Meanwhile There Were Letters

I’ll be heading to the beach next week and this is a book that will definitely be in my beach bag…


Suzanne Marrs, Eudora Welty’s biographer and Tom Nolan, Ross MacDonald’s biographer, have edited the correspondence between Welty and MacDonald and it is a must-read.

The two met in the lobby of the Algonquin in New York in the spring of 1971.  Kenneth Millar wrote under the pen name of Ross MacDonald and Welty was fan of his detective novels.  She admitted to an interviewer having written a fan letter to MacDonald but deciding against mailing it.  He happened to hear the interview  and set about to write her a fan letter of his own.  Thus began the correspondence between two friends…


They talked about books and music but for the most part theirs is the back and forth writings of friends.  Millar was married but the marriage was a difficult one while Welty remained unmarried.  Throughout the years the affection between the writers became evident and they provided one another with more than a simple friendship.  However, there is no evidence that either would have made any changes to their circumstances.

After Millar was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the only news Welty would receive was through friends.  The two only saw each other once more before his death in 1983.

I’m a lover of the written word and as we move farther and farther away from letters exchanged by snail mail a correspondence like this one is certainly a treasure…


Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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  1. Wow…sounds powerful. I have three years worth of letters of my parents as they courted long distance during WWII. I have thought it would make a good book especially seeing how their dreams played out and struggles that continued to follow them through their life.

    • says:

      Oh you should really think about putting them together in a book. What special memories for your family!