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


Full text of letter:

(Page 1)

Louisville, Ky.

July. 9. 1896.

Mr. Paul L. Dunbar:

Dear Friend:

Mr. W. D. Howells has done you a great and just favor. Profit buy it. You and Gov. McKinley are close together in Harpers. Do you see the point? If he is made President get your friends to speak for you. It may bring you a position in Washington worth $1000 or $1200 a year.

If you can get some New York house to bring out your book, a little fortune will be yours.

(Page 2)

By all means arrange and give some readings in New England.

If Howells hears you read he will say some things that will mean thousands in your pocket. Dont wait for an invitation. Go to New York and be your own manager. Howells in his article says you are unknown to him! When Mr. Watkins of the Courier-Journal, read this, he wrote to him speaking in the highest terms of you and your work. Now, he doubtless said something about your reading. If so, Howells will be anxious to hear you. Why not make him a visit and recite “The Pahty.”

(Page 3)

“An Ante Bellum Sermon” and "Whistling Sam.” “Whistling Sam” will carry New England. Don’t forget the piece where the boy returns from college and so disgusts his mother. You now hold the key to your future success. Neither lose it, nor let it rust in your hands. If you can carry this point with Howells, your audience will be the whole of New England. Messrs. Walkins and MacPherson are proud of your good fortune and both send congratulations. They want to buy the book. If you send me about two copies I will deliver them and return the money.

(Page 4)

Prof. McKinley has been a little slow about paying for your book I let him have. But I don’t think it is lost.

All send regards to you and your mother.


Joseph S. Cotter

2306 – Magazine


Primary Item Type

Business 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