Skip to main content

#0311: Willa Cather to Ferris Greenslet, June 30 [1915]

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
R. L. S.
Dear Mr. Greenslet1;

I think4 the jacket5 a delight to the eye6, and I think the description7 pasted inside the cover exceedingly good. Better say the heroine8 grew up in Moonstone, Colorado9, however, not Arizona10. Colorado has a considerable reading public, interested in local color, and Arizona has not. Also, Thea and Fred11 run away to Old Mexico12, not New Mexico13, which would not be much of a run, from Arizona. I wish, perhaps, that a word more could be said about her struggles in Chicago14, and a word to the effect that it was the Cliff Dweller ruins15 that first aowwoke her historic imagination—so necessary to a great Wagnerian16 singer—and that there, away from drudgery for the first time in her life, she really grew, all at once, into a powerful and wilful young creature, got her courage, began to find herself.

I am not wholly happy about the cover, but I shan't be stubborn about it. You've never given me a cover I've liked. I've only borne them patiently. Have you a copy of the English edition of "Pioneers"17? I think that a de–lightful cover18, both as to color and composition. Couldn't you copy that cover19 for this book? If you have no copy of it, I'll send you mine. I'm afraid this cover will pain me as long as the book exists. I most heartily dislike it!

On the chance that haven't one of the Heinemann books20 at hand, I am sending you one, along with the dummy21. Please send it back to me.

I think Mr. James22 entirely too patronizing in his paper23 on the Fieldses. Mr. Fields24 was the collector, anyhow. The habit of gathering eagle feathers was superimposed upon Mrs. Fields25. She would never have begun it odf her own volition, or gone farther than keeping by her charming things that reminded her of charming people. The place was a reliquary, not a museum26, [illegible], and the relics were attuned to each other and ladhad been lived with so uncerimoniously and intimately that they had lost their unique quality; they had become, and were, simply Mrs. Fieldses things, and one never felt they were there to be looked at or referred to. I always thought that Jamie, himself27, probably made his treasures stand out from the walls a little more, during his lifetime. But Mrs Fields enjoyed their companionship and associations, not their uniqueness. I think H. J. owes 148 Charles street28 a "solatium29"!

Yours Willa Cather

Please tell Mr. Scaife30 I will send him the screed31 he wants for the Boston Herald32.