August 11 - East or West?

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On August 11, 1903, a brief newspaper notice reported that Paul Laurence Dunbar would soon travel from Chicago to the Catskill Mountains of New York.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, who has been seriously ill in Chicago, is now slowly recovering, and intends soon to come East to the Catskill Mountains, to remain indefinitely, as his physician advises.

"Pertinent and Impertinent."  Utica Herald-Dispatch and Daily Gazette (Utica, New York).  August 11, 1903.  Page 2.

Another article published a few days earlier said Paul was planning to travel in the opposite direction.

Paul Laurence Dunbar leaves the first of next week on a visit to Yellowstone Park and other points of interest in the Northwest.

"CHICAGO:  The 'World's Fair City' Viewed by the Appeal Man."  The Appeal (St. Paul, Minnesota).  August 8, 1903.  Page 4.

A letter from Paul to his friend James Newton Matthews in Mason, Illinois, confirms that he headed east instead of west.

If ever you come to Chicago please be sure to look me up.  I am in such poor health that I am leaving very soon for the east;  were it not for that I could hope that I might see you sometime when I was passing through your section of the state.

Paul Laurence Dunbar to James Newton Matthews, August 1, 1903.  Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 1).

When Paul left Chicago, he made it only as far as Dayton and not to the Catskills.  His mother Matilda was summoned from Chicago to be with him, and they remained together in Dayton for the rest of Paul's life.

Mr. Paul L. Dunbar, who is on his way to the Catskill Mountains for his health, is here very ill at his aunt and uncle's Mr. and Mrs. Robert Burton.  His mother and a trained nurse are with him.

"Paul L. Dunbar Very Ill. The Gem City's Personal, Social and Other News of the Week."  The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio).  August 15, 1903.  Page 2.

Here he was sick so long, and had to keep a trained nurse.  After we had been there [in Chicago] about a year, he took a notion that he wanted to go to Dayton, and the doctor said that he could travel.  But the next day, I had a telegram to come at once.  He was worse.  He had not stood the trip so well.  The nurse kissed me goodbye when I left.  Then we both stayed at Dayton.

"An Appreciation of Paul Laurence Dunbar," by Rubie Boyd.  Unpublished manuscript, no date [after 1934].  Paul Laurence Dunbar collection, New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Microfilm edition, Roll 3).  Page 76.