The Columbian Hotel in this wonderful place is pink adobe, the owner a dark Mexicana. Enjoys taking horseback rides and stopping at people's houses. Sorry she didn't invite him another day and arrange for him to bring his friends, but reached the point where she had to leave. Hopes he will visit in the fall. Has taken Paul Reynolds as agent, and he has sold a story she would never have tried to place with a magazine. Willa Cather [Stout #361]
People she knows from Sweden and Norway have indicated possible interest there in translations of O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark. Could he take it up with publishers, perhaps enclosing a copy of Edward Garnett's article in last February's Atlantic? Is enclosing a list of the best people to write. He can get their attention by mentioning that reviewers have thought Thea Kronborg was modeled after Olive Fremstad. Please send three dozen copies of the advertising booklet for her to send to people who inquire. Finishing some short stories for Reynolds to place, but will start on the next book soon. Hopes he can come to New York to discuss the Scandinavian possibilities. Will have a phone in soon and send him the number. Might he be there next Thursday [Dec. 21] for dinner with the Hambourgs, S. S. McClure, and Harry Dwight? McClure will tell everyone about the war. Willa S. C. [Stout #375]
Enjoyed his letter and is glad he wrote. Interesting that his mother owns High Mowing. Wrote much of the later part of My Ántonia in a tent at the bottom of the hill between there and Stony Brook Farm, when Mrs. Robinson owned the property. Was staying at the Shattuck Inn and would go up the road and through the hedge to the tent. Would go back to the inn at midday through the woods, where there was an abundance of lady's-slipper and Hookers' orchid. [Varieties of both lady's-slipper and wild orchid are marked in Cather's personal copy of Mathews's Field Book of American Wild Flowers at the HRC.] Once saw a fox. Glad he loves both High Mowing and the book that was partly written there. Has not gone to the inn much since the woods were damaged by a hurricane. Willa Cather [Stout #1632]
Taking time out from responding to soldiers' letters to indulge in the pleasure of writing to her and Irene. My Ántonia is twenty-five years old now. It did not sell many copies at first but kept growing and steadily sells four to six thousand a year (though not this past year). Archbishop sells more, but its special appeal to Catholics inflates the market. Moviemakers keep wanting Ántonia, but won't sell it. Had to fight Alexander Woollcott when he wanted to put it into an anthology. Allowed the Readers' Union in England, which serves veterans of the First World War who missed out on higher education, to put out a paperback edition of 20,000 a few years ago, now out of print. Doesn't mean to brag, but feels proud and happy that people still care about the book. Hopes it is a satisfaction for her as well. Enclosing a letter from a Lt. Harrison Blaine that she would like to have back. Willie [Stout #1633]
Returned from Philadelphia today and began to read in his book [ Under the Bridge ]. It shows what an interesting and enjoyable life he has had, without being too familiar in tone. Appreciates what he says about her. Agrees with most of his comments about writers, but not about Sydnor Harrison, who always seemed like a shallow journalist to her. P.S.: Shouldn't spelling of scientist Zinsser be Zinsner? Willa Cather [Stout #1645]
[Also included: a calling card with "Miss Willa Sibert Cather/ Fridays/ Five Bank Street" printed on it, with a note in Cather's hand saying that she is welcoming visitors on Friday afternoons until May 1; a second calling card, with "Miss Willa Sibert Cather" printed on it and, in what appears to be Isabelle McClung Hambourg's hand, "Mr. Dwight—We shall be here by half past eight—Will you please wait for us —"]Thanks for dropping her name in the preface to his wonderful book [Stamboul Nights, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page & Company, 1916], which she just received from Pittsburgh. Knows three of the stories, and will know the others within a day (we write slowly but read quickly). Please come to visit some Friday. May and Marie Willard left recently. Perhaps Roselle, New Jersey, is too distant, but hopes he can make the journey some Friday. Willa Cather
It was very nice of him to wait until after he recovered from his surgery before telling her about it. Has recently lost a couple of friends. The Scottish doctor on Grand Manan—the twins will remember him well—died after only a few minutes of illness. He was an outstanding man. Learned shortly after returning to New York that John B. Nash, her lawyer for many years, had died. The will he drew up in February is in the vault of his firm Breed, Abbott and Morgan at 15 Broad Street. Don't forget this. Will miss him, as he was a warm friend and counsel. Why would somebody as slight and un-athletic as Roscoe have a tear? Perhaps he is too slim? Hopes a local anaesthetic was sufficient. Virginia's letter would have persuaded her what a joy Elizabeth's baby is, if any persuasion had been needed. Never heard Virginia go on so! Has investigated the gravestones for their parents. Likes the Harrison Granite Company and the Vermont Marble Company. Will send him more information and pictures of her preferences soon. Thanks for the photograph of himself, a good likeness. She, Edith, and Miss Bloom admired it. Feels moved that Meta considered the striped stockings so special! Enclosed is a photograph which accompanied Isabelle wherever she went for many years. It was among her things when she died in Sorrento, and her husband sent it along with about six hundred letters she had written Isabelle, as well as every little thing she ever published, even the dollar-a-column newspaper pieces. Please send the photo back. Too bad he wasn't in it instead of Ben Brown! W.