#0104: Transcript of letter from Willa Cather to Kate McPhelim Cleary, February 13 [1905]

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Letter from Willa Sibert Cather
to Kate McPhelim Cleary of Hubbell, Nebraska
My Dear Mrs. Cleary1:

I write to thank you most sincerely for a letter you wrote to Mr. McClure4 regarding a story5 of mine published in the January number of McClure’s Magazine6.

Your corroboration is especially grateful to me since, when I was last in New York7, I heard the story severely taken to task on the score of willful exaggeration. The people who found the thing distorted had had very little experience of life on the other side of the Missouri8, but they insisted that life was everywhere the same. I think that some of us know that, in certain respects, it is not.

It gives me a very genuine pleasure to know that the story has rung true to someone besides myself, that the treatment does not seem to you exaggerated, and that it recalls that country to you. Anyone who has lived in one of those little Western towns must, I think, have a very keen and definite feeling about it, but it is almost hopeless to try to communicate it to anyone who has not had that experience.

May I hope for your continued interest in the collection of stories9 which Mr. McClure is shortly to publish?

Please accept my warmest thanks for your strong word of encouragement and your testimony as to the fairness of my point of view. Only one like yourself, who has known the conditions and not been absorbed by them, can, I feel, really judge of a story which treats of such a discouraging and inherently unattractive situation.

Very Cordially, Willa Sibert Cather