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


Full text of letter:

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Sunday Aug. 18 95

Dear friend

My birthday was yesterday. Guess how old I am. I shall not tell for you know I am over 16 and now time to go back. But Sethé Maud has not passed the meridian yet but alas she is and old maid. Dont laugh. How I envy you your situation. To be at the Lakeside with you would be the joy of my life. I could see the storm as you pictured it so vividly in your letter. And sincerely glad am I that the waves, storm or some-thing made you think of “heart break songs” and me in

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connection with them and actually forced you to write. Did it necessitate your going to Lakeside to learn what “arch hypocrites we animals are”? I can understand that your thirst was entirely satiated with such lectures, on “Victor Hugo, Russian novelist, etc.”. I hope you were favorably received as you deserved to be and had not the least cause for the dumps which are your natural curses. If you only kept hope as your guiding star how much more content you would be. Poets can no more feed always on

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ambrosia then the rest of we poor mortals. Compare your lot with the thousands of poor devils around you and derive some consolation from that. Mrs. Cable said she met you the morning of your departure with the cap and you mentioned me, and with her tone which you know, she said, “I tell you Maud he looked good.” “You know he has the neatest figure and right walk and he looked too jaunty.” Quoting Mrs. Cable but can not show you on paper nor with pen as Mrs. Cable did note how you walked. Your friends

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miss you and desire your presence. There is that void your absence has made that is not yet filled. Jon Ward is visiting the Miss Anderson of Cleveland at some resort where she has a cottage. He is happy I presume Maurie B. disconsolate. Myrtle H. is at the lake as yet. I suppose you read the complimentary article in the Chicago Inter Ocean in regard to her musical ability? I am very proud of her. Wm. A. Sherrill writes me to come to Chicago when the K.P. 's go but hardly think I shall. Dull is no name for this Borough. It is in just that

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state every city is at this time of the year. By the way I remembered a man who asked a lady for her company to a picnic I think the young man has not since been seen, nor any apology forthcoming. Ah well this is the 19th century and when women want to vote I presume it right for men to forget these little acts of courtesy.

My parents send kind messages to you. Hoping some voice will speak to you soon again and you will write.

I say vale

Sethé Maud Christy

490 S. Cal. St.


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