The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939

Dear Mr. Howells:

The scheme set forth in the prospectus and advertising matter enclosed in your letter attracts me by its picturesqueness. There is an "octopus" twang about it that charms [?] and satisfies even a Southern socialist democrat. I have known all along that if I ever cross my legs in the seats of the mighty, I shall have to be lifted there by main strength: and Mr. Clark's derrick seems to be the thing I have been looking for.

But the question arises—comes in fact as the eclipse did, swiftly and darkly: Do you propose to edit this scheme in the interest of literature? If so, you can count me out. I am wondering all the time how it is that my name has been included in a list of Eminent Persons. I hope I know myself by this time, and a part of this knowledge clings mournfully about the fact that the stuff I turn out in my leisure moments is not literature and has no claim to distinction. I am literary in the meaning one gives to the word when we see the country correspondent of a weekly newspaper announce that Miss Nannie Goodwin Ketchum, of Greene County, Georgia, has a fine literary talent.

Still, if you think you can give a cornfield hand a showing, and you are not afraid to fish a cold dumpling out of the pot-liquor with your fingers, perhaps I can meet your wishes. I have two stories in prospect. One I have called (in my mind) "One Mile to Shady Dale." It is a story of Georgia folk about the time of the beginning of the Civil War. The other is "Qua: A Romance of the Revolution," Qua being the name of an African prince who was brought to this country about 1760. He died
in Augusta less than fifty years ago. According to tradition, he cut quite a figure in that horrible [?]cyclone of war, rapine, and murder which was centered in what is now Wilkes County, and which historians have refused to [?]investigate. My great-grandmother and my grandmother were in the midst of this disturbance, and [?] when a lad, I have heard them tell of their experiences by the hour. Both of them knew Qua, and [?] Saleth, the son of an Arcadian mother, and >Daniel McGirth, the cruelest and bloodiest Tory that ever lived. You know, of course, that so far as literary art is concerned, I am poverty-stricken; and you know too, that my style and methods will cause you to pull your hair. You knew all about that before you invited me into the scheme.

Therefore, if I can send you something, which shall it be? You will never know which is the worst until you have [?]seen both. It is a question whether I can send the M.J. by Christmas. I can't promise.[?]to Europe, and I can't work on the story till he returns in September.

Yours faithfully
Joel Chandler Harris