C O L U xM B I A
C O L U iM N S
Records of a Friendship
In the Eighteen Nineties two youngsters, John Erskine and Melville
Cane, entered Columbia Grammar School and soon became friends.
The friendship endured over half a century. Although terminated
by the death of Erskine in 1951, it was movingly revived in rem¬
iniscence when Mr. Cane spoke to the Friends in January about
Professor Erskine. It lives also in the correspondence between the
two men which, along with other material, has recently been added
by Mrs. Erskine to her husband's papers in the Columbia Libraries.
We print in the following pages Mr. Cane's memoir of his friend
—for those of our members who did not have the pleasure of hearing
him as well as for those who did and would like to renew the
recollection. We wish we could print in full the Erskine-Cane
correspondence—letters written chiefly when Erskine was a
fledgling professor at Amherst. There is room only for a selection,
although included are an early poem and a "fable." But the excerpts
help to round out the image of a young man who radiated infectious
enthusiasm to friends and pupils alike, standing "in ecstasy" (his
own words) on the threshold of a brilliantly creative career as
writer and educator.