A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Mariel, Ellen, and Frances [Gere], Allie [Althea Roberts], and Maysie [Mary Ames]Jan. 2, 1896 from "Siberia" ; WCPM 

Enjoyed visiting Katharine and her brother, who is more charming than ever. Quoted Ella Wheeler Wilcox to each other. Attended New Year's dance with Douglass—a rustic event. Could Mariel retrieve her [Cather's] copy of Daudet's Sapho from Sarah Harris? Doesn't know when she will be back in Lincoln. Here in the country might as well be dead. Is indifferent to everything, even suicide.    Willa   [Stout #21]


To Will Owen Jones,  Tuesday [Sept. 7, 1897] from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Has just that day been hired by the Pittsburgh Leader at $75 a month. To report next week. Has been writing stories, but must take this opportunity. Socializes too much in Pittsburgh, but can't resist [Emma] Calvé and [Sarah] Bernhardt.   [Stout #42]


To Will Owen JonesMay 7, 1903 from 1180 Murray Hill PittsburghUVa 

Thanks for launching her with S. S. McClure. Had a telegram from him and has been to New York to see him. Feeling elated, as if her life is now more valuable than before. McClure to run her stories in the magazine, then publish as a book. Will place for her any he does not use. At the McClure house met wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, who had read the stories. Greatly appreciates his help. Other plans afoot. P.S.: Doesn't seem to be able to reach Sarah Harris.  Willa S. Cather   [Stout #84]


To Dorothy Canfield,  n.d. [c. May 15–20, 1903] UVt 

As a result of Dorothy's having written to her [Cather's] mother, has had the first letter from her that she could bear to read in two years. They may yet make peace. Isabelle and Edith away on a fishing trip to West Virginia. Sarah Harris has written denouncing the "animalism" of April Twilights—must be crazy. Is tired from parties and work. Is Mrs. Canfield painting? Has she read "The Better Sort" [volume of short stories by Henry James, pub. 1903]? Very complex and obscure.    Willie   [Stout #85]


To Annie Adams Fields,  Wednesday [early 1908?] , from The Parker House, BostonHuntington 

Looks forward to seeing her this afternoon. Sorry to have telephoned so persistently. Has long wanted to know her and Miss Jewett.    Willa Sibert Cather   [Stout #135]


To Annie Fields,  Wednesday night [April 1908?] Huntington 

Enjoyed seeing Mrs. Gardener's [Isabella Stewart Gardner?] house last week, with daffodils in bloom. Has returned library books and asked them to keep her card in case she comes back. Came to Boston in pursuit of Mrs. Eddy and likes the city better and better. In New York, feels under siege. Wishes Mr. McClure had come and introduced her last year, but is glad they finally met. Her friendship and Jewett's make the year's work worthwhile.   Willa Sibert Cather   [Stout #136]


To Sarah Orne JewettMay 10, 1908, from Ravello, ItalyHarvard 

What a beautiful place! Camellias and roses in bloom all around. Room overlooks the Gulf of Salerno, as blue as the water in a [Pierre] Puvis de Chavannes painting. Yesterday a festival celebrating the arrival of the skull of St. Andrew in Amalfi seven hundred years ago, but enjoyment interrupted by the arrival of some people she used to know in Nebraska. [Alice] Meynell's essays about Italy in the book Jewett gave her are very fine, especially the essay "The Lesson of Landscape," but A. E. Housman writes with equal truthfulness, and she includes a transcription of his "The Olive," a poem he gave her that she has never seen in print. The "White Heron" and the Dunnet ladies [references to copies of books by Jewett] are always with her.    Willa Cather   [Stout #138]


To Sarah Orne JewettOct. 24, [1908], from 82 Washington Place, New YorkHarvard 

Is pleased that she and Mrs. Fields liked the first part of Mrs. Ward's story; will send the outline of the rest. Mrs. Fields the only person left who evokes the dignity of the New England past. Has been enjoying Fields's poems. She and Edith Lewis liking their apartment. Get their own dinner three evenings a week and go to the Brevoort [Hotel] the other nights. Fears Jewett won't like her story in the December issue.   Willa   [Stout #140]


To Sarah Orne JewettDec. 19, [1908], from New York ; Harvard 

Has read her letter many times. These past few years has felt confused, tired, drained of energy by the job and has felt cut off from her self. Mr. McClure wants her to become another Ida Tarbell; he doesn't believe she will ever be much of a writer of fiction. Feels as much a beginner in her writing as she ever did, as if she hadn't learned at all. Doesn't even have the feeling of learning about other things, as when she was a teacher. Hectic pace is giving her a bad temperament. Glad to have her salary; needs to help out the family now and then; but could quit now and have enough in the bank to live on for three or four years. Has reread "Martha's Lady," such a beautiful story. Will hope to get up to Boston after Christmas.   Willa   [Stout #145]


To Annie Adams FieldsJune 27, 1909, from LondonHarvard 

Learned of their terrible loss [of Sarah Orne Jewett] yesterday. Cannot accept that Jewett is not still there. Knows how fearful Jewett had been of losing Fields; had loved her so dearly for so long. Sailing next week. Will let her know as soon as she lands in New York. Shares her grief.   Willa   [Stout #162]


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