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#2226: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, February 8, 1945

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Brother1:

I have wanted to write this letter to you for five years, and I have simply never had the time to write or dictate anything that semed so little important. I am always away behind in answering my mail. The subject matter of this letter really isn't important in itself, but it is important to me that you should know these facts which have pleased me very much.

If you are ever near a library where they have the fourteenth edition of the Encyclopeadia Britannica5, please spend a little time looking up these things. I bought the fourteenth edition five years ago, because my old eleventh edition was bound in soft suede and the limp backs were difficult for my lame hand.

When I bought the fourteenth edition my bookseller sent me Volume I for inspection, and in it he put a little mark. I opened it at the mark, naturally, and found an article on American Literature with a full page illustration6 made up of small photographs of American authors: all the old boys we used to study in school, and a few of the newer boys. But there were only three women - Harriet Beecher Stowe7, Emily Dickinson8 and myself. I was pleased, of course, but did not think much about it. The five years went by and a few days ago I happened to be looking up the animal caribou; his habitat. In turning over the pages I saw something that looked familiar on the left-hand page. It really was my name - rather startled me. I read9 the article10 - short but extremely well written. I would have been well pleased with even a less pleasing article in that encyclopeadia.

Press agent stuff is pretty well guarded against in the Britannica. A committee of experts, on all subjects covered, is appointed by the British Museum, to read the copy and pass upon it. The literary and historical material has been very much condensed for the fourteenth edition (a new edition is made every twenty-five years11) because of the enormous development in mechanics and scientific studies. This little article, however, pleases me very much, and I think it will please you.

Lovingly always Willie
Mr. R. C. Cather1 First Savings Bank of Colusa Colusa, California4 NEW YORK, N.Y.2 FEB 8 1945 1030 AM