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KATHARINE LEE BATES - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 01/14/1924 - HFSID 156625

KATHARINE LEE BATES She signs an extraordinary 4-page typed letter to a former student, Viola White, praising White's recently published volume of poems. Framed in the Gallery of History style to 36x24.

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KATHARINE LEE BATES
She signs an extraordinary 4-page typed letter to a former student, Viola White, praising White's recently published volume of poems. Framed in the Gallery of History style to 36x24.
Typed Letter Signed: "Your kind and loving/professor,/Katharine Lee Bates" as Professor at Wellesley College, 4 pages, 5½x8½, separate sheets. Wellesley, Massachusetts, 1924 January 14. On letterhead of Wellesley College Department of English Literature to Miss Viola C. White, Brooklyn, New York. Begins: "Dear my Poet". In full: "Indeed, I feel guilty that a tired little librarian should have braved harsh weather and made her weary way from Brooklyn to Manhattan to hear me speak at the Law Enforcement meeting. This sense of guilt is only a feeling; it is not a fact. Mrs. Peabody asked me some weeks ago if I would come on to that meeting just to sit on the platform, and I definitely declined, explaining that I had just been on to New York and could not spare the time to go again so soon. Then Mrs. Miller wrote from New York urging me to be her guest and saying that they merely wanted to be able to say that I was there; whereupon I replied as before that I could not think the advantage to the cause was substantial enough to warrant the very special effort I would have to make to got at just that time. The next thing I knew was the arrival of invitations from various organizations who had seen the announcement in the papers to endure a reception, speak at a Shakespeare dinner, etc. Finally, at the last moment, somebody sent me a New York paper in which I read with astonishment that I was to give an address at that meeting on 'America the Beautiful.' Can you imagine my doing it! The statement was entirely unwarranted and so, while I can't bear to think of your facing that wintry weather, I was not breaking an engagement nor a promise, but simply holding to what I had twice stated must be my course of action. I am glad to hear that 'America the Beautiful' behaved well on the screen. I should have written you a long time ago about my pleasure in 'The Hour of Judgment.' I was really disappointed (!) for I had been afraid that the book would be denunciatory and over-ironic in its general tone. I do not find it so. My first impression on reading it was that events had moved so rapidly in the labor world, as elsewhere, that already some of the poems seemed behind the times, but this whole very effect left the reader more open to the poetic appeal. My next impression was one of relief in finding a new book of poetry with a large and general theme. I am so tired of the way in which the younger generation wrack language to express their multitudinous sensations of emotions. What an egotistical company they are! But here we have poetry that is altruistic and intellectual, - an oasis in our modern wilderness. I don't think that introduction by Mr. Holmes is at all true, do you? It wasn't the World War that made you a socialist. And many of these poems had been written before other poems that appeared in the earlier book. Why did you let him misrepresent you so? What you say in these poems is very much what you said and thought in your senior year. Isn't that so? Among my favorites are 'The Hour of Judgment,' 'Grey Wolf,' 'A Fragmentary Trail,' 'Atlas,' 'To a Condemned Man,' 'Life Divided,' 'Dialogue in Jerusalem,' the 'Chinese Dragon Soliloquizes,' 'Russia, 1918,' and 'Russia' itself. I love your dedication to V. D. S. too, though I found Miss Scudder quite abashed about it, for she said she had advised you not to publish the book. But now, seeing how effective it is in print, she is very glad you did. I should be glad to review it, but I don't know where. I reviewed your earlier book for the Wellesley Quarterly, I believe, and so, lest your Wellesley circle should seem to limited, I think Miss Converse or some one else would better write the review this time. I have no reviewing connection with any periodical at present, and when I am asked by a friend to write a review I usually say: 'If you will suggest to any editor to request me to do so, I will comply with pleasure.' I am sending you quite absurdly, since your book is on such large and living themes, a little play-time volume of my own. But you will find occasional meanings wrapped up in the nonsense. With sincere congratulations and ever warm affections." Handwritten postscript: "with a secret wonder as to whether you ought not to take a free writing year at once -". Handwritten at upper left margin of first page: "Have I said 'thank you' anywhere? I meant to. I really love the book." Nine minor corrections in her hand.BATES (1859-1929) is best remembered for writing "America the Beautiful", inspired by a climb to Pike's Peak (1893, revised in 1904, 1913). A professor at Wellesley College for 40 years, she was a prolific writer of poems, travelogues, studies of Shakespeare and verses and plays for children. As this letter reveals, Bates was a traditionalist regarding literary forms and also believed literature should address broad human concerns. WHITE (1890-1977), a Wellesley graduate (1911) and favorite student of Bates, eventually became Curator of the Abernethy Library of American Literature at Middlebury College (Vermont). She was a poet and scholar with socialist and pacifist convictions. Vida Danton SCUDDER (1861-1954), mentioned in the letter, was a Wellesley Professor and social reformer. Oliver Wendell HOLMES, Jr. (1841-1935), an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1902-1932), maintained a lifelong interest in literature and philosophy. First page is lightly stained. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 36x26¼.

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