit Isabelle daily—room is very close to her apartment.   W.S.C. 


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