Typed Letter Signed, 2 separate pages on her personalized address stationery, Nyack-on-Hudson, October 30, 1961. With transmittal envelope
by McCULLERS, CARSON
McCullers writes to Paul Bigelow, a close friend and friend of her cousin Jordon Massee. McCullers and Bigelow were both friends with many writers, but especially Tennessee Williams. The "New York Times" obituary of Bigelow on May 27, 1988, states that he was a theater consultant and editor. In Tennessee Williams' "Notebooks," Williams cites a friend's description of Bigelow. "Paul could tell marvelous stories about the world of arts and letters in which he apparently knew almost everyone… an air of… mystery…. He had been educated in England… lived in Greenwich Village in the twenties, in Hollywood (where he's been a newspaper reporter), as well as in Mexico in the thirties…." [Notebooks by Tennessee Williams and Margaret Bradham, see Notebook 1941 page 228, #389]. Referring to him as "Paul Dearest, " McCullers expresses her anticipation of seeing "the beautiful mink coat" Bigelow bought for her. "Paul, seriously, you don't know how grateful I am for these years of generosity and thoughtfulness. I have no verbal thanks but you know I love you in my heart for always. I sent you a case of Vodka, fixings for Bloody Mary. Would you drink a toast for us all...." In "The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers," by Virginia Spencer Carr, a description of Bigelow buying a mink for McCullers is given. "Carson was almost as excited over Christmas as she was over birthdays, especially when it came to selecting gifts for Mary Mercer. She could seldom think of 'just the right present'… she relied often on her cousin for suggestions…. One winter Paul Bigelow called [Jordan] Massee [Jr.] from Connecticut and told him about an exquisite blond mink stole which he had the opportunity to buy at a great savings. 'Do you think Carson would like it for Mary?' asked Bigelow." Massee asked McCullers who was ecstatic, but she couldn't help but tell Mercer who refused to accept it because it was too expensive. This in turn caused a temporary rift between McCullers and Massee. McCullers wrote him out of her will, but they made up very quickly. Somehow, though, she neglected to reverse the will and when she died, he was not in it. Massee and Bigelow were roommates in New York. According to Tennessee Williams' "Notebooks" [Notebooks by Tennessee Williams and Margaret Bradham, see Notebook 1941 page 228, #389], Paul Bigelow was the "constant companion of Jordan Massee." Bigelow and Tennessee Williams had a close friendship that lasted well into the 1950s. In 1941 Williams wrote a poem for Paul Bigelow, a copy of which is in the "Notebooks." McCullers continues. "You are right about cousin Jordan. It is merciful that the Lord took him when he did and that he did not have to suffer...Mary, whom he adores, had just sent him this beautiful telegram which he had shown to every other should in the hospital...I am glad too that Mary drove him in the Bentley and took him to her house for Champagne supper when he was last in New York...." McCullers refers to her cousin Jordan Massee, Sr. Mary is Carson McCullers' physician and longtime friend, Dr. Mary E. Mercer. Mercer cared for Carson and became her close confidant in the last years of her life. When Carson died, Mary inherited one third of the McCullers estate and then in 1968 bought the house. As a tribute to McCullers, who rented apartments in her house only to artists, writers and musicians, Mercer continued this practice after McCullers' death. [Nyack News & Views, article on Carson McCullers, 9/25/12]. Mercer bequeathed the house in Nyack to Columbus State University's Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians; it went to them after Mercer's death in 2013. [See: archives.columbusstate.edu]McCullers concludes the letter asking Bigelow when he will visit. "As I explained, Mary and I have two houses so there is plenty [sic] of room for you and Boots to stay...." Boots" is Jordan Massee, Jr. She mentions that she has a collection of books for Leonard and signs above her typed name, "Carson." McCullers wrote this letter in the year her final novel was published, "Clock Without Hands," though it garnered little attention.
(Inventory #: 4294)
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