A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To E. H. AndersonNov. 24, 1922NYPL 

Hurrying to leave for Nebraska but will answer briefly. Georgine Milmine, now Mrs. Benjamin Wells, of Aubrey, N.Y., gathered material on Mrs. Eddy. McClure bought the material, subsequently lost (along with a first edition of Science and Health) when the magazine was sold. Milmine couldn't do the writing, and after sampling short segments of it done by several other people he chose her [Cather]. This was shortly after she came to New York. Carefully checked the material and believes it is all accurate except the first chapter, written by Burton Hendrick, now with Doubleday. His resentment at being removed from the project may be part of the reason Doubleday does not bring it back into print. Please keep confidential.   Willa Cather   [Stout #649]

To Ferris GreensletApr. 15, [1924]Harvard 

Between a friend's illness and Josephine's, is driven to distraction, but has started the introduction and will send it to Miss Jewett to see if she accepts. Burton Rascoe caused a lot of mischief. Wants to place "The Queen's Twin" between "A Dunnet Shepherdess" and "William's Wedding." Enclosing a list of stories for second volume.  List: (1) "A White Heron" (2) "The Flight of Betsey Lane" (3) "The Dunham Ladies" (4) "Going to Shrewsbury" (5) "The Only Rose" (6) "Miss Tempy's Watchers" (7) "Martha's Lady" (8) "The Guests of Mrs. Timms" (9) "The Town Poor" (10) "The Hiltons' Holiday" (or "Decoration Day"?) (11) "Aunt Cynthia Dallet"  Willa Cather   [Stout #729]

To Burton J. Hendrick [National Institute of Arts and Letters]Nov. 21, 1929AAAL 

Is pleased to learn she has been elected to the Institute. Letter was slow reaching her because of incorrect address; also, has been in Canada. Is mostly in California, due to mother's illness. Very pleased to accept membership. Will hope to see him again soon.   Willa Cather   [Stout #990]

To Elsie Cather [September 1922] UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Claude [One of Ours] seems to have caused a commotion. People are reading the novel incorrectly as a position statement as if in a debate. Friends including Mencken and Fanny Butcher do not like it. They expected another My Antonia. Can't be expected to do the same things again and again, but hates to lose friends. They claim the book lacks the deep human touch of the earlier books and think she tried to write a spectacular war novel. Many like the book a lot, but they are not the people she hoped to satisfy. In life and in art there are always tradeoffs. Has lost friends but advanced technically as a writer. Please read enclosed reviews to Dr. Tyndale, even though his mind is feeble with age and drugs. If she reads them aloud, he'll understand a little, and he deserves whatever pleasures he can get. She herself is the only thing in his life that has succeeded. Confidentially: Knopf has sold 15,000 copies with 18,000 in reserve—a gamble that will pinch him if there are no re-orders. He invested heavily in the book but says if he goes under on it so be it. Gets thirty-seven cents herself for each copy sold. Sinclair [Lewis] review in tonight's New York Evening Post calls it a failure and asks why a woman should write about war. Why indeed? But the topic chose her, she had to do it. Skip the Lewis review with Dr. Tyndale, but do read Zoë's and both of Burton Rascoe's. Will send Heywood Broun's review later. Is in bed and not feeling very literary. Just returned yesterday, hasn't even unpacked. Has seen only Knopf, but has received a lot of correspondence offering both congratulations and condolences!   Willie 

To Charles F. Cather,  Monday [December 17, 1906] , on McClure's letterhead ; UNL-Rosowski Cather 

Received a reassuring letter about him from Elsie, and hopes she writes every day. Is very anxious and working hard on the Christian Science project [The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science, first published in McClure's magazine in 1907]. Too many hands have been on it and the materials are out of order, but McClure has assigned the capable Burton J. Hendrick as her assistant to help with interviews and correspondence. The Christian Scientists are systematically trying to disrupt the project, and whatever is published is sure to meet with strong criticism. It's a tense situation, but is managing fine. Hopes he will have operation in Chicago, and perhaps she can accompany him when she returns east after coming to Red Cloud. Thinking of him often.   Willie