Columbia Library columns (v.23(1973Nov-1974May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.23,no.2(1974:Feb): Page 21  

Not at Columbia:
Postcards to Cora Crane


IT was Jacksonville, Florida, at the end of October 1972. Lil¬
lian Gilkes had completed her essay for the Library Columns
on the background of the Stephen and Cora Crane Collec¬
tions at Columbia University, and we were visiting the city where
Stephen began his unsanctified relationship with Cora three-
quarters of a century ago.^ That was where the Columbia Univer¬
sity collections had come from: they were the portable property
Cora brought back from England when Stephen died and she had
returned to the city from which they started. The annual meeting
of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association would open
in a few days, but we had come early for a variety of reasons that
mainly had to do with the Cranes.

Those reasons were in part sentimental. One of us had been
born in Jacksonville and for that reason had written a biography
of Cora; the other wanted to see for the first time places important
in Stephen's life and work; both of us welcomed the occasion as
an opportunity to talk -without using the telephone and mails that
are necessary to sustaining our long friendship over most of the
years.^ The time seemed right for this kind of sentimental journey
because the anniversary of Cora's death had just passed and the
anniversary of Stephen's birthday would come while we were in
the city. It also was the anniversary of the time they met. But this
was to be a working trip too. We each had projects in progress,
including a joint project, for which we needed information in

1 See Lillian Gilkes's "The Stephen Crane Collection Before Its Acquisition by
Columbia: A Memoir," Columbia Library Columns, XXIII (November 1973).

- iVluch of the baclcground information for this article came from Lillian
Gilkes' Cora Crane: A Biography of Mrs. Stephen Crane (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, i960), especially from pp. 313-57.
  v.23,no.2(1974:Feb): Page 21