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Monday, January 7, 2013

Mabel Was a Literary Fangirl

Grandma Mabel didn't moon over the movie stars of her day but she did love the bookish crowd.  One of her favorite authors was Carl Carmer.  You probably don't know him but he was huge in his day.  Carmer wrote of folklore and history and quite a great deal about upstate New York though his most famous book seems to have been about his time in Alabama.  We have a set of his works somewhere, probably autographed, but the most awesome proof of Mabel's admiration to survive is the following letter Mr. Carmer wrote to Mabel.  It is in response to her request to know more about him for a paper she seemed to be writing.  I know nothing of her paper but in answer to his offer at the end of the letter, Diana said it took place and I want to think it did too.  Frankly, I would have loved to have met Marjorie Flack.  Angus is one of my all time favorite literary dogs.


 November 7, 1939

Dear Mrs. Lucas

The major facts of my biography are obtainable in Who's Who in America for 1938-39 or whatever the latest edition is.

The minor facts are, I feel sure, obtainable from my sister who will be very glad to talk to you about her brother if you let her know you're coming.  She has some rather bad pictures of me -- but practically all pictures of me are bad.

If your paper is not to be read until after November 30th and you could find time to come to Geneseo on that date,  I will be there myself.  So will Mrs. Cramer,  William Rose Benet and Marjory (sic) Flack--author of many books for children, and you will be able to obtain a perfect torrent of unrelated facts about me.

Sincerely Yours,
Carl Carmer


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What an unbelievably awesome letter to get from someone you respect so much and invitation to his sister's home to meet with him and two other very respected writers.  WRB and Flack married, though I haven't looked to see if they were married at this point.  But what a literary windfall.  I'm sure Gram would have moved mountains to get there and share a Tom Collins or two with that group.  

As I wrote this I realize there are many book-related stories of Mabel and might share a few more.

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