TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Administrative Information

Biographies of Willa Cather and Benjamin D. Hitz

Scope and Content of the Collection

Arrangement

Selected Search Terms

Container List

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Benjamin D. Hitz-Willa Cather Papers, 1913-1949


The Newberry Library
Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610-7324
USA
Phone: 312-255-3506
Fax: 312-255-3646
E-Mail: specialcolls@newberry.org
URL: http://www.newberry.org

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Lisa Janssen, 2003.

©2000.


Descriptive Summary of the Collection

Creator Hitz, Benjamin D.
Title Benjamin D. Hitz-Willa Cather Papers
Dates 1913-1949
Extent 0.4 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract Chiefly correspondence of Benjamin D. Hitz with librarians, booksellers and experts, relating to his search for first editions of Willa Cather; together with notes for studies on her biography, bibliographies and criticism. Also, a small collection of incoming and outgoing Willa Cather correspondence, including twelve original Cather letters and a few copies, plus several relating to Cather.
Language Materials are in English.
Repository Newberry Library, Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections
Collection Call Number Midwest MS Hitz-Cather
Collection Stack Location 3a 38 2

Administrative Information

Cite As

Benjamin D. Hitz-Willa Cather Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Provenance

Purchased from Elizabeth Holliday Hitz, 1950

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2000.

Acknowledgements

This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Access

The Benjamin D. Hitz-Willa Cather Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Benjamin D. Hitz-Willa Cather Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

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Biographies of Willa Cather and Benjamin D. Hitz

Benjamin D. Hitz was a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, where he died in 1949. A graduate of Indiana University, Mr. Hitz was devoted to the intellectual and charitable institutions of his state, and throughout his life he was an avid collector of books and manuscripts, particularly of explorations of the Middle West and the works of Mary Webb and Willa Cather. His collection of Cather first editions and Cather-related correspondence was sold to the Newberry Library after his death.

Although born in Virginia in 1873, Willa Cather was transplanted to Nebraska when she was nine. Her life on the pioneering frontier of the Great Plains made a lasting impression on her, shaping her talent and interests as she became familiar with the struggles for survival of the immigrant farm families she came to know. Her observations and the kinship she felt for the new Americans of Nebraska was later reflected in much of her fiction, notably in two of her best-known novels, O Pioneers (1913) and My Antonia (1918).

Cather graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1895 and began a career first as a teacher and then as a magazine editor, finally settling in New York City in 1906 as editor of McClure's Magazine. During these years she traveled a good deal, developing a special affection both for France and the American Southwest - the latter described lovingly in the novel Death Comes for the Archbishop - and in 1912 she decided to concentrate on supporting herself as a free-lance writer. What followed was a life dedicated to writing, one in which she published twelve novels and fifty-eight short stories that brought her much popularity and numerous honors and prizes.

Willa Cather, generally regarded as one of the twentieth century's major American writers, died in New York in 1947.

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Scope and Content of the Collection

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between Benjamin D. Hitz and librarians, booksellers, experts, and friends of Cather's, relating to Hitz's search for information about Willa Cather and for first editions of her work. Among the correspondents are Frederick B. Adams, Jacob Blanck, E.K. Brown, Flora Bullock, Philip C. Duschnes, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, William A. Jackson, Howard S. Mott, and Louise Pound. There is a small collection of incoming and outgoing Willa Cather correspondence, including twelve original Cather letters and some copies, plus a few miscellaneous letters relating to her. Because Cather was extremely protective of her privacy, these letters deal with various aspects of her writing and not with her personal life. In addition, Hitz collected a miscellany of notes for studies on her biography, bibliographies and criticism.

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Arrangement

The papers are organized by type of material: Benjamin D. Hitz correspondence, incoming and outgoing, alphabetically and then chronologically arranged; Willa Cather and Cather-related correspondence, incoming and outgoing, chronologically arranged; and Willa Cather miscellany consisting of notes on biographical and bibliographical studies.

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Selected Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Newberry Library's public catalog. Researchers desiring additional materials on a particular topic should search the catalog using these headings.

Names

  • Adams, Frederick B. (Frederick Baldwin), 1910-
  • Blanck, Jacob, 1906-1974
  • Brown, E. K. (Edward Killoran), 1905-1951
  • Bullock, Flora
  • Cather, Willa, 1873-1947
  • Duschnes, Philip C.
  • Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958
  • Hitz, Benjamin D.
  • Jackson, William A. (William Alexander), 1905-1964
  • Mott, Howard S.
  • Pound, Louise, 1872-1958

Subjects

  • Book Collectors -- Indiana -- Correspondence
  • Booksellers and bookselling -- United States
  • Correspondence -- United States -- 1901-1950
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Novelists, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence
  • Women authors, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence

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Container List

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Outgoing A-Z, 1941-1946
1 2 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Frederick B. Adams Jr., 1939-1947
1 3 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Bertram Rota, Ltd., 1942-1944
1 4 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Bjorck & Borjesson, 1946
1 5 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Black, Robert K., 1945-1948
1 6 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Blanck, Jacob, 1943-1946
1 7 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming: Bloom, Sarah, 1942
1 8 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming: Brown, E.K., 1947-1949
1 9-10 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Bullock, Flora, 1943-1948
1 11 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: City Book Auctions, 1943-1945
1 12 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Collector's Bookshop, 1938-1942
1 13-14 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Cunningham, Everett V., 1942-1943
1 15 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Duschnes, Philip C., 1939-1946
1 16 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Elkin Mathews, Ltd., 1944
1 17 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1947-1948
1 18 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Halliwell, Norbert, 1945-1946
1 19 Hitz, Benjamin, D., Correspondence: Houghton Mifflin Co. to Hoosier Bookshop, 1938
1 20 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming: House of Books, Ltd., 1939-1941
1 21 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Jackson, William A., 1943-1947
1 22 Hitz, Benjamin D., Incoming and Outgoing: Knopf, Alfred A., Inc., 1940
1 23-24 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Mott, Howard S., Jr., 1939-1947
1 25 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Nebraska State Historical Society, 1943
1 26 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Nebraska State University Libraries, 1942-1943
1 27 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming: Peckham, Howard H., 1946
1 28 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Pittsburgh Carnegie Library, 1944-1945
1 29 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Pound, Louise, 1943-1948
1 30 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Randall, David, 1938
1 31 Hitz, Benjamin, Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Seven Gables Bookshop, 1946-1949
1 32 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming: Storm, Colton, 1945
1 33 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: U.S. Library of Congress, 1944
1 34 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Walleck's Bookshop, 1944-1947
1 35 Hitz, Benjamin D., Correspondence, Incoming and Outgoing: Wells, Carlton F., 1946
1 36 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, n.d., 1913-1915
1 37 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, 1916-1927
1 38 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, 1928-1931
1 39 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, 1932-1934
1 40 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, 1935-1936
1 41 Cather, Willa, Correspondence, 1942-1946
1 42 Cather, Willa, Miscellany: Notes for a Biography
1 43 Cather, Willa, Miscellany: Bibliography for The Courier
1 44 Cather, Willa, Miscellany: Bibliography for Nebraska State Journal, 1891-1895
1 45 Cather, Willa, Miscellany: Bibliography extracts by Flora Bullock
1 46 Cather, Willa, Miscellany: Critical Bibliography
1 47 Cather, Willa, Photographs, [n.d.]