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#0400: Willa Cather to Roger L. Scaife, December 1 [1917]

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DEC 3 1917
My Dear Mr. Scaife1;

The series of pen-and-ink drawings I had in mind, and Mr. Benda's5 fitness to do them, was suggested by a similar set of pen drawings he made to illustrate Jacob Riis6' book, "The Old Town."7 I knew that Macmillans paid him nine hundred dollars for these drawings, which were not used in any periodical, but in the book only. I had planned to have only about a third as many pictures as were in the Riis book.

Mr. Benda telephoned me after your conversation with him. He was very polite and considerate, as he always is, but he said that Doubleday had paid him $150 and $200 for one or two wash drawings8 to illustrate novels, and that had he known how little he was to receive for these pen pictures he would not have felt that he could undertake them. He also said he could not do the drawings we had blocked out, as they would require a great deal of work and some of them would have to be done from models. On the other hand, he had already pent spent a good deal of time in studying the manuscript, collecting material, and making preliminary sketches, and he thought perhaps we might be able to substitute a set of drawings more conventional and less exacting.

These drawings, however, would have to be done at odd moments of his time, and he could not promise to deliver them before the first of March, as he could not afford to put more remunerative work aside for them. On this point he was very firm.

I am going out to his studio on Monday night, to see what we can do toward planning new compositions, and after that I can write you more fully.

I am cutting the story9 a good deal in revision, and I can now say positively that it will run very little, if at all, longer than "O Pioneers!"10 I hope you can use the same type as in that book, and give the sam text pages the same look. I have broken it up into chapters as much as I can, and liberal page-margins and spaces at chapter-ends will make the decorations look better. Would your foreman be willing to let the artist and me size the cuts and in decide on the reduction of the drawings, provided we do not ask for cuts more than a third of a page in size? If you could give me the exact size of the page and send me a sheet of the paper you will use, it would be hep helpful.

Benda asked me not to send away the three drawings I already have until we had come to some decision about those that were or were not to follow. I will send them to you as soon as I have his permission to do so. Meantime, please let me know whether I may size the cuts. before

Very sincerely yours Willa S. Cather