A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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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 Gere,  Friday [July 1896] from PittsburghWCPM 

Has been in this grimy city only a few hours. Began feeling happier when she got east of Chicago and started seeing hills and clear streams and trees. Conductor asked if she was going home. Was met by Mr. Axtell. For now, is staying at the Axtells' gloomy house, where the only ornament is a drawing of someone's grandfather. At least their library has some novels (tame ones), and Mrs. Axtell has Harper's magazine. Using daughter's room while she is away; room has three Bibles and an E. P. Roe novel.   Willa   [Stout #25]


To Ned [Ellen] GereMonday [c. July 27, 1896] from PittsburghWCPM 

Presbyterian Axtells not so stern as first thought, but not much fun. Their social life limited to fellow church members! Summoned the Baptist minister from next door as soon as they learned the Cathers were Baptists. Has been to an organ recital at Carnegie music hall, which shares a building with library and art museum; theater next door. Between going to church and pretending to know Wild West stories, is losing all standards of truth. Magazine is dull stuff, but is practically the managing editor, with her own desk.    Willa   [Stout #27]


To Mariel GereAug. 10, 1896 on Home Monthly letterhead ; WCPM 

Sorry for previous letter. Ironic to be called bohemian, considering present hardworking life. Has been on a picnic to Erie and an excursion on the river; returning by moonlight, admired the glow of the steel furnaces and was serenaded by a Princeton boy. Recited college composition on Carlyle at an afternoon tea and was at once welcomed into the social set. Axtells are kind but not warm; resemble the Pounds.    Willa   [Stout #29]


To Mariel GereJune 21, 1897 from PittsburghWCPM 

Would like to stop off in Lincoln before going on home. So much to tell!  P.S.: Will be at the Canfields' in Columbus on the way.  Willa   [Stout #39]


To Mr. George Seibel and Mrs. Helen SeibelAug. 9, 1897 from Red Cloud, Nebr.WCPM 

Has received Erna's picture. Is impressed that Mr. Seibel has acquired a complete set of Hugo, but they will envy her "Thistle" Stevenson. Has not yet retrieved manuscripts from Axtell and Orr. Beware of Christians! But is attending church with her family. Leaving on hunting trip today. Has a cold.    Willa Cather   [Stout #41]


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 Mariel Gere [Oct. 17, 1898] , from Columbus, Ohio joint letter with Dorothy CanfieldWCPM 

Canfield: Willa has been ill with grippe but is better, her cough not so deep. Has also been sick herself. Expects to graduate in June. Cather: Took refuge with the Canfields because of prolonged grippe and overwork. Leaving tomorrow for Pittsburgh. Canfield: Family sends regards. Mrs. Flavia Canfield: Seconds Dorothy's invitation for Mariel to join them in Europe next year. Cather: Dorothy's brother has just left to take his fiancée home. Will write again from Pittsburgh.   [Stout #53]


To [?] ,  n.d. [prob. 1897 or 1898] excerpt transcribed by Bernice Slote ; UNL 

Enjoyed Thanksgiving visit to Columbus. Canfields away, leaving house to Dorothy, Jim and fiancée, and herself. Many parties. Is spending much of her leisure time with Ethelbert Nevin, a lovable man. Has been reading Kipling's poetry, as she used to at the university.   [Stout #55]


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