restricted access To the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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194 ] To the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch1 St. Louis Post-Dispatch (15 Oct 1930) 3B As I spent the first 16 years of my life in St. Louis, with the exception of summer holidays in Maine and Massachusetts, and a visit to Louisiana which I do not remember, it is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more deeply than any other environment has done. These 16 years were spent in a house at 2635 Locust Street, since demolished. This house stood on part of a large piece of land which had belonged to my grandfather on which there had been Negro quarters also in his time; in my childhood my grandmother still lived at a house 2660 Washington Avenue, round the corner. The earlier personal influence I remember, besides that of my parents was an Irish nursemaid named Annie Dunne, to whom I was greatly attached; she used to take me to my first school, a Mrs. Lockwood’s, which was a little way out beyond Vandeventer place.2 The river also made a deep impression on me; and it was a great treat to be taken down to the Eades Bridge in flood time. Then I was sent naturally to the now defunct Smith Academy, which was then somewhere at the lower end of Washington Avenue; I graduated from there with some distinction, having produced the Class Poem, which even now seems to me not bad.3 I remember with particular regard Mme. Jouvet-Kaufmann, the French mistress, who gave me my first taste for that language, Mr. Roger Hatch, the English master, who encouraged my first attempts at verse, and Dr. Jackson, the Latin master – the third and last subject in which I attained any proficiency.4 I left St. Louis in 1905, to go to Milton Academy in Massachusetts; and apart from a few Christmas holidays , I have never seen St. Louis again.5† I find that as one gets on in middle life the strength of early associations and the intensity of early impressions becomes more evident, and many little things, long forgotten recur. The occasions on which my nurse took me with her to the little Catholic church which then stood on the corner of Locust Street and Jefferson Avenue, when she went to make her devotions ; spring violets, and the rather mangy buffalo which I photographed in Forest Park; the steamboats blowing in the New Year’s day, and so on.6 And I feel that there is something in having passed one’s childhood beside the big river, which is incommunicable to those who have not. Of [ 195 To the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch course my people were Northerners and New Englanders, and of course I have spent many years out of America altogether; but Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any other part of the world. Besides, my father gave a good part of his life, and my grandfather , the greater part, to the service of St. Louis and the State; and my mother took a leading part in Juvenile Court reform there, and they all lie in Bellefontaine now.7 Notes 1. Marquis W. Childs, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday Magazine, wrote to TSE to request a paragraph explaining how growing up in St. Louis affected him, to which TSE responded in this letter of 8 Aug. The letter appeared in John G. Neihardt’s column “Of Making Many Books,” which he devoted to Childs’s presentation of TSE’s letter, under the title “From a Distinguished Former St. Louisan.” Childs pointed out that TSE comes from “a family distinguished in American intellectual life” and that he “has so long been an expatriate that he is more often regarded as an English rather than an American author. . . . His views on his American backgrounds and St. Louis in particular have, therefore, a very special interest.” The salutation and opening sentence of TSE’s letter were deleted: “Dear Sir, / I have your letter of August (sic) 1930; and am very happy to comply as well as I can with your request. But it is very puzzling to try to condense a biography, an ‘attitude,’ and an estimate of how St. Louis affected me, in a paragraph.” TSE’s “(sic)” notes Childs’s dating error for 22 July 1930. 2. In “Why Mr. Russell Is a Christian” (1927), TSE recalled discussing the proofs of God’s existence at...


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