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Charles W. Chesnutt to George Washington Cable, 13 January 1890

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  30 Blackstone Bld'g. My Dear Mr. Cable:-

I return the clipping you were kind enough to send me. I have made such extracts from it as will be of service to me in my article on Southern Schools.1 I wish I could read the paper along with it, but it is not yet ready. Other matters, business and otherwise, have deprived me almost entirely of leisure for several months, but I think I can begin to see daylight ahead. My wife joins me in regards to you, and we both hope you have escaped the prevailing "grip."

Yours very Truly, Chas. W. Chesnutt. G. W. Cable, Esq., Northampton, Mass.

Correspondent: George Washington Cable (1844–1925) was a reporter, novelist, and critic. He began his career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, writing nearly one hundred columns in two years. After working on a collection of journalistic essays based mostly on historical accounts, Cable turned to writing short stories, novellas, and novels, typically set in New Orleans. In the 1880s, Cable began lecturing, writing essays, and forming organizations focused on social reform, specifically in the areas of Black rights and prison conditions, and in 1885 he moved to Northampton, MA. Cable and Chesnutt met for the first time in Cleveland, on December 21, 1888, at the Congregational Club's Forefather's Day celebration, where Cable was the principal speaker. They began corresponding immediately, and in mid-1889 Cable offered to employ Chesnutt as his secretary in Northampton, MA; Chesnutt declined. Cable visited the Chesnutt home in the fall of 1889, and for two years, their correspondence was frequent, typically about Cable's political efforts on race issues, Chesnutt's writings, or recent publications. After 1891, they corresponded only occasionally.

1. The idea for an article about Southern schools seems to have been first discussed when Cable met with Chesnutt in Cleveland in November 1889. Chesnutt mentions working on it in several letters to Cable: December 30, 1889; February 3, 1889; and February 18, 1890. He encloses it with his March 29, 1890, letter and describes some of what it includes. Neither a published nor manuscript version of the article has been located.[back]