A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Irene Miner WeiszJan. 24, [1923], from New YorkNewberry 

Enclosing ridiculous letter from Hettie Skeen, trying to fake literary awareness. Is almost well from her cold. Will dine at the Knopfs' on Monday with Myra Hess, pianist. "Claude" still selling well. New edition of April Twilights beautifully and expensively done.   Willie   [Stout #668]

To Virginia CatherJuly 11, [1922], from 5 Bank Street, New YorkUNL-Rosowski Cather 

Isn't mother excited to be mentioned in what friends say is the finest American novel? [One of Ours is dedicated "For my mother Virginia Cather."] Feels like Mary Virginia who says she's beginning to believe her hair is pretty since everybody tells her so. Wasn't Hetty Skeen's pompous letter funny? Sorry to keep her beaded purse, but had it fixed up and now it is practical as well as beautiful. Is traveling to the Bread Loaf Inn in Vermont tomorrow for a few weeks. Has no regrets about delaying surgery until the fall even though it was originally planned for July 5. Won't be coming to Nebraska until she feels better, though a group in Omaha wants her to speak October 10 and is willing to pay $300. Ought to write to father and to Elsie about quilt.   Willie 

To Mary Virginia CatherSeptember 6, [1922]UNL-Southwick 

Is going back to New York on Monday the 11th unwillingly to sign five hundred first edition books [ One of Ours ] for Knopf. Has had a restful and productive time here [on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick]. Mother should decide if she should come to Red Cloud from mid-October to mid-November or if she should wait and come during parents' Golden Wedding anniversary in December. May have appendix out, but should be fine by October 15, so either time works. If mother requests December, then she must make sure father doesn't remark upon her old age [Cather's birthday is December 7; she'd have turned 49 in 1922]. Remind him of the Woodman's dinner when Judge Yeiser embarrassed "Miss P.D." by revealing her age. Is mother missing Elsie? Enclosed is a letter from Dorothy Canfield. PS: Loves the woolen scarf mother sent her and wears it often while looking at the sea from a cliff—is even wearing it now! [Pictures with scarf enclosed.]  Willie 

To Roscoe Cather, February 13, 1910 on McClure's Magazine letterhead ; UNL-Roscoe 

Has had a crazy winter too, but unlike Roscoe's it wasn't from weather. Has had to deal with all kinds of problems while Mr. McClure in Europe. Was ill with bronchitis in December, and Isabelle came to nurse her. Even then had to work on the magazine, for magazines, like sick infants, have to be constantly fed. Thankfully she had the Russian material and the Paoli article [Xavier, Paoli, "Recollections of the Shah of Persia," McClure's Magazine 24.5 (March 1910): 525-538] that she secured when in England. Is improved now, but still has to rest and consume milk like a child. Has had good success with the the magazine, however; profits up $60,000 from the previous year. Doesn't get any of that money herself, but does get praise. Do read the March issue, as she worked hard on it, and definitely read "A Joint in the Harness" ["Ole Luk-Oie" {pseudonym of Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton}, "A Joint in the Harness," McClure's Magazine 24.5 (March 1910): 547-557], which she got in England. Would appreciate his telling her what pieces he likes and doesn't like; it's helpful when people tell her their reactions forthrightly. Certainly doesn't like everything that gets published herself! Has written Mrs. Goudy and Mrs. Fulton. Thanks for the silk stockings at Christmas. Has he seen darling Mary Virginia since she started talking? Has received a letter from Aunt Franc; enjoyed visiting with her, Auntie, and Bess last summer. Loves that far-off, quiet country. If health permits, will go to England in May, and wishes Roscoe could go, too, as she longs for a good talk with him. Wishes she could come out to Lander, but job is very demanding—more so than running Sandy Point. What has become of Jim Yeiser, anyway? Can't get into one letter all the interesting things she'd like to tell him. Will shrug off the office and catch a train west one of these days.   Willie 

To Roscoe Cather [June 1929] , from a Santa Fe train ; UNL-Roscoe 

Is going East and will be at the Grosvenor Hotel, 35 Fifth Avenue, New York, for ten days. After that, is going to New Haven, Connecticut, the Hotel Taft, to get an honorary doctorate from Yale University on June 19, only the second one given to a female author. Edith Wharton received the first one, and she traveled from Paris to get it. Hopes he can visit their mother this summer. If so, he'd better not bring the family, as any group of people will inspire their mother to use up her energy orchestrating everyone. Left to go north when Will Auld came to visit. It would be better for Roscoe to see mother now, while her mind is sound, than to wait and come to her funeral. She has good days and bad days, but overall has declined; hopes she doesn't have to suffer a long time. Will Auld agreed with that. But for now she remains mother, and the trip wouldn't be too long for him. Would have gone through Rawlins, but already had a round-trip ticket. Mother's sanitarium is quiet and attractive. Though she may last for a time, she's bound to fail in mind and personality. It is a terrible thing to see, but he would not regret a visit. As to herself may never be able to feel gladness about things again, though maybe for youthful people and youthful art. Enjoyed seeing Jim Yeiser and Marguerite in San Francisco.   Willa.