Bliss Carman's Letters to Margaret Lawrence 1927-1929

Edited by D.M.R. Bentley

Assisted by Margaret Maciejewski

Letter 62


New Canaan, Connecticut

Decoration Day1 1928

30. May. 1928



Dear Margaret: This is my first letter on my return from one of the most lovely and enjoyable trips2 of this unworthy person’s career. And how did Quebec3 go? I am eager to hear. I believe you must have had a great time. Also that it will be a source of inspiration.

Northern Ontario was divine in young May green, and cloudy yellow. And the Shore of Lake Superior a wondrous sight. I have never before seen it so fine.

And Winnipeg was a beautiful City, full of kindest hospitality, and many old friends for me. The day at old Lower Fort Garry was most delightful. Summer and the prairies all a green sea. It all made a profound and vital impression, full of new life, when the darling North seemed more heavenly than ever.

On the way back I had a day with Hathaway4 and came off with a great bundle of books. Now for some toil. But Toronto this spring-summer grows quite home-like and invaluable. Perhaps I am not usually eager enough in giving. But it is often more shyness that [sic] indifference.

Kathryn5 (as I spell her) asked me to tea on Sunday afternoon. It was a treat[.] They are a glorious bunch—all four of them. I hated to leave. Also I saw Pelham Edgar,6 Hammond,7 Delury,8 the indispensable Pepper9 of course, in my brief stay, and Charlesworth,10 Pratt,11 Wrong,12 McMechan [sic],13 &c at the Arts and Letters.14

You know, I don’t see many people in New York in a year. So you can see how I shall miss Toronto—Winnipeg—the North!

Do write soon and lots. No news here yet of course.

Ever and Ever


  1. In the United States the memory of the soldiers who fell in the American Civil War (1861-1865) is honoured each year on May 30 by speeches, processions, and the decoration of their graves. [back]

  2. Carman has recently returned from Winnipeg, Manitoba where on May 23 at the annual meeting of The Royal Society of Canada he was presented with the Lorne Pierce Gold Medal (see Letter 34 n.6). [back]

  3. In a letter of June 13, Lawrence tells Carman that she has recently returned from Quebec City where she attended the Canadian Folksong and Handicraft Festival that was held there from May 24 to 28, 1928 (see Letter 7 n.3). [back]

  4. Rufus Hawtin Hathaway (1869-1933), the editor of Carman’s Later Poems (1921) and Ballads and Lyrics (1923), was an author and bibliophile whose extensive collection of works by Canadian authors forms the basis of the Hathaway Collection in the Harriet Irving Library at the University of New Brunswick. He worked for the Canadian National Railway in Toronto. His "Who’s Who in Canadian Literature: Bliss Carman" in the Canadian Bookman, 8 (October, 1926), 299-302 is one of his several biographical and bibliographical essays on Carman in that periodical and elsewhere. [back]

  5. Not identified (see Letter 61 n.2). [back]

  6. Oscar Pelham Edgar (1871-1934) was a Professor of English at Victoria College, University of Toronto. Among his essays are "English-Canadian Literature" in the Cambridge History of English Literature, ed. A.R. Ward and A.R. Waller (1916) and "Bliss Carman" in Leading Canadian Poets, ed. W.P. Percival (1948). [back]

  7. Melvin Ormond Hammond (1876-1934) was a journalist and photographer who worked for the Toronto Globe from 1895 to 1934. The author of two books, Confederation and Its Leaders (1917) and Canadian Footprints (1926), he corresponded sporadically with Carman beginning in 1910 (see Letters 173-74 and 194-95). [back]

  8. Alfred Tennyson DeLury (1864-1951) was an Ontario-born mathematician who was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Toronto from 1908 to 1934 and President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada from 1910 to 1912. [back]

  9. Edythe Pepper, a secretary in Toronto who, according to Boone in the Collected Letters of Charles G.D. Roberts 337, was "a good friend of both Roberts and Pelham Edgar." [back]

  10. Hector Charlesworth (see Letter 60 n.1). [back]

  11. E.J. Pratt (see Letter 54 n.4). [back]

  12. George MacKinnon Wrong (1860-1948) was a Toronto-born Anglican minister and historical scholar who was head of the History Department at the University of Toronto from 1894 to his retirement in 1927. Among his works are The Earl of Elgin (1905), The Fall of Canada: a Chapter in the History of the Seven Years’ War (1914), and The United States and Canada: a Political Study (1921). [back]

  13. Archibald McKellar MacMechan (1862-1933) was an Ontario-born essayist, scholar, and poet who taught in the English Department at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1899 until 1931. In 1924 he published Head-Waters of Canadian Literature and in 1931 he was awarded the Lorne Pierce Medal. In addition to three volumes of essays about Nova Scotia’s maritime past (Sagas of the Sea [1923] Old Province Tales [1924], and There Go the Ships [1928]), he wrote two slim volumes of poetry, Three Sea Songs (1919) and the posthumously published Late Harvest (1934). [back]

  14. The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, founded in 1908, was a gathering place for writers, artists, and intellectuals, particularly in the late nineteen twenties. See Augustus Bridle, The Story of the Club (1945). [back]