A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

37 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 Dorothy Canfield FisherOct. 14, 1940UVt 

Is unable to write by hand because of sprain. Now they are even on misquoting titles. Has regretted calling her last book "Seasoned Wood" [instead of Seasoned Timber]. Now Dorothy has called hers "Sapphira and the Slave Maid," which loses the doubling of the "r" sound. Glad she likes what she has read of it. Galley proofs need a lot of correction. Abandoned it in the middle when Douglass and Isabelle died, but had already written the epilogue, which was the target. Has overridden her reluctance to shift from third person to first because the incident such an important one in her childhood. Grandmother Boak a Confederate and lost two sons in the South's army, but cared about justice and actually did take Nancy across the Potomac. Postmistress was her great aunt, Sidney Cather Gore. Enjoyed hearing the southern speech in her mind as she wrote it, especially the black people's speech. Realizes their speech patterns are not consistent in the book, but house servants varied their speech. Might not have finished the book had it not been for the war, but writing it helped her escape the anxiety.   Willa   [Stout #1497]


To Mrs. Sidney FloranceFeb. 23, [1942]Newberry 

Enclosing two form letters regarding the Myra Hess Fund, to which she is a regular contributor.   Willa   [Stout #1574]


To Bishop George BeecherMar. 12, 1947, transcription made by Bernice Slote ; UNL 

Was grieved to learn of the death of Mrs. Beecher. Delayed writing until sufficiently recovered from the strain of her right hand to do so by hand. Does not write to many people in Red Cloud any longer, but does write to Carrie Sherwood and Mary Creighton and to Sidney Florance and his wife. Glad the hospital board is making such a good use of her family's old home. Some of the people in the country out from Red Cloud have written telling her how kind her mother was to them when they came to town. These are the memories one cherishes. Prays that he can bear up under the loneliness that has come to him.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1754]


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 Elsie CatherSeptember 25, [1933?], from Grand MananUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Appreciates the letter keeping her connected to Red Cloud. Will ought to have invested Bess's money in Postal Savings Bonds. Jess always has a trick up her sleeve. Selling cosmetics—and what an attitude! Isn't too sorry for her. Sent Will Andrews twenty-five dollars. Hopes Bess will hire a cleaning woman. Elsie should do what she wants about the old kitchen, but even an empty kitchen will keep the house cooler. Pleased to learn about Sid Florance, but how can his bank survive? Please send on any letters from Roscoe. Leaving Grand Manan soon to go to Jaffrey. Please write. OK to send Molly money for Thanksgiving?   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 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 


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