Thursday, November 09, 2006
November 10 is the birthday of Vachel Lindsay. He was born in Springfield in 1879 and died there in 1931. He studied art in Chicago and New York and then traveled all over the USA, lecturing and reading his poems. He remains today Springfield's most famous writer.
An article in today's Journal-Register describes the recent discovery of a letter that Lindsay wrote in 1928 to Susan Wilcox, his English teacher at SHS. The letter passed to Elizabeth Graham and then to Jaqueline Jackson, and only by good luck recently came to light.
The letter praises Miss Wilcox for her work on a student literary magazine and admires the writers' names, which ranged ". . . from Portuguese to Lithuanian. I read back into the family histories of some of them, just from the names. The old Springfield names have a special thrill for me, even though none of them represent intimates."
Lindsay's letter has returned to the library of SHS. The picture above is of his wife, Elizabeth, and their children, all described in the Wilcox letter. An extensive collection of Lindsay manuscripts survives at Firestone Library, Princeton University.