Dorothy Scarborough and Karle Wilson Baker.
A Literary Friendship
PAMELA LYNN PALMER*
I N THE SUMMER OF 1919, TEXAS WRITERS DOROTHY SCARBOROUGH AND
Karle Wilson Baker met in New York and renewed an acquain-
tanceship that had begun twenty years earlier at the University of Chicago.
The two women found they shared many of the same interests and aspira-
tions. They were both publishing poetry, short stories, and nonfiction
in prominent literary and popular journals and would later produce novels.
They felt a common bond in their love for Texas, although Scarborough
was by then a displaced Texan and Baker was an adoptive one, having
moved to Nacogdoches in 1901. They had both lived in Virginia-Baker
as a teacher of English and French at a girl's school in Bristol, and Scar-
borough as a summer guest at her sister's home in Richmond. Although
their personalities were quite different-Scarborough's energetic flam-
boyance contrasting with Baker's outwardly calm exterior, which sheltered
a fiery spirit-their artistic philosophies were similar, and each held the
other in high esteem.
Emily Dorothy Scarborough was born in Mt. Carmel, a small town
near Tyler, Texas, on January 27, 1878. She was the youngest of four
children of lawyer John B. Scarborough and Mary Adelaide Ellison Scar-
borough. In 1882 the family moved to Sweetwater, Texas, hoping the
drier ~limate would help cure Mary Scarborough's tuberculosis. Dorothy
Scarborough's own experiences with West Texas weather and her mother's
reinforcement of those early memories later shaped the naturalistic set-
ting in Dorothy Scarborough's most famous novel, The Wind. The Scar-
*Pamela Lynn Palmer is special collections assistant at Ralph W. Steen Library, Stephen
F Austin State University. A version of this paper was presented at the Dorothy Scar-
borough Symposium, Baylor University, September 18 - 20, 1986. Ms. Palmer has pub-
lished historical articles in the East Texas Historical Journal and the Texas Folklore Society
publication Legendary Ladies of Texas, as well as fiction and poetry in a number of periodicals,
including Quartet, Texas Quarterly, and Child Life
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed January 25, 2015.