A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

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To Will Owen JonesMay 7, 1903 from 1180 Murray Hill PittsburghUVa 

Thanks for launching her with S. S. McClure. Had a telegram from him and has been to New York to see him. Feeling elated, as if her life is now more valuable than before. McClure to run her stories in the magazine, then publish as a book. Will place for her any he does not use. At the McClure house met wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, who had read the stories. Greatly appreciates his help. Other plans afoot. P.S.: Doesn't seem to be able to reach Sarah Harris.  Willa S. Cather   [Stout #84]


To Dorothy Canfield,  n.d. [c. May 15–20, 1903] UVt 

As a result of Dorothy's having written to her [Cather's] mother, has had the first letter from her that she could bear to read in two years. They may yet make peace. Isabelle and Edith away on a fishing trip to West Virginia. Sarah Harris has written denouncing the "animalism" of April Twilights—must be crazy. Is tired from parties and work. Is Mrs. Canfield painting? Has she read "The Better Sort" [volume of short stories by Henry James, pub. 1903]? Very complex and obscure.    Willie   [Stout #85]


To Dr. James Hulme CanfieldMay 21, 1903 from PittsburghUVt 

Appreciates his bringing her book to people's attention. Enjoyed visiting with Mrs. Canfield and Dorothy in New York.   Willa S. Cather   [Stout #86]


To Viola Roseboro'June 14,[1903], from 1180 Murray Hill, PittsburghHarvard 

Typed note by Witter Bynner indicates that Roseboro' gave him the letters. Yes, certainly knows A Shropshire Lad. Don't her own poems show it? Traced Housman in Shropshire, where he seems unknown. Visited him in a boardinghouse in a dreary London suburb. He looked gaunt, seemed bitter, but is the only English poet now active whose work will endure. Though an instructor in Latin, he writes strictly from the level of a country boy.   Willa S. Cather   [Stout #88]


To Viola Roseboro'n.d., from 1180 Murray Hill Avenue, Pittsburgh incomplete; bears a headnote by Witter BynnerHarvard 

Hard to believe he [ Housman ] refused the money. What nobility! Still remembers, from when she paid that call along with two American friends, the holes in his shoes and in the carpet, couch with broken springs, his uneasiness. Manner stern and patrician. They all cried on the way back.   [Stout #89]


To Dorothy CanfieldJuly 13, 1903 from Cheyenne, Wyo.UVt 

She and Douglass have been enjoying their visit, but can feel the difference the years make. Has been made head of the English department at Allegheny High School at $1400 a year. Had to take a competitive exam. Hasn't been to Red Cloud yet.   Willie   [Stout #90]


To Dorothy CanfieldNov. 6, 1903 from PittsburghUVt 

Why didn't she tell her Dr. Canfield was in town? Has been shut in with a cold. Enjoys teaching but would prefer lower-class students who were used to working. When will Dorothy's children's story be published? Is her brother's new baby a boy or a girl? Edith [Isabelle's sister] is having coming-out parties.    Willie   [Stout #91]


To Dorothy Canfield,  Friday [Nov. 27, 1903] UVt 

Still sorry not to have seen her father. Has seen Minnie Maddern Fiske in Hedda Gabler [ Ibsen ], with Isabelle. Has been to many concerts. Can't be up past ten on a school night or won't be any good in the classroom. Many parties for Edith [McClung]. Has written about 40,000 words of a new manuscript; not ready to talk about it yet. Had a happy Thanksgiving dinner last night; Judge McClung away.    Willie   [Stout #92]


To Dorothy Canfield,  Thursday [ [Feb. 1904?] ] UVt 

Is something wrong? Is she ill? Isabelle had diphtheria while in Boston in January and is still weak. Please write. Hopes to have a finished manuscript to ask her to read soon.    Willie   [Stout #93]


To Dorothy Canfield,  n.d. [Mar. 1904] UVt 

Sorry they have had a misunderstanding. Sorry to be so often cross and ungracious; behaved badly two years ago in Europe. Felt inferior, not understanding French. Teaching wears on her disposition. Has not written a line of poetry in months. Others say she has become unfeeling. Has been to a doctor to see if there is a physical cause. Is paying now for not tearing away from happiness in Pittsburgh four years ago. Appreciates comments on "A Wagner Matinee" [Everybody's Magazine, Feb. 1904]. Spirits low; escapes by working. Please wait until these low spirits are gone before eloping with a tenor, if that's what she wants! Sorry to have written such a self-revealing letter all about feelings, but is trying to be honest. P.S.: Can't talk about the McClung household, of course, but it is wearing, too.  Willie   [Stout #94]


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