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


Full text of letter:

(Page 1)

Friday Afternoon

Dear Paul

Once more I ask of you please to return my photo’s Paul I don’t ask this in any mean spirit I promise you I will burn them both I cannot believe you when you say you will burn them.

What have I done that you should treat one as you do Paul, you do not even respect me or you would not ask girls to come to your place of business to go home with you, if I had allowed other men

(Page 2)

to walk with me it would have been a direct insult to you, if you do not respect me, I know you want my photo’s, My heart is choking me Paul all ambition is gone I am like a machine I have no heart for anything;

Wont you give up that cursed drink Paul you think everyone is against you instead it is yourself your income is small at present and you are spending that and you see nothing coming in for it you are weakening your constitusion did you ever have to go barefooted or without your dinner

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when your Mother was working for you because she had spend her money on herself in-selfindulgence, you know, your Mother requires clothes, for her comfort, you have debts, you want clothes yourself, you cannot pay your way, and drink as you do, unless you alter you made of liking your, (race) will never have cause to be proud of their (poet) had you cared anything for me Paul I would have gladly have waited one or two years I spoke to your Mother and we thought I could have made my home with her,

(Page 4)

we could have made a good living and leave you free of the burden, of keeping a home, up untill you were able, You Paul would not like to see your Mother go to the poor house which she will have to do if you are not careful, I don’t mean to lecture you Paul but I am so sore

May I hear from you soon always my love



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