A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Mariel GereJune 1, 1893 from Red Cloud, Nebr. on father's letterhead ; WCPM 

Had to leave without saying goodbye because of grandmother's illness. Brother James has the measles. Sister Elsie prates of Willie and "Willwese" [for Louise]. Louise dislikes the name Willa but will not call her Love in front of others. Could Mariel and her sisters come to visit? Louise may do so. Mrs. Wiener's health has improved, and Mrs. Garber is her pleasant self.   W. Cather   [Stout #12]


To Mariel GereAug. 1, 1893 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Has been lonely since Louise's visit. Tried to bribe James to leave them alone. Spent a few days at uncle's home near other families from Virginia. Aunt hosted a "literary" at which a truly atrocious singer did twelve songs. Climbed the windmill in the evening and enjoyed the sight of moonlight glistening on ponds and corn tassels. Had to pull off skirts to climb down when a storm approached. Roscoe away haying, but when he gets back they will go up the river to their island. Baby brother Jack has been ill. Please greet a certain blonde [Louise?] if she sees her. Drove her about the countryside with one hand or none, but she didn't object. Still dreams about it. Don't read that part to Ned [Ellen] and Frances.    Cather   [Stout #15]


To Mariel GereMar. 12, [1896] from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Feels exiled. Why doesn't Mariel write? Cooks sometimes to relieve boredom. Rides bicycle when weather permits. Planned and orchestrated a wedding breakfast for her [Cather's] cousin and Hugh Miner. Looked after the children the previous week while parents went to Hastings. Enjoys playing cards and going visiting with Douglass and Roscoe, when he comes to town. Has been reading Arabian Nights and Alice in Wonderland to James.   Willa   [Stout #22]


To Charles GereMar. 14, 1896 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Enclosing a letter to Professor Adams. Has been to see Regent Kaley, who says decision on new instructor to replace Professor Bates rests with regents and chancellor. Please speak to them about it. Is confident she can stay in the job if she gets temporary appointment. Age and sex are against her, but would take it at lower rank and less pay than a man.   Willa Cather   [Stout #23]


To Mariel Gere,  Friday [July 1896] from PittsburghWCPM 

Has been in this grimy city only a few hours. Began feeling happier when she got east of Chicago and started seeing hills and clear streams and trees. Conductor asked if she was going home. Was met by Mr. Axtell. For now, is staying at the Axtells' gloomy house, where the only ornament is a drawing of someone's grandfather. At least their library has some novels (tame ones), and Mrs. Axtell has Harper's magazine. Using daughter's room while she is away; room has three Bibles and an E. P. Roe novel.   Willa   [Stout #25]


To Louise PoundOct. 13, 1897 from PittsburghDuke 

Not fair to accuse her of keeping her address a secret. Had not expected to be daytime telegraph editor when she accepted the Leader job, but when it became available applied and got it, despite youth and sex. Work is like running a race, but hours are short. Hard to write distinctive headlines for a dozen suicides at a time. Has received A Portrait of a Lady [ James ]. Mr. Farrar has come to call, so must break off.    Willa Cather   [Stout #46]


To Frances GereJune 23, 1898 from PittsburghWCPM 

Glad to hear Fritz Westermann has gone off to the [Spanish-American] war. Has been writing headlines about the blockade of Santiago Harbor. Sorry not to come to her commencement. Dorothy [Canfield] will be visiting in early July. Has been in Washington with her cousin Professor Gore, who was preparing for a polar expedition. His Norwegian wife, Lillian Thekla Brandthall, is glamorous and impressive. Looking forward to getting back to Nebraska.    Willa   [Stout #49]


To Mariel Gere [Oct. 17, 1898] , from Columbus, Ohio joint letter with Dorothy CanfieldWCPM 

Canfield: Willa has been ill with grippe but is better, her cough not so deep. Has also been sick herself. Expects to graduate in June. Cather: Took refuge with the Canfields because of prolonged grippe and overwork. Leaving tomorrow for Pittsburgh. Canfield: Family sends regards. Mrs. Flavia Canfield: Seconds Dorothy's invitation for Mariel to join them in Europe next year. Cather: Dorothy's brother has just left to take his fiancée home. Will write again from Pittsburgh.   [Stout #53]


To Mariel Gere,  n.d. [Dec. 7, 1898] , excerpt transcribed by Bernice Slote ; UNL 

Dorothy Canfield is the "Real Thing." [allusion to story by Henry James.]   [Stout #54]


To [?] ,  n.d. [prob. 1897 or 1898] excerpt transcribed by Bernice Slote ; UNL 

Enjoyed Thanksgiving visit to Columbus. Canfields away, leaving house to Dorothy, Jim and fiancée, and herself. Many parties. Is spending much of her leisure time with Ethelbert Nevin, a lovable man. Has been reading Kipling's poetry, as she used to at the university.   [Stout #55]


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