A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Ferris GreensletNov. 3, [1924], from New YorkHarvard 

Has received royalty check. Please send one copy each of The Song of the Lark and My Ántonia to Dr. Frederic Sweeney at Jaffrey.   Willa Cather   [Stout #439]

To Dorothy Canfield Fisher,  n.d. [March 1922?] , apparently a fragment ; UVt 

Proofs have arrived, and Dorothy's questions will help her make improvements. Is certain, though, about the independent or traveling guns of the British. Incident of the killing of the German with the locket was from something a young officer told her; she used it because he didn't seem to understand and she liked that. The little girl and the terrible baby also from something told her by a soldier. Used the diary of a physician [Dr. Frederic Sweeney, Jaffrey, N.H.] for the flu epidemic on the transport ship. Is sure of the date U.S. troops went into battle at Chateau Thierry. Claude's feeling about David's violin was from her own feeling of inferiority when they were in France in 1902. Knows readers won't give the book a chance because it is a war novel.   [Stout #588]

To Louise Imogen GuineyAugust 17, 1912, from 1180 Murray Hill Avenue, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaHoly Cross 

Must refer to her as Miss Guiney due to long history of admiration, though such a habit does not mean she feels distant. Returned from travels in the West recently, and is glad to be back. Typically is longing for it, but got her fill during the recent trip. The people seem so fat and overconfident, as if they are trying to meet the expectations of Owen Wister and Remington. The land in Arizona and New Mexico is amazing, though. As Balzac commented, the desert has both all and nothing, God without humankind. That line has to be lived awhile before its profundity sinks in. The spirit gets lonesome in a place where the only history is geologic. Glad she liked "Alexander," but thinks "The Bohemian Girl" is even better. Mrs. Fields did not like it, however, but she just could not get past the crudeness of the characters' behavior. Will Guiney let her and her sister rent the cottage? Did she know Andrew Lang or the unfortunate Mr. Stead [possibly William Thomas Stead, British writer who died when the Titanic sunk in April 1912]? Mrs. Vermocken writes that she loves Guiney's house, and hopes she can see it (and Guiney) soon. Was planning to stay with Mrs. Fields in October, but work is keeping her in the city.   Willa 

To Frederic Gershom Melcher,  Friday, [November 24, 1922] , from Number Five Bank Street, New YorkUVa 

Pleased he likes the book [One of Ours]. Readers either love it or loathe it. Is about to go west to see her parents, and hopes to see him when she returns. Leaves for a year abroad in April.   Willa Cather 

To Frederic Gershom MelcherJanuary 8, 1926UVa 

Though would like to accept his invitation to speak, cannot. Doesn't want to be thought hermetic, but is not in New York that often, so when she is she must be pretty choosy. Liked the Christmas card from his family—did not even realize he had a family!   Willa Cather 

To Frederic Gershom Melcher,  Monday, [about 1919?] , from Number Five Bank Street, New YorkUVa 

Has enjoyed Jurgen very much [probably Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice by James Branch Cabell, New York: McBride, 1919]. If the improper parts were excised, there would be little of interest left, which is to the book's credit. Most American improprieties are extraneous. Thanks to a card sent with the package from Macy's, knows he felt bighearted upon leaving Bank Street. Hopes he comes again soon, as he is the only bookseller that doesn't depress her. On his suggestion is now reading Reynard the Fox [probably Reynard the Fox; Or, The Ghost Heath Run by John Masefield, New York: Macmillan, 1919].   Willa Cather 

To Frederic Gershom Melcher, undated [1922?] , on a calling card reading "Miss Willa Sibert Cather, Fridays, Five Bank Street"; UVa 

Has returned from the west and is receiving on Friday afternoons January 6 to March.  

To Frederic Gershom Melcher, undated [1921?] , on a calling card reading "Miss Willa Sibert Cather, Fridays, Five Bank Street"; UVa 

Receiving Fridays January 14 until March 26. 

To Roscoe CatherMarch 2, [1908] on McClure's Magazine letterhead, from BostonUNL-Roscoe 

Has been in Boston since January and is now, after a couple of weeks with Mrs. Deland, back in the comfortable, old-fashioned Parker House. Has been seeing many remarkable people, including Winthrop Ames, an arts patron interested in Ibsen who has an air of ennui and the grandson of Otis [actually, Oliver] Ames. Listening to him talk, one thinks of that rocky monument to the Ames brothers on the mountain [near Laramie, Wyoming], and knows that they were not bothered with ennui. Oh, well, it is difficult being one of the first generation of sophisticates—think of the talk they heard about the Troll Garden. Is sailing for Naples with Isabelle on either April 8 on the Carpathia or on April 11 on the Freiderich der Grosse. Itinerary includes Naples, Capri, and Pompeii, Rome, a 300-mile walk along the Mediterranean from Monte Carlo to Marseilles, Arles, Avignon, and finally Paris. Seems odd to go to Rome after its long life in her imagination and education. One could say that Rome, London, and Paris were the three main cities in Nebraska. May or may not stop at London; has letters of introduction to Kipling, Maurice Hewlett, Barrie, and Conan Doyle, among others, but is more interested in places and ancient ruins than people right now. By comparison with Roman civilization, our own looks pretty shabby. The Roman civilization is still preserved in southern France, where people still live as in Virgil's Georgics. Has bought Roscoe several excellent pictures in Boston: Van Dyck's self-portrait, The Windmill (old Dutch), The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton, Wyeth's Calling the Moose and Indian Hunter, "The Dinkey Bird is Singing in the Amfalulu Tree" by Maxfield Parrish, and Remington's Caught in the Circle, all for $16.23, which Roscoe now owes her. Hopes he and Meta like them. If he doesn't appreciate the Van Dyck, she will be angry, as she has one and loves it. It was Jessie who thought he would like The Song of the Lark. Would have preferred to send older French and Dutch images herself, but thought he might prefer these moderns. Does he like The Queen's Quaire?   Willie