Is satisfied with arrangements for stay in Ann Arbor. Will attend luncheon, and will appreciate his providing her a cap and gown. Rather short gown, fairly large head size. Willa Cather [Stout #733]
Arriving in Ann Arbor via the "Wolverine" on Sunday morning, June 15. Hopes to be met at the station. Willa Cather [Stout #734]
Enjoyed Michigan after all. A dreadful place but interesting people. Enjoying nieces and nephews. Parents amazingly vigorous. Willa [Stout #737]
Out of many fan letters, it is easy to recognize one of substance. Yes, it is disadvantageous for a writer to be female. Suggests Virginia Woolf for an accurate statement. Often returns to early memories, because young children are virtually without sex. Interesting to hear which books he prefers, but believes A Lost Lady is better than either of the two he named. Willa Cather [Stout #1033]
Has been back in New York only a few days. Please either discontinue use of middle name or spell it right. Yes, most reviewers criticize her for not writing a typical historical novel with lots of action. No, is not Catholic but respects the Catholic Church as the religion most dear to humanity and for the longest time. Willa Cather [Stout #1079]
Appreciates wonderful, reassuring letter, which answered her questions about Dr. Creighton and Bess. Feels overwhelmed by good news of Bess. Will Elsie please take a good stock of food out there from Mrs. Burden's store so that Mrs. Kourtner can cook. Buy them new bedding or furniture if they need it. Is enclosing a check for forty dollars to assist with property taxes. Hopes Elsie will give Kitty work; will help her and Elsie both. Is as pleased as the Bishop that Elsie saved the trees at the church. Bishop is an impressive man. If West Virginia is to be at the University of Chicago, why doesn't Elsie go there for Christmas and enjoy some shows and music? She herself always stays at the La Salle hotel. Is amazed that though she is so busy Elsie had the house painted, but a good time to do it with labor and materials cheap. Nebraska climate always hard, but Michigan, Wisconsin, and even England are very hot and dry now. Grand Manan seems to be the only cool place left. Wishes she could bring Red Cloud in its entirety there for a week. Friend of J. M. Barrie wrote to ask that she inscribe a book to Barrie, since he often reads Death Comes for the Archbishop and My Antonia. Hard to know how to write such an inscription; he would not be pleased by anything reeking of flattery. Would rather write a book than this, but has to do it. Elsie should take it easy and rest after the heat of the summer. Willie
Virginia's graduation [from Smith College] went well. Did everything proper and had lunch with Virginia and her friend Miss Wilder and visited the Baldwin House. Stayed in the quiet Faculty House at Mount Holyoke. Virginia joined Cather and Lewis for dinner at the Whichers, who send greetings to Elsie. Virginia accompanied Cather and Lewis to Springfield and then went to Detroit. Like many her age, Virginia seems gloomy. Virginia brought Elsie's letter when she came over with Mary Lewis to Mount Holyoke to have dinner the day they arrived. W.
Was planning to leave for Red Cloud weeks ago when received an offer from University of Michigan to get an honorary doctorate on June 16. Knopf and other friends believe that it should not be passed up. Robert Frost thought declining would be offensive. Ann Arbor is, surprisingly, closer to New York than to Red Cloud. So has decided to come after receiving degree in Michigan and stay there until late July. Is intolerant of the heat, of course, so will leave for Grand Manan and be there in friends' cabin in August and September—yes, a strange plan for getting a few weeks of writing time. The degree is wrecking the summer. Doesn't understand why she can't refuse. Wishes people would be independent enough to ignore praise the way they do criticism and let nothing get in the way of living. Elsie, please write if parents are unwell; a sick parent would be an acceptable way to decline the degree. Can't bring herself to lie about it, though; would feel responsible if they actually got sick. [note in the margin of the second page, written by Mary Virginia Cather, reads, "Why do you not write home Write what you think best to Willa I am not so very well. But I can easily[?] wait[?]. perhaps it is best for her to come late after you get here Mother."] Willie