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#0387: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, June 23 [1917]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Elsie1:

Even if I could have answered your letter within a decent time, I could not have given you the least help. Your own book3 is the only new one I have read with any pleasure. Most of the ones I’ve tried have been thick slices of commonness. The New Republic4 would point you to Mrs. Gerould5 would it not? Have you tried Mary Austin6's new novel “The Ford”7—unfortunate title for anyone but the Williamsons8!

I came west unexpectedly and unprepared because the faculty of the University of Nebraska wanted to give me an honorary degree—Doctor of Letters—on their semi-centennial commencement9. Edith Abbott10, Miss Addams11’ assistant was given the same degree. They were the first that honorary degrees that university has given to women. I was pleased because it came from that institution and this state12.

After Commencement came ten days of intensive visiting. Lord, how many people I saw, and at how many parties did I try try to be merry! I enjoyed the first few, but there is an innocent sameness about these festivities on green lawns with oldish girls in white dresses and stranded professors from “Maine13, N.H.14, Rhd. I.15, Vt16”.

Red Cloud is patriotic and bubbling hot—the amorous sinners of Dante17 were no more persistently scourg scourged by fire than are the corn-country dwellers in July and latter June. Corn-germination takes a terrific degree of heat, and we pant under a kind of magnificent fire all day, with the air full of sweet, hot smells.

I go to Wyoming18 soon. This address will reach me, however.

Yours W. S. C.