Hurston, Z.N. signed typewritten letter to E.O. Grover Los Angeles. (2pp. 8 1/2 x 11). Writing her autobiography. Mr. an...


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Hurston, Z.N. signed typewritten letter to E.O. Grover Los Angeles. (2pp. 8 1/2 x 11). Writing her autobiography. Mr. and Mrs. John Mershon, Eta Motten and Ethel Waters. Rollins College. Gift of Frances Grover.
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Box: 2
Folder: 54


Subjects / Keywords:
Hurston, Zora Neale

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University of Florida
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F 5451 I;urathon Street
Los Angeles, Cal.
December 30, 1941.

Dear Dr. Grover,

It did me a lot of' good to get a letter You put
me right back to work again. You always make me feel that 1 have to
live u~p ,tos-omething, and-that is t.he kind of thing that -keeps a cre-
ative person alive.

This job here at the studio is not the end of things for
me. It is a means.M~ry autobiography is due out in the spring. I did
not wasnt to do it now, but my publishers wanted it very much. They
said 'to my objections, that I could do another voluoje of it years
later. I am doing an article for THE ~-SATURLA~Y REVID:~.! OF LITERi:.TUR;E
at once, wiiith Theodore Pratt and his new book: as a springboard. After
all details of my new book,D)UST TRACKS ON A ROAD, are cleared up, I
shall start to work on a play in dead earnest.

Until two weeks ago, I thought that 'I had an interesting
situation to put up tp you. Hrr.and irs. John IHershon, of Saginaw
Miichigan, who have been living in Balifietherlanids Indies for nine
years came back home to avoid the impending trouble. She was second to
Ruth St. Denis for years at her school. She was also a well-kn~own
solo dancer in her own tight, besides teaching at the 3enis-Shawn
school,. Now, sh~e has married money and thinks that perhaps they will.
neter be able to return to Bali,. She has had two years of college
work and wants ai degree. He is interested in agriculture and wants
to wvork at it. He is really marvelous with plants. So I urged them
to move to Winter Park', take up their studies at Rol~lins where they
could give something as well. She has a great collection of Balinese
art. She knows their customs well. I thought that she could lecture
around there on it, loan her collection t~o the collegeiteach dancing
if necessary and, enjoy herself while giving pleasure to others. 'Ihey
would not need to do~it for money, for their income never comes be-
low ,500.00 per montlp, and sometimes it is much more. H~ow that we are
in the war actively, they seem. to be afraid to come to Florida on ae-
count of the numerous military objectives in the state, plus the
excessive coast line. They plan to return to California, but to stay
away from the coast. He was most excited ab-out the ',lant possibility
of Florida, since he has lived so much in the tropics, and knows
Osborne e'airchild, or Fairohild Osborne at Homewdood.c H~e helped him
w~ith his collection of tropical plants when F'airch-ild visited Bali.
I am so disappointed that ihey are not coming to you.Zlhey are well-
plac e soqcially',financ ially and have brains.I ga ve then le tt ers to
you and Ilrs. TJhomp~son when they left here for MaginawJ to spend the
holidays w\;ith his father, who not only made a fortune in .:ichigan
timber, but is one oif the founders of Phellps-Dodge Copper. itat~urally
it occurred to me that; they could help out financially on new build--
ings, ete. I krnew~ too, that they would love the intellectual atmos-
phere of Rollins, which is to say Winter Park. .T'hey were mightily
impressed ith- Dr. Hamiilton Holt, you, and t~he whole set-up ;hen I
tolij them-r :outt it. It wnould help her in a psyTCholo slol Viur llif sLhe
_ot tha~t degree.~ It pwould igive him som:1~.;,hin~ to besidr'es just s:enda
money aimler-1~,, if hie could work into it tropical plant culture

of the sta~te. He has a fine mind, just never had to use it much. Iche
home address is 1501 N. iMichigan Ave., "aginaw. They plan to leave
.there after the holidays. Do wish for many reasons that you could
get them down there. I have been their house guest out here for five
.,months and know that they need some stimulation to makre thekg happy.
I' saw how my being in the house was a god-send to them. I love them
very much and wantt them to be happy. Work is the only answer, They
just sit around and bore each other to screams. Yes, actual hysteria.

Myj~ best to you and yours, `which means your immediate family, Riollins,
and all Winter Par~k. I might get down there late in Mharch. I had plan-
ned to Join them there. I- 1~k-c-o
Etta Moten is here now, and we had a good talk about Rollins. She
was entranced.' Ethel waters is here too, and we are good friends. ith
her huge following, she ought to be. a sell:-out at Rollins in concert.
I sugg~et~ed concert 'to her Yunday night. It had never occurred to her
to give a whml1 evening of her .varied types -of song. She is a priceless
personality', Wait 'until you meet herl Etta Mobten told me that she
gave a benefit out at Hungerford, and found all .the students simply
worshipp-ing me. They quoted me in song and story,but she found Hall
still trying to kill me off. He talked me down until her accompanist
sprung to my defense. Trhe girls and boys knoi'w his attitude and the
more he knookrs me the more they -lov~e me: I ad~o not mind at all. C11 I
want is' that the school and the town shall go ahead. I know that he
cannot block everything forever. God is in His Heaven, so thiings, have
to cnome right wiiith.the world.

Mios't sincerely your humble and obedient servant,

Zora hleale Huraton?,LitrD.

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