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Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans


William A. Burns is a friend of Paul Laurence Dunbar from Dayton. He writes from Cleveland, where he is studying.

Full text of letter:

(Page 1)

74 Elliot St.

Cleveland Ohio.

Oct. 14. 94

My dear chum: I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines, to tell you that I have so much to do that twenty four hrs per day ain’t half enough time. but I guess I will have to make it do.

The breeze from the beautiful lake has lost its attraction for me and I think that I will be able to keep away from the lake shore now without much trouble.

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I am in excellent spirits, notwithstanding the gloryiness of the day, superindured by the fact that we will have the pleasure of listening to one more lecture per week, since the wise faculty think, that the gentlemen, of the first year class, have not had this ambition cooled sufficiently.

I called at Ransom’s last Sunday and found that they had written you to come. I am very fond of calling on the Rev. and his wife, and his wife’s sister. He was away and Mrs. R was kind enough to run over to see a neighbor, and another young man who was calling very fortunately had business to

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call him elsewhere. so I was favored all around and had quite a pleasant chat with the young lady.

I think that you will have quite a large attendance, as from what I can learn the Cleveland people turn out well.

I am overly anxious to hear the word you have to drop in my ear old fellow. I know that it is something of my interest.

Well I am glad you still have a good supply of the

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fairer sex to cheer up you dark monuments old fellow. but here am I alone, with no one to love me. What shall I do?!! Certain I was very much provoked to hear of Arthurs dishonesty and am only sorry that you did not expose the rascle to Uncle. I will not smoothe over any of his devilment myself, I have been thinking of getting him here and try to make a man of him but this discourages me. I wrote to him but never a scratch have I had in return. but I will try again.

I am glad that you are coming old fellow, I haven’t had a confidential chat for a long time now.

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What is going on at the Gem City any how, if it were not for the few friends that I have there I would not care whether I came back or not. I rec’d a very nice letter from Anna, she is fine girl certainly, she told me that she had seen you.

Well I must close write soon and tell me the news. Love to your mother. Your chum truly

Wm. A. Burns


Primary Item Type

Personal Correspondence


This item is part of the Paul Laurence Dunbar House collection at Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio. The collection contains items from 219 N. Summit St., Dayton, Ohio (later 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St.), the home Dunbar purchased for his mother, Matilda J. Dunbar, in 1904. Paul Laurence Dunbar lived there until his death in 1906; Matilda lived there until her death in 1934. It is now the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, part of the National Park Service.


Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans