5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars


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Becky Roorda <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 10:46:04 -0600
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I have a question about Pauline Goldmark that I'm hoping someone in this 
group can answer.

In a 1947 letter to E.K. Brown, Cather says that Mrs. Brandeis introduced her 
to Mrs. James T. Fields. "Mrs. Brandeis," I'm assuming, was Pauline Goldmark's 
sister Alice, who was married to Louis Brandeis (later Supreme Court Justice). 
Also, Pauline Goldmark evidently introduced Elsie Sergeant to Cather (Goldmark 
and Sergeant may have known each other from Bryn Mawr, where they were 
both students).

My question: How did Cather meet Pauline Goldmark? The best guess I can 
come up with is that when Cather worked at McClure's, she must have 
published something written by Pauline. Does anyone know?

This is just an aside: I'm reading an interesting book about the James Family, 
*House of Wits,* by Paul Fisher. Fisher writes about the relationship between 
Pauline Goldmark and William James. William evidently had quite a crush on 
Pauline. A William James biographer, Robert D. Richardson, says that William 
wrote Goldmark "many letters," more than to almost anyone except his 
immediate family. He was a much-older married man at the time he was writing 
to Pauline, a young, single, "beautiful" woman at the time. There are 65 letters 
from Pauline to James, written between 1897 and 1910.

Elsie Sergeant corresponded with Pauline Goldmark for almost 40 years, from 
1910-1948, and those letters are at Yale. [Pauline's and her sister Josephine's 
papers are at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe.] Considering that both Elsie 
and Pauline were friends of Cather, it would seem reasonable to think that the 
two of them might have discussed Cather or her work in their letters to each 
other. This might make for an interesting inquiry for someone looking for a 
Cather topic--assuming it hasn't already been done. 

Even though I haven't been to a Cather seminar in some time, I enjoy 
following what is going on in CatherWorld. What an amazing job you at the 
Cather Archives website are doing!

All the best,
Becky Roorda