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#0636: Willa Cather to Edward C. Abbott, October 25 [1922]

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NUMBER FIVE BANK STREET3 Dear Ned Abbott1;

I perfectly hate biography--- particularly my own, and if you weren’t an old school friend, I’d turn you down cold, as I do the young reporters. No boiiographical scetch is thought interesting unless it exaggerates the subject on one side and makes him a freak; it’s only as a freak that he is interesting! The external “queernesses” of an individual are so seldom his or her reality; often they are utterly uncharacteristic of the person, a mask to hide the reality. If you will go to see Mrs. Alice E. D. Goudy4, daughter of William Dailey5, of Auburn, Nebraska6, and show her this letter by way of introduction, she can tell you a great deal more about me than I can tell you about myself. She was my High School teacher before I went to the University, and knew me intimately all through my University life,- knew the real me, under the various poses which I, like most people in college, assumed for one reason or another. There are just a few rare, charming young people who are simple and natural in college, undistorted by any affectations,- I wasn’t one of them.! But I think Mrs. Goudy could tell you what sort of person I really was.

With my heartiest best wishes to you and yours Willa Cather

I don’t know when I’ve been so proud of anything as of Newbranch7’s editorial8.

Why say anything about the McClure9 Autobiography10? I had rather you didn’t. If I had wanted my name there I’d have put it there,- and so would he. The important thing is that it got him on paper in character, as he is. He can write well enough on other subjects, but he would have been so bored with writing his own story that he would have been stiff and unnatural. This is for your information; it has no place in a lecture, surely. I find and enclose an interview11 given May, 1921, fairly accurate.