TLS : Typed Letter SignedKatherine Lee Bates. Author of “America the Beautiful” and prolific writer, college professor, scholar, and social activist. “I am glad to have even these verses of mine circulating in printed form,” Bates writes anxiously in this letter, “but it would be against all my instincts and principles to stand upon a platform and read them anywhere, least of all in college.” Typed letter with clear, strong signature on Wellesley College letterhead. April 9, 1917. Wellesley, Massachusetts. 2 pages.
Although Bates would go on to pen one of the most famous poems in American history, as well as lead a rich life as a teacher, author, and activist, this letter conveys all the anxieties that attend any writer. Bates seeks reassurance from her friends will support her in a pressing issue: reading her poems aloud. “...I depend on you and Martha Hale to nip in the bud any attempt on Miss Pendelton’s part, or the part of anyone else, to give a college reading of my verses. You know you wouldn’t do it yourself, and it would be entirely against nature for me to do it, even if the verses were better than they are.” This is clearly not false modesty. Bates ends by begging that her friends, “don’t let my trench be bombed.” Two horizontal folds; In near fine condition. An intimate letter documenting the inner life, anxieties, and intimacies of a great American author and activist.