Print

Print


Melissa--where is the necklace now?  Could Bennett have seen it?
Sherrill

On 6/15/15 11:26 AM, Melissa Homestead wrote:
>
> Hello, Cather folk,
>
> As i return to a couple of half-done projects involving Willa Cather’s 
> friendship with Sarah Orne Jewett, I have two questions for the Cather 
> hive mind.
>
> !) The photograph of Cather we all know—Cather in a big 
> feather-trimmed hat, wearing a long necklace—that is routinely 
> captioned as Cather wearing a necklace that was a gift from Jewett. I 
> have seen a range of dates on this photograph, and if anyone has a 
> basis for a firm date, I’d be interested, but what most interests and 
> continues to trouble me is our seeming collective assurance that we 
> know for sure this necklace came from Jewett. As far as i can tell the 
> source for this identification is Mildred Bennett’s /The World of 
> Willa Cather/. The caption to the photo there reads, “After she joined 
> the staff of ‘McClure’s,’ where she soon became managing editor, Willa 
> appeared in this brown silk velvet dress with matching hat trimmed in 
> gold and osprey feathers. The necklace was a gift from Sarah Orne 
> Jewett. Made of white jade tinted with pink and green, it was 
> something of a display piece in the days before Jade became popular 
> for jewelry.”
>
>  It’s a black and white photograph--how one could describe the color 
> of the dress based on such a photograph, let alone the color of the 
> necklace? As I recall, in the “Willa Cather: The Road is All” 
> documentary, Antoinette Turner claimed that Annie Pavelka was in 
> possession of the necklace and she played with it as a child while 
> visiting her grandmother's, but this anecdote seems to me highly 
> unlikely. /The world of Willa Cather/ came out in 1951 without 
> documentation and was reissued in 1961 with documentation, but no 
> documentation was added for the unnumbered pages on which the 
> photographs are reproduced. Any thoughts about the source of this 
> information and the reliability of that source?
>
>  In their introduction to the forthcoming /Cather Studies /volume on 
> /Willa Cather and the Nineteenth Century, /Rick Millington and Anne 
> Kaufman point out, based on a consultation with a clothing historian, 
> that it’s not a 19th century necklace but something more modern, a 
> “tango necklace.” This information only deepens the mystery for me.
>
> 2) Can anyone point me to any substantive discussions of Cather’s work 
> on /The Best Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett/ that I may have missed? I 
> have consulted all of the biographies, as well as discussions by Ann 
> Romines and Marilee Lindemann and essays by Marco Portales and Cynthia 
> Goheen on the textual history of /Country of the Pointed Firs/.
>
> Thanks in advance for leads and suggestions either on or off list.
>
> Best,
>
> Melissa J. Homestead
> Professor of English and Program Faculty in Women’s & Gender Studies
> English Department Assessment Coordinator
> University of Nebraska-Lincoln
> 202 Andrews Hall
> Lincoln, NE 68588-0333
> (402) 472-0323 (direct dial)
> [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> http://www.unl.edu/english/faculty/profs/mhomestead.html
>