A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

19 letters found

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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]


To George SeibelMay 17, 1910, on McClure's letterhead ; WCPM 

Sorry she used such a foolish title. Hasn't seen Francis Hill lately. Will pay for however much ginger ale he can drink, though not a popular choice in New York.   Willa Sibert Cather   [Stout #177]


To Laura Hills,  May Day [1921] , from 38 St. Vincent Street, TorontoPM 

Enjoyed her letter; opened it when she and Isabelle were having tea and has tacked it up in her studio up under the eaves. Is working on a translation of Ántonia into French that will be published in La Nouvelle revue française. Feels proud of that. P.S.: Has met a woman from Boston whose cousin is married to Ms. Hills's cousin—a very nice person.  Willa S. C.   [Stout #543]


To Chilson LeonardMar. 19, 1936Phil-Ex 

Has no photographs of Nebraska in 1885 or 1895. Understands from Professor Pupin [?] of Columbia that it resembled the plains of Russia. Otto Fuchs not a representation of a specific person but a composite of many, as are most minor characters. Blind d'Arnault modeled on Blind Boone. Has also heard of a similar Blind Tom and Blind Noah. Actress Jim sees in Camille based on Clara Morris. Many relics such as the Spanish sword have been found in southwest Kansas. Good reading does not come from factual information, however, but from cultivated taste. Does not approve of required reading of contemporary writers in English courses, which should center on great English writers of the past and on Latin writers. Wishes his students were reading Kidnapped [ Stevenson ] or Vanity Fair [ Thackeray ] rather than My Ántonia.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1306]


To Laura HillsNov. 9, 1940PM 

Has to send a typed letter because right hand is unusable. Damaged it signing five hundred copies of a deluxe edition of Sapphira and the Slave Girl. Is sending her one of only two advance copies she has received so far. Book not officially out until December 7. Epilogue is absolutely true, a very vivid memory from childhood.   W. S. C.   [Stout #1503]


To Carrie Miner SherwoodJune 14, 1941WCPM 

Has read her letter several times. Is glad she and Mary will be together next winter. Will come to Red Cloud in the fall to see them, but wants to keep it a secret from anyone else. Need time together to forget destruction the world is undergoing. Is leaving for California in a few days, Edith going along since she still can't fasten her own corsets etc. Will use this for their summer vacation instead of going to Grand Manan. Doesn't feel up to going to southern California to see brothers Jim and Jack and families. P.S.: Please tell Mrs. Stockman, appreciated her letter.  Willie   [Stout #1545]


To Laura HillsDec. 29, [1942]PM 

Very happy to receive her letter. Dr. Ober's brace cured the damaged tendon in her right thumb, after ten months of having no use of it. Even slept in the brace. Likes her "Hurricane" picture a great deal. Misses niece Mary Virginia, with her husband at an Army camp in Colorado, but enjoys her nice letters. She and Edith Lewis have no maid at present, so she spends most of her working time in the kitchen.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1607]


To Laura HillsSept. 23, 1943PM 

Sorry to have to send her a typed letter. Had a wet summer in Maine. Left the New York heat in June for Portland, which she remembered as being very pleasant, but with all the shipbuilding going on it is miserable. So they went to the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor, which was cool but rainy. Bar Harbor is practically deserted. Hitler has ruined the New World as well as Europe. Is looking forward to a visit from her niece in October and Yehudi and Nola Menuhin with their two children after that. Will share a letter from them about their recent tour of South America. Yehudi has been to England to entertain soldiers, went over on bomber.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1639]


To E. K. BrownOct. 7, 1946Beinecke 

Reply has been delayed by repairs of apartment. Greatly appreciates his insightful reading of her work and generally agrees with his judgments. Is not writing much nowadays because low in spirits since the deaths of her brothers Douglass and Roscoe. Yes, Death Comes for the Archbishop is her best. It was hard to find a structure to pull together so many disparate elements in the Southwest. It simply came to her one day when watching the sunset color the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that the essence of the early Southwest was the story of the missionaries from France. Devoted herself to research on it from that day. Mary Austin claimed the book was written in her house, and now a woman named Wheelwright claiming it was written in hers. Actually, mostly written in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Has always felt disappointed with O Pioneers!. Tried to put together the Norwegian and the French settlers, and they never mixed. Once, not long after it was published, met Louis Brandeis on the street and he told her that what he most liked about the novel was its sincerity of feeling for the place and people. Said that one of the writers in whom he did not find that sincerity was Edith Wharton. Never saw him again. Probably he didn't find her own next two books sincere either. Kept working and trying to learn. Believes Brown underestimates the early railroad builders; Jim Hill, for example, a person of great imagination and personal quality. Never gave great care to language per se in her books, but tried to let the language come to her that would express feeling for the subject. Is pleased by his praise of My Mortal Enemy. Agrees that Lucy Gayheart isn't very good, except in the last part, after the Gayhearts themselves are dead and the book centers on the effect they have in the businessman's memory. Wishes she'd had a better sense of form earlier in her career.   Willa Cather   [Stout #1741]


To Elsie CatherAugust 30, [1933], from Grand MananUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Thinks Elsie has gotten a lot done this summer. Appreciates her asking about the small house, but will be visiting not working when in Red Cloud.  Sorry Elsie had to deal with the Auld problems.  They made their own mess, and they will have to deal with it themselves.  Jess should have saved the money she got from Bess, and she needs to learn that people must earn their money by working.  Tom, Charles, and Virginia should support Jessica, not her siblings.  Urges Elsie to consult Howard Foe about the note given to Bess.  If Tom is that kind of person, it's best that they're aware of it.  Jim [James Cather, brother?] would not have done that.  All this has kept her awake—as it did Elsie; dishonor like this shows how important honor is.  Please buy Bess a new coat and send the bill, and write if she needs expense money for house maintenance.  August 30 is anniversary of their mother's death.  Thinks she is beginning to understand mother, and thinks shortly before her stroke mother began to understand herself.  Mother gave her some old pictures to keep, but the "sweet sixteen" photograph Elsie wanted not among them.  Thinks Jessie probably took it.  Attempting to stay focused on work and resist interruptions.   Willie 


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