5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars


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Sarah Watson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars
Wed, 12 Mar 2008 12:43:06 -0500
text/plain (174 lines)
Can you explain how to access the Solomon Butcher pioneer photographs?

Sarah Watson

-----Original Message-----
From: 5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Timothy Bintrim
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:52 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [5BANKSTREET] hookahs and material culture and WC (and "illicit

Janis, Shellie, Ann,

I agree the brace is beautiful, and there seems to be no lack of
craftsmanship.  Her orthopedist must've known what was at stake. (And I hope
we can expect a few more books from you Janis, at least two a year please).
I wonder if, with the evident house talent for photography, the Cather
Archive could reprint some of Betty's and Lucia's photos of places and
artifacts, maybe with the degree of detail we have for some of WC texts?  It
would be fun to examine these objects in class from different angles and
with a zoom feature, something like what has been done with Solomon
Butcher's pioneer photographs. 

Janis, your and Shellie's linking smoking with dress may be a key to the
puzzle.  I think for a time in Pittsburgh WC ran with a rather fast crowd of
newspapermen while dressing the part, and probably smoked in the city room
of the _Leader_ (though I can't see her doing that at the papers owned by
her Lincoln friends--but the theater is another scene altogether, as
reflected in Curtin's subdivisions .  And all those "Smokers" in the Green
Rooms afterward she must have attended.  Anyway, it seems from descriptions
and photos that her dress became more feminine after meeting Isabelle (whom
Kari was delighted to learn was listed by her given name, "Fanny," in some
genealogical records).   Do you think Fanny/Isabelle smoked in public, and
that Judge McClung "took it," as WC wrote in "Double Birthday?  Or did the
university girls smoke in public in Lincoln, and all this speculation is old
hat?  There is a rather detailed book of the cultural history of NU, but I
only borrowed it !


>>> Janis P Stout <[log in to unmask]> 03/12/08 11:29 AM >>>

I don't recall any discussion at the conference about the sharing of 
the study OR St. Peter's worry about the smoke.  And I hadn't thought 
about this line in TPH since the smoking conversation began.  I'm 
glad you picked up on it.  I find my mind now racing off to Cather's 
enjoyment of dress (= femininity?) and wondering if she retained, 
even as she defied, an association of smoking with masculinity.  I do 
realize, even as I write this, that it has a reductively Freudian 
ring to it.  Yet I feel that you have pointed out an important link.

Will the listserv group indulge me in another response to Shellie's 
posting--certainly a non-scholarly one?  I too have found myself 
returning to the photograph of the hand brace.  Simply as an example 
of the art of photography, it is singularly beautiful and evocative. 
But I am also struck by the strong resemblance of the device itself 
to the brace I have recently been wearing.  Mine has velcro closures 
and seems to be constructed of fiberglass and some strong kind of 
stiff fabric, no metal, but the design (e.g., the way it goes around 
the thumb) seems to be much the same.  I think her good doctor's 
device--if it was original with him--has been a model for subsequent 


>Re: Cather and "illicit smoking"
>    In  Bk One chapter XI of LUCY GAYHEART, singer
>Clement Sebastian "smoked until his throat was dry" as
>he sadly ponders his lonely life.  Then he wraps a
>scarf around his neck  and opens the window to let out
>the smoke... Has a rather "illicit" ring to it, don't
>you think?
>     I too loved the latest WCPMNR, especially the hand
>brace photo and Janis Stout's keynote.  I wondered
>what people made about  St.Peter sharing his study
>with Augusta the sewing woman and her dress forms, and
>( in another illicit smoking moment) worrying that his
>pipe smoke left the unfinished dresses "saturated with
>Shellie Sclan
>New York City
>--- Timothy Bintrim <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>  Ann, Janis, Merrill, Marvin and Bank Streeters,
>>  So good to correspond with all of you.  The latest
>>  WCPMNR was lovely, esp. with color and high quality
>>  photos.  I tell my wife often that I read WCPM, I
>>  subscribe to PMLA.  I'm hoping Joe Ugo will treat us
>>  to a scholarly article on "The Lady or the Hookah?"
>>  (note the Frank R. Stockton allusion) but until the
>>  real wits get involved, I've been thinking of her
>>  many literary references to illicit smoking.
>>  Woodress tells us in his Variorum ed that the
>>  McClure's version of "Paul's Case" has Paul
>>  loitering in a tobacconist's shop.  In "The
>>  Conversion of Sum Loo" there's much opium smoking
>>  (okay--I don't claim she researched THAT), and I
>>  seem to recall that Kitty Ayreshire smokes, and in
>>  "Double Birthday," Isabelle's avatar smokes at the
>>  birthday dinner.  Did Willa take up cigarettes (if
>>  not a pipe) in Pittsburg (where she learned to mix
>>  cocktails, remember), or was borrowing Dr. Tyndale's
>>  cigarettes one of the habits that had 'queered" her
>>  among her Lincoln circle?    
>>  Has anyone tracked down the manufacturer of the
>>  Turkish Lady?  I bet David Porter could, and my
>>  second choice would be PBS's The History Detectives.
>>  Tim
>>  >>> ann romines <[log in to unmask]> 03/10/08 9:16
>>  PM >>>
>>  Tim, I was glad to see that you'd enjoyed Merrill's
>>  provocative comments on the Turkish Lady in the
>>  current Willa Cather Newsletter and Review!  For
>>  those of you who haven't seen it yet, it's a special
>>  issue on Cather and material culture, with a keynote
>>  essay by Janis Stout, Betty Kort's stunning
>>  photographs of artifacts in the Cather Foundation's
>>  collection and (among other things) brief comments
>>  (like Merrill's) from 24 scholars and readers on
>>  images of the Turkish Lady, the "slave girl"
>>  cardholder from A Lost Lady, Willa's girlhood
>  > wallpaper (SOL), her baby cup, her hand brace, her
>>  pocket watch, her ubiquitous green jacket.  Hope
>>  you'll see this issue!
>>    Of course, if you're a Cather Foundation member,
>>  your copy will arrive in the mail, along with two
>>  others per year.  (Yes, this is a plug.)  And if
>>  you're not a member, it's easy to join at
>>  www.willacather.org, or by calling the Foundation in
>>  Red Cloud at 866-731-7304.  That way you can read
>>  Merrill on the Turkish Lady, Evelyn Funda on smoking
>>  women, Guy Reynold's prose poem on "The Brace," Andy
>>  Jewell on Willa's baby cup, Barbara Trout on Willa's
>>  wardrobe, Nancy Chinn and Kari Ronning and Lisa
>>  Marcus on the slave girl in the hallway, and. . . .
>>  You'll also be giving much-needed support to all
>>  that the Cather Foundation does for us, the
>>  community of Cather scholars and readers.
>>    Thanks, everyone!
>>    Ann Romines
>Looking for last minute shopping deals? 
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Janis P. Stout
101 Summit Edge Ct.
Glen Rose, TX 76043
(254) 898-2631