A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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Results 11-14:

To Leonard Charles Van NoppenJanuary 5, 1899, from 341 Sheridan Ave, East End, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDrew U (Adams 141) 

He must be inundated with praise since the publication of his [translation of Joost van den Vondel's] Lucifer [New York, London: Continental Publishing Co., 1898]. Hopes he does not mind another. Has been following the positive reception with some surprise at the success, for it is rare that an old, non-English language text can inspire such enthusiasm. Liked the review in the Critic; it was as positive as Vance Thompson's but more focused and intelligent. Had hoped to review it herself and regrets being gone and missing the chance. Wants him to know of her honest approval of his work. And now, though still so young, he is going to talk at Columbia! Hopes his success has made him content. Though he used to doubt his abilities, she never did. With support of cousin Dr. James Howard Gore of Columbian University, Washington, D.C., is hoping to publish a book of essays on theater soon, and hopes he will look at it for her. Wishes him the best. P.S.: Is boarding with some young women from Pittsburgh he met at the Chicago World's Fair, the Miss Davises. Unusual to associate him with those uncomplicated girls. It is an association Balzac would have appreciated.  Willa Cather 

To Meta Schaper Cather,  Tuesday [Aug. 29? 1916] , on 5 Bank Street letterhead, but written from Red CloudUNL-Roscoe 

Elsie is leaving on Friday and is now packing, or trying to. Cather is relaxing on the upper porch and going through the newly-purchased "Rocky Mountain Flowers" book. Virginia has the remarkable ability to recognize familiar shapes and instantly identified flowers she knows from Lander. She can perceive forms so soundly that she sees, in an instant, the difference between snapdragons and peas. Challenged her to distinguish among the pine trees in the yard, and she did it quickly and confidently. Mary Virginia and Tom cannot manage nearly as well. When the others went to the Bladen Fair, she and Virginia shared tea in the upper porch, which they imagined was Wendy's tree house [from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan]. The summer days are devoted to the porch, where they each have a hammock. Wishes the twins were there. [Note in top margin:]In our botanical craze, we should call the baby Virginia occidentalis. Happy to receive the photographs of Margaret and Elizabeth.  Willa. 

To Roscoe Cather May 2, [1931], on letterhead of the Las Encinas Sanitarium, Pasadena, CAUNL-Roscoe 

When in Paris last summer, ordered a piece of luggage identical to Jan Hambourg's, but recently received a nice one from the Knopfs', and since the Paris bag, which is actually a man's bag, has never been used, wants to give it to him for his frequent traveling. Though it bears her initials, that can be altered. Apparently her initials are in demand these days: a monogrammed cigarette case of hers recently sold for $25 at a Catholic church fair. Funny how things change: her smoking used to be an embarrassment for the family! Hopes he saw her poem in the May Atlantic Monthly ["Poor Marty," Atlantic Monthly 147 (May 1931): 585-587]. People seem to think highly of it. Has been nauseated for a few days, but mother is well.   Willie. 

To Roscoe Cather [1931?] , with stamp of Whale Cove, Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada ; UNL-Roscoe 

She and the twins are cheated again! The success of a novel always seems to bring trouble. Has decided, after some problems, to change British publisher. Time spent worrying over the decision has exhausted her summer vacation, which the twins were meant to occupy. Please pass along her extreme disappointment. This is only a delay: a summer together on Grand Manan will come. The advance sale [of Shadows on the Rock] is large: 55,000, not including the Book-of-the-Month club, which, by the way, brings her almost no income. It doesn't seem fair, but the club is said to provide excellent advertising. Didn't want to allow their edition, but Knopf really wanted to. One can't defy one's publisher constantly, as he will get bored if he can't try new things.   W. 

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