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 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 GereJune 16, 1894 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Children were all dressed up for her homecoming. Is reading Virgil and botanizing. Mr. Wiener now boarding at Mrs. Garber's. Thanks for being mainstay during past winter and spring, when she [Cather] was despairing over the loss of what she had lived for. Appreciates her patience these past years while she raved over a certain girl's beauty, charm, and talent; rhapsodized over merely touching that person's hand; and suffered through the loss of love. Loving too much is a mistake. Hopes they can meet in Crete [Nebr.] Douglass may come, too.   Willa   [Stout #17]


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 Fred [Winifred Richardson, later Garber]Aug. 15, 1898, from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

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]


To Fred [Winifred Garber?],  n.d. Sept. 1898?WCPM 

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]


To Mrs. Charles Gere,  Sunday [July 14, 1901?] , from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Children not so changed as she expected; mother better than reports had indicated. Very hot; doubts she can work. Mrs. Garber doesn't go out any more. Hopes Mariel is better.   Willa   [Stout #69]


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