A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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Results 11-15:

To Ferris Greenslet,  Wednesday [Feb. 24, 1943?] Harvard 

Checked with Alfred Knopf before sending telegram to make sure Heinemann offer did not conflict with a proposal relayed to her by Allan Nevins.   W. S. C.   [Stout #1617]


To Mary Ellen ChaseNovember 23, 1929Smith 

Appreciates the invitation by Chase and President Neilson to lecture, but cannot accept due to travels this winter. After Christmas will be leaving to see mother in Pasadena. Hopes to stop in Northampton on the way to see nephew at Amherst and niece at Smith, and wishes to see Chase and Miss MacGregor as well to discuss Grand Manan plans. Thanks for sending "The Golden Asse". The book will travel west with her unless she has the chance to look at it sooner. Suspects that Virginia was nervous when Chase had her to tea.   Willa Cather 


To Robert FrostNovember 17, 1915, from Number Five Bank Street, New YorkDartmouth 

As one displeased with the poets of the Spoon River school, wishes to thank him for producing the only recent American poetry that has captured her interest. The emergence of his distinctive voice is an important event. Wishes she could enjoy all the poets listed by Mr. Bynner and Miss Rittenhouse, but if Ezra Pound and Mr. Masters can be called "poets," how can Frost be? Is embarrassed by her lack of interest in "new" poetry and by her tendency to mock it, so takes special pleasure in Frost's work, which, though "new," is rich with classic poetic elements.   Willa Sibert Cather 


To Robert FrostJanuary 20, [1916], from 1180 Murray Hill Avenue, PittsburghDartmouth 

Wishes she could be in New York for the Poetry Society banquet, but cannot. Regrets missing the opportunity to meet him and Mrs. [Elinor Miriam White] Frost. Wonders if he ever chanced to meet Miss Jewett. Has often thought, if she had lived to see them, that Frost's books would have been a great encouragement to her in a world full of poets like Witter Bynner and Phoebe Snow. Unfortunately, Frost's fellows in the Poetry Society are so wound up in the ideal of "free verse" that they can't distinguish a line by him from one published in a rural newspaper. They don't even know enough to dislike Florence Earle Coates or Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Many of the so-called "poets" seem to be so just to make Miss Rittenhouse happy. Thankfully, the success of junk only damages things in the short term. Fears that if she ever attended a meeting of the Poetry Society she would be unable to suppress her opinions, and begs Frost to keep them private. Since poetry needs publicity as much as anything else, perhaps the Rittenhouse crowd will actually help Frost somewhat. Anyhow, more subtle methods can still succeed. Has shown many of his poems to others, including "The Mountain," "Mowing," "Going for Water," and "The Tuft of Flowers," and no one needs to have them explained, nor has anyone's sensibility been altered because, in Mr. Masters's words, "the hammock fell/ Into [sic] the dust with Milton's poems [sic]" [from Masters's poem "Many Soldiers" in Spoon River Anthology]. Not everyone believes that is symbolic!   Willa S. Cather 


To Roscoe and Meta Cather July 13, [1933], on W.S.C. letterhead with stamp of Whale Cove, Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada ; UNL-Roscoe 

Is very proud of Virginia's graduating cum laude, and was pleased to be well-received by the students. The Cathers looked good that day. Had a pleasant, brief talk with Dr. and Mrs. Neilson after the President's party ended. Twenty years ago, believed her [Elisabeth Muser Neilson] to be the most dynamic part of the couple, though always liked him as well. Had the same feeling this time. She is so fascinating, but certainly too forthright and spontaneous to support a family! Got to Grand Manan a week ago with Miss Lewis, and all is beautiful. The cottage is drowning in flowers. Now Mary Virginia has arrived. Sadly, she had no other place to go. Her father provides her with nothing, and probably never will. Wishes his Virginia could be there as well, as they would have such fun together. Weather is splendid, and the entire island is full of flowers. Mary Virginia is wonderful to be with and quite helpful to have about. Is pleased with all the nieces, but wishes she could spend more time with them. Appreciates Meta's kind letter. Having to be in California these last years kept her from spending more time with Virginia when she was in college in the northeast. Wishes Virginia luck finding a job.   Willie. 


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