Skip to main content

#1471: Willa Cather to Head of the English Department, Mt. St. Mary's College, February 7, 1940

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
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Sir:

I hope you will pardon me for addressing you without knowing your name, but I feel sure that you could handle this rather blustering boy better than I. I am sorry that he had the annoyance of writing a thesis on false information, but many other students have been mislead by Mr. Loggins5' book6 and have made the same mistake. Mr. Loggins' publisher is at present preparing erratum slips to be sent out to schools and public libraries whothat have purchased Mr. Loggins' book, with a request that the librarians insert these slips opposite page 215 in "I Hear America".

John Walsh7, a student, seems to find it incredible that one should admire and reverence the Roman Church as a great organization and a great spiritual power (certainly the greatest spiritual power this world has ever known), and yet this person should not be, herself, a Catholic. The answer is very simple. I am an Episcopalian because my mother8 and father9 were, and that Church is home to me.

Mr. Loggins might have avoided making an absolutely false statement by writing a short note either to my publisher3 or to me. Some of the boys and girls write me and insist that this statement has the "authority of Columbia University behind it". Young people do not understand that a man may teach in a university without being a scholar. Certainly, the first characteristic of the scholar is to reject floating current opinion and get the facts from an absolutely reliable source.

Perhaps I should not trespass upon your time to this extent, but I would be grateful if you told Jack that he cannot always believe what he ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ readsfinds in print, and that I cannot prevent people from writing books about me, or from making false statements such as there are in Revneé Rapin10's book11 — I never met Mr. Rapin, and refused to answer a long questionnaire which he once sent me.

Very sincerely yours, Willa Cather
From Willa Cather c/o Alfred Knopf3 501 Madison Avenue New York, N.Y.2 To theHead of the English Department, Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmitsburg4, Maryland.