A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Mrs. Helen StowellMay 31, 1889 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Won Latin prize at end of school year. Grades of 90 in rhetoric, 95 in Latin, and 100s in physics, astronomy, and ancient history. Teacher wrote a message in report card praising her literary interests. Has fixed up a room at father's office as a library. Is reading the Latin Bible, astronomy, geology, history, Homer, Milton, Swinburne, Ouida, and George Sand. Sister Jessie in school musicale yesterday. Mother, Mrs. Wiener, Mrs. Garber, and husbands [Charles F. Cather, Charles F. Wiener, and Silas Garber] had a picnic. Longs to go to Europe. Mary Miner doing well at piano. P.S.: As usual, Cather house is a gathering place for young people to flirt.  William Cather, Jr.   [Stout #2]


To Mrs. Helen StowellAug. 28, 1889 from Red Cloud, Nebr. on father's letterhead ; WCPM 

Has been studying Greek and reading Bulwer-Lytton and Dickens. Brothers Roscoe and Douglass competed in the Firemen's State Tournament. Is serving as a reporter for the Republican, edited by Dr. McKeeby. Has been to picnics in the Garbers' grove. Local couple flirting ridiculously. Jessie, Roscoe, and Douglass singing in cantata. Is going to baseball game in Superior, Nebraska, with Mary and Hugh Miner. Is going to dance at platform in the Garbers' grove tonight.   Willa Cather   [Stout #3]


To Mariel GereJuly 16, 1891 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Why did Mariel buy the disreputable Sappho? Kit and Mr. Myres flirting. Is feeling lonely but takes refuge in French history, George Eliot, and long horseback rides. Was at Mrs. Garber's on Sunday. Kit loaned her copy of Sappho to a church woman—how depraved! Is doing vivisection on frogs. Mariel could set up lab at newspaper office.   Willa Cather   [Stout #4]


To Mrs. Charles Gere,  n.d. [Oct. 1891?] WCPM 

Enclosing first issue of the Lasso [an alternative literary paper at the university]. Has marked her own articles with asterisks.   Willa Cather   [Stout #6]


To Mariel Gere,  n.d. [Nov. 1891?] note imitating a centered formal invitation, transcription by Bernice Slote ; UNL 

Please come to an informal supper at the rooms of William Cather, Jr., on November 26, 1891.   [Stout #8]


To Louise Pound[May?] 1892, poem in Cather's hand ; Duke 

[Titled "After-Glow." Six quatrains describing an intensely emotional experience in a theater setting. Accompanying letter referred to in #0013 is not in the file.]   [Stout #9]


To Louise Pound,  n.d. [June 15, 1892, according to note signed by Olivia Pound] from LincolnDuke 

Is writing after midnight, having left her for the last time before summer vacation. Felt overcome by the sight of Louise in her new dress. After much thought, chose the Rubáiyát [of Omar Khayyám, in popular translation by Edward FitzGerald] as a going-away gift. Reason she was not very sociable was prospect of parting. Wanted to make the traditional gesture of goodbye but feared Louise might be revolted. Not fair that friendships between women are regarded as not natural. Letter may be even more foolish than one left unsent in March.    William   [Stout #10]


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 Louise PoundJune 29, 1893 from Red Cloud, Nebr.Duke 

Has been feeling depressed. Has written a story about a tippling prima donna. Doubts Louise read letter sent with poem [see #0009] carefully, if at all. As to Louise's question about the word "bassoon," got it out of Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Poems of Passion. The school year was a trial. Interesting times around Red Cloud recently, with murders and suicides. Has tried a translation of "Wallenstein" [as follows; from Friedrich Schiller]. Glad Mariel and sisters are coming to visit, to cheer her up. Still disappointed Louise didn't come and will put off the Gere sisters if she might. Has been writing papers on Shakespeare.  P.S.: Has received her note. If she does not come, things will be different next year. It has been too one-sided anyway. Please come and show forgiveness or else it is goodbye.  Willa Cather   [Stout #13]


To Mariel, Ned [Ellen], and Frances GereJune 30, 1893 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Please come visit July 10 and see the harvest. Won't talk about Louise all the time. Can promise her [Cather's] brothers will be fun and there will be whipped cream with dessert. Is totally in charge at father's office. Is reading Caesar with Roscoe and will include the two younger girls in her lessons if they want.    William   [Stout #14]


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