January 14 - Letters to the Editor

Story topics

On January 14, 1899, Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote to the editors of Lippincott's and Cosmopolitan magazines about publishing his short stories.

I send herewith one of the little Ohio stories of which I spoke to you the other day.  I should be glad to have you pass upon it soon and let me know if you can use any other one in the series.

Paul Laurence Dunbar to Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, January 14, 1899.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Simon Gratz Collection (Case 7, Box 4).

I am anxious to be perfectly fair to the Cosmopolitan and I do wish that it may use as much of my work as possible provided its price also be fair.  To this end I have taken the advice of one who is dealing constantly with the periodicals who thinks that I should get not less than one hundred nor more than one hundred fifty dollars.  He cites a parallel case where McClure paid the latter price.  Here I leave the matter with you.  Hoping to hear from you soon.

Paul Laurence Dunbar to Cosmopolitan Magazine, January 14, 1899.  Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Simon Gratz Collection (Case 7, Box 4).

Paul had recently resigned from his job at the Library of Congress and had no steady source of income.  He asked Cosmopolitan to pay him at least $100 for a story, even though in a letter to his literary agent Paul said that Lippincott's paid him about $40.

In reference to "Jethro's Garden," if it is not possible to get more than twenty-five dollars for it, take it.  If you can get forty, do so, by all means, as that is about the figure that Mr. Morris of Lippincott's gives me for stories of that kind.

Paul Laurence Dunbar to Paul R. Reynolds, December 11, 1901.  Paul Laurence Dunbar collection, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Microfilm edition, Roll 3).

During Paul's career, much more of his work appeared in Lippincott's than in CosmopolitanLippincott's published his novels The Uncalled and The Sport of the Gods, along with a series of short stories called Ohio Pastorals.

There is no more popular magazine than Lippincott's.  It has been before the public for a long time, and that it is found so generally in the homes of the people is due to its merit.  The May number is a particularly good one.  The long story is entitled "The Sport of the Gods," and is by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

"Magazines."  News (Savannah, Georgia).  April 29, 1901.

Shortly after Paul wrote to the editor, his story "Mr. Cornelius Johnson, Office Seeker" appeared in Cosmopolitan, but it was the last of Paul's stories published by that magazine.

The Cosmopolitan for February contains articles of interest on "The Dyaks of Borneo" and on Emperor William's trip through the Holy Land.  "Mr. Cornelius Johnson, Office Seeker," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and "Her Guardian Angel," are entertaining short stories.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York).  February 19, 1899.