A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

23 letters found

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To Fanny ButcherNov. 4, 1937Newberry 

Extends sympathy for painful sore. Remembers the infected place on back of her head when she was working on The Song of the Lark. Kept putting off going to the hospital; took codeine for the pain and kept writing; was finally put into the hospital after she went into delirium. Didn't write sooner because uncle was ill in Maryland [probably James Howard Gore, Cather's cousin who was more than twenty years older than her], and niece has been distraught with husband's pneumonia. In addition, has been preparing for a subscription edition from Houghton Mifflin.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1379]


To Elsie CatherAugust 30, [1933], from Grand MananUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Thinks Elsie has gotten a lot done this summer. Appreciates her asking about the small house, but will be visiting not working when in Red Cloud.  Sorry Elsie had to deal with the Auld problems.  They made their own mess, and they will have to deal with it themselves.  Jess should have saved the money she got from Bess, and she needs to learn that people must earn their money by working.  Tom, Charles, and Virginia should support Jessica, not her siblings.  Urges Elsie to consult Howard Foe about the note given to Bess.  If Tom is that kind of person, it's best that they're aware of it.  Jim [James Cather, brother?] would not have done that.  All this has kept her awake—as it did Elsie; dishonor like this shows how important honor is.  Please buy Bess a new coat and send the bill, and write if she needs expense money for house maintenance.  August 30 is anniversary of their mother's death.  Thinks she is beginning to understand mother, and thinks shortly before her stroke mother began to understand herself.  Mother gave her some old pictures to keep, but the "sweet sixteen" photograph Elsie wanted not among them.  Thinks Jessie probably took it.  Attempting to stay focused on work and resist interruptions.   Willie 


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 Charles Cather [April 17?, 1913] , from 5 Bank Street photocopy, not original; UNL-Southwick 

Appreciates the interest check and is pleased Mr. MacArthur accepted the loan. If he has trouble placing other $700 just mail it back so it can earn interest in the bank. Is working on McClure's Autobiography, which will come out in the fall and winter. Father will like it. Will soon begin correcting proof on new novel [ O Pioneers! ]. Publishers have high expectations, and the book will go on sale September 1. Howard Gore wrote to inquire if she was close to William Jennings Bryan and could persuade him to give Gore a diplomatic appointment in Holland. [Bryan served as Secretary of State 1913-1915.] Gore is smart, but also a kiss-up. Alex Pendleton wrote; is sounding old. Unfortunately can't make it to Winchester this spring. Tell Uncle Billy Parks hello. Heard wonderful old stories from him last summer. Has been thinking about their drives when she was in Red Cloud last spring.   Willie 


To Charles F. Cather [October 27, 1913] [with letter from Mrs. D. A. Brodie to Cather] ; UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Just received unfortunate news [death of Lillian Gore in Paris] from Mrs. Brodie (also known as Lizzie Potts). Has contacted Howard, and father should, too.   Willa 


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 Bess Seymour [January 21?, 1906] UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Thanks for the letter about the baby [probably Mary Virginia Auld, niece, born November 11, 1905], who likely had a rich Christmas. Had a good trip to New York, but unfortunately was too busy to see the Wieners. Will someday show Bess the beautiful dress she bought for the dinner [Cather attended a dinner at Delmonico's in New York celebrating the 70th birthday of Mark Twain in December 1905]. Auntie Gore's letter said that Douglass Clark has nine children, that Perry's kids are living in Winchester and Walter works at a bank, and Howard Gore's wife is wintering in Switzerland and sending Sidney to school there. Auntie doesn't seem to enjoy their living abroad. Was good of Alec Bentley to visit his father. Is Mrs. Governor Garber still in Red Cloud? Sends affection to everyone, particularly the baby. Tell Mollie hello and please write and get Jess to write, too. PS: Is wearing garters Jess gave her. Received many Christmas gifts, including silk stockings, a leather bag, a pin, hand-embroidered clothing, and books.  Willie 


To Sidney FloranceJune 30, 1945Drew U (Caspersen 54) 

Is pleased to have Mr. Foe assume her $1000 farm mortgage on the North half of Northwest Quarter of Section 22, Township 2, Range 12. For now, please just put Mr. Foe's payment in People-Webster County Bank. After July 5 will be at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor Maine working on a new story. Is surprised at Will Auld's treatment of Mrs. Damerell. Thought he esteemed her, but supposes that once honor begins to be lost, eventually it is lost entirely. Father liked Will's uncle, Tom Auld, and both Tom Auld and father were fooled into thinking Will respectable because he neither smoked nor drank. From what the newspaper says, the weather in Webster County looks good for the corn. Appreciates his kindness, which has given her good feelings about Red Cloud again.   Willa Cather 


To Leonard Charles Van NoppenJanuary 5, 1899, from 341 Sheridan Ave, East End, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDrew U (Adams 141) 

He must be inundated with praise since the publication of his [translation of Joost van den Vondel's] Lucifer [New York, London: Continental Publishing Co., 1898]. Hopes he does not mind another. Has been following the positive reception with some surprise at the success, for it is rare that an old, non-English language text can inspire such enthusiasm. Liked the review in the Critic; it was as positive as Vance Thompson's but more focused and intelligent. Had hoped to review it herself and regrets being gone and missing the chance. Wants him to know of her honest approval of his work. And now, though still so young, he is going to talk at Columbia! Hopes his success has made him content. Though he used to doubt his abilities, she never did. With support of cousin Dr. James Howard Gore of Columbian University, Washington, D.C., is hoping to publish a book of essays on theater soon, and hopes he will look at it for her. Wishes him the best. P.S.: Is boarding with some young women from Pittsburgh he met at the Chicago World's Fair, the Miss Davises. Unusual to associate him with those uncomplicated girls. It is an association Balzac would have appreciated.  Willa Cather 


To Leonard Charles Van NoppenJanuary 26, 1900, on "Editorial Rooms, Pittsburgh Leader" letterhead ; Drew U (Adams 141) 

Congratulations and welcome back. Does not think they can find an audience for a lecture on Dutch literature in Pittsburgh; cannot even find enough interested in English literature. Zangwill can't attract a dozen people. Has refused to let cousin Dr. Gore even try. Stedman has done nothing with the manuscript [unpublished Player Letters], but Ladies Home Journal has published a piece ["The Man Who Wrote 'Narcissus,'" Ladies Homes Journal (November 1900): 11], a story will be out soon in the New England Magazine ["El Dorado: A Kansas Recessional," New England Magazine 24 (June 1901): 481-488], a poem in the Critic ["Grandmother, Think Not I Forget," Critic 36 (April 1900): 308], and poems in the Criterion [?], and McClure's [?], as well as several minor periodicals [the Pittsburgh Leader and Lincoln Courier both published poems by Cather in 1900]. Clearly she has not been lazy. R. H. Russell and Co. of New York now has the Player Letters; does Van Noppen know anyone there? If so, please put in a good word for her. Rupert Hughes of the Criterion thinks they have a future. Hopes everything is going well. Mr. Couse and the others send greetings.   Willa Cather 


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