Writing on family's behalf. Will be at home until first of October; having lots of fun. Is leaving for a ten-day hunting trip near Big Horn with Roscoe. Douglass handsomer than ever. Would like to demonstrate what good gin cocktails she can make. Hopes to produce a book of essays about the theater next winter. Plans to return to Pittsburgh because of job. Refused offer from the New York Sun that would have meant night work. Has had a happy year. Willa Cather [Stout #50]
Wanted to ask about her future plans, but never had a chance to talk freely. Please explain to Mr. McNeny why she has been so little at his office— because wanted to spend as much time as possible with family. Willa [Stout #52]
International Mark Twain Society has voted My Ántonia a silver medal, but must go to St. Louis to receive it. She might enjoy reading enclosed report done for the Society. Please don't show people in Red Cloud who are spiteful or would gape at Annie Pavelka to see how dissimilar Ántonia is. Why won't people believe fiction is not a direct portrait of real people? "Two Friends" not about Mr. Miner and Mr. Richardson, but the emotional response to them felt by a child. It recreates a memory. Similarly, Ántonia sums up emotions about immigrant people she knew there. Mr. Sadilek's suicide was the first thing she heard about upon arriving in Nebraska. Her fiction has always been a precise representation of her feelings, never faked or exaggerated feeling. P.S.: Enjoyed seeing Irene when she was in New York. Willie [Stout #1214]
Appreciates his good wishes. It must have been even worse for Mrs. Street, recovering in Tucson in 108 degree weather. Won't be going to the Berkshires after all, but will be at the Williams Inn in Williamstown through November. Will register under the name Winifred Carter. Willa Cather [Stout #1593]
Has kept hoping to write a letter by hand, but has been in brace since December 16. Is afraid of losing the story she was enjoying working on. Cries every time she reads her letter. In the early days, when making her living in newspaper work or teaching and sending money to family, wrote for the joy of it. Over the years has managed to recapture many happy memories by writing. The world has been good to her, but Red Cloud has not. Hard to believe Helen McNeny would lecture on Granville Hicks, who built his career attacking her, in the Auld Library! Naturally, this delights people in Red Cloud who like to spend their time figuring out where she got everything in her books. Truth is, most of the time doesn't know— they just came to her, without her even realizing she wasn't making them up. Remembers how angry Mrs. Fred Garber was about A Lost Lady; she told Douglass she ought to have sued. Never meant to write about Mrs. Garber, but in the shock of learning of her death the story came to her. Wrote an honest recording of feelings she evoked. Mustn't show this letter to the likes of Helen Mac! Willie [Stout #1689]
Going south soon to see friends near Marseilles. Sends love to Jim and children. Willa Cather
The coat is in the mail. Thinks it's lovely. If it doesn't fit, send it back to Lord and Taylor with instructions for Miss Dust in the cloak department. Lord and Taylor is a dependable store. Consider a hat to match the coat. She and Edith deliberately selected a classic style; idiosyncratic styles will soon look foolish. Helen Louise will love Ethel's getting the coat more than she would getting anything of her own—so the gift is from her, too! Willie
Is going East and will be at the Grosvenor Hotel, 35 Fifth Avenue, New York, for ten days. After that, is going to New Haven, Connecticut, the Hotel Taft, to get an honorary doctorate from Yale University on June 19, only the second one given to a female author. Edith Wharton received the first one, and she traveled from Paris to get it. Hopes he can visit their mother this summer. If so, he'd better not bring the family, as any group of people will inspire their mother to use up her energy orchestrating everyone. Left to go north when Will Auld came to visit. It would be better for Roscoe to see mother now, while her mind is sound, than to wait and come to her funeral. She has good days and bad days, but overall has declined; hopes she doesn't have to suffer a long time. Will Auld agreed with that. But for now she remains mother, and the trip wouldn't be too long for him. Would have gone through Rawlins, but already had a round-trip ticket. Mother's sanitarium is quiet and attractive. Though she may last for a time, she's bound to fail in mind and personality. It is a terrible thing to see, but he would not regret a visit. As to herself may never be able to feel gladness about things again, though maybe for youthful people and youthful art. Enjoyed seeing Jim Yeiser and Marguerite in San Francisco. Willa.