The volume’s heart is family letters, addressed to the numerous Cathers who started out from Virginia and settled on a farm near Red Cloud, NE, then dispersed. There are many letters to close female friends she made over the years (but only one to Edith Lewis, with whom she made her home). As the years passed, the scope of the letters becomes increasingly professional but no less frank. As a former editor, she paid close attention to the handling of her books, down to choosing the typeface. When a publisher displeased her, she did not hesitate to hold his feet to the fire. It is appropriate that this volume was published by the one publishing house she loved: Alfred A. Knopf.


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James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.