Dear Mrs. Aly:

Yours of the 10th is here, and it is full of very good news! On the 11th I wrote more on the socialism-totalitarianism theme, 10 pages which I am holding for Enid to copy. Even with this, so much is left to say by way of applying the thesis to world affairs etc. But the rapidly written sketch does expand the idea a bit & suggest universal application.

Here are answers following the order of your questions of Nov. 12th:

  • (1) I'll write a special letter on my adventure with the hysterical group during World War I — not too important, but of some significance I believe.
  • (2)

    The story of Trudeau and the rattlesnake was told to me by Howard Morton whose eye was shot out in the Beecher Island Fight. I met him & his daughter in California, in 1917, I believe. Where, I forget — either S. F. or L. A. But the story is printed somewhere in some historical society collections. Could be Kansas Hist. Soc. I hope one of my letters in the collection at M. U. tells of my visit with Morton.


    Give Mary Ryskind our abiding love. Her daddy was a dear, dear, wonderful person.

    Fine about the 2 Sterling letters found at Mills College! How did they get there, I wonder? Mills wanted me to come over & give a lecture, but I was compelled to move on to Portland etc.

  • (3) John Galen Howard would not throw my letters away. We were very close. He called me "Beloved John". I suspect the daughter's search was not thorough.
  • (4) The Bob Davis letters! Hurrah! I do hope Davis saved the one in which I assailed his shallow criticism of The Alien (which he did buy & publish). It was a good one — headlong and true. You may have seen his reply, which should be in the M. U. collection. He said in substance: "Why did you jump on me like that? I'm not a literary man, I'm only a journalist." His reply was most humble and characteristically amusing.
  • (5)

    Fine that you will do that article requested by Mr. Morrison!

    It's so good that are actually reading my old Bancroft Blade! I was 22 years old when I took it over, and I was having a swell time with it! Where did you find the McKinley poem? I wrote it for the Omaha Daily News in 1901 (wasn't it?). I was living in a garret room with only a sky light at the time, I recall. I also wrote "Lonesome in Town" in that god-awful place. Didn't stay there long, however. I don't recall the "other poems" you mention, but will when I see them. Yes, I remember Bixby — a most remarkable character. Ran a daily column on the Neb. State Journal. He was the first widely known versifying columnist in the country, and very clever. I knew him slightly and admired him greatly. I do not recall the "poem" from the card game. Quote a line or two that I may remember, please.

  • (6)

    The Blade editorials, especially on Russia, showing the early phase of my thought about world matters — How come? you ask. The answer is that I was something of the "intellectual socialist"!! I mean, I was deep in social and economic literature — as well as history; and I was always, as far back as I can remember, eager to find the larger patterns back of events. I was doing a lot of reading, thinking, and dreaming. No doubt Prof. Jim Pile's remark about Russia and the U. S. was in my thoughts somewhere. In the Russo-Jap War, I was not a partisan. It was a tremendous spectacle for me. I pitied the Russians when their fleet was sunk. I admired the Japs for their high morale and fighting qualities.

    It's good that you will be here at Xmas! Of course we'll have a talk.

Kindest to all of you,

John N.
John Neihardt
Rt 7
Columbia, Mo.


Mrs. Lucile Aly, 2094 Hilyard, Eugene, Oregon.