Emily Hale to T. S. Eliot1

T. S.Eliot
35 School Street, Andover, Mass.
October 19th ’56
Dear Tom,

I am replying at once on my free day, early morning, to your two letters of October 8th and 15th, the latter arriving on the 18th which seems very fast. (The 18th by the way was my aunt’s 87th birthday – I could not go in for any of the day but small festivities were planned by the faithful Myrtle – and I saw her the day before. She is now a very old […] but touchingly gentle – for her a great change –.)

Let me assure and reassure you at once about the letters sent to Princeton. I would not think myself of allowing them to be opened until 50 years from now – and please remember [] I have done this with much reluctance, largely because you long ago made me feel the necessity of regarding you as a Public Figure, and because of the recent – and I suppose correct – importuning of the Thorps that this gift must be agreed [?] for before my death! No one will see these letters until long after all of us have gone from this world. So there is at present no chance of any personal knowledge of private affairs, but please do not write in the future with the thought that perhaps ‘this may interest the future generations.’ Under these circumstances [?] every letter you [?] wrote me would have been so designed. Recently, you must admit, beyond the customary remarks about you as one of family, and a few mutual friends, nothing very personal ever drops from your pen [] my friends. The attitude of both Mr Dix, the Librarian at Princeton, and Willard gave me confidence that I chose wisely in making this University the recipient – a kind of [] also to the Thorps.

I must now send my apologies for [] a message for your birthday Sept 27th. I trust that looking at those two neck ties will reassure you I did not really forget but I am awfully sorry, Tom, that the absorbtions [sic] of life here sent the special date clear out of my mind. I am sure that there was a Birthday Cake! And now may I – blushing not a little because of my omission of a greeting to you – ask if you could not find a birthday card to send me with a personal message – rather than the cablegram which you faithfully have wired year after year. Yes [] grow older [] you feel the need and happiness of keeping such ties as personal as possible.


I have seen also The Apple Cart & Major Barbara since I gave myself a theatre guild ticket for the series this winter. Good luck to your new play, Tom. Yours always Emily.

1.It is not possible to transcribe this letter in full. It has been torn apart and stuck back together with Sellotape (now brown and opaque with age), with the consequence that in places it is illegible.