There are, fortunately, enough letters and contemporary documents, such as interviews and reminiscences of friends, to corroborate many events in her life that have passed through the crucible of her imagination to emerge in her stories and novels.
My notes make it clear when I am working from letters and when I am drawing on her fiction.
Fortunately, correspondents who outlived her had the good sense to realize that Cather belongs to the world and her letters ought to be preserved.
It is still impossible to publish or quote from her letters (her will forbids it), but they are available for consultation, and the information they contain is public property.
My book, , appeared in 1970 and was based on much primary material that had not been available to Brown.
Perhaps fifteen hundred of her letters by now have found their way into institutional collections from Maine to California, even though she and Edith Lewis destroyed as many of her letters as they could lay their hands on.
Lewis's memoir, which was prepared for the use of E. Brown, is, of course, of immense assistance, as it was the work of a friend of more than forty years.