J.T. Harwood: The Ione Years (1927-1940)

September 10, 2011 - July 30, 2012



James T. Harwood Collection


Box 1

Folder 1


THEY MET IN 1926!!! Letters all throughout 1927


April 5, 1927 ­ "If God is pleased with us, he will give us two happy? Birthdays. I hope Dear One, they will be days long to be remembered as the happiest days of our lives."


1927 -- Ione is signing letters, "your own, LE" --


March 23 1927 ­ they are keeping their relationship secret -- he hasn't told Ruth, but Ruth in California wants him to come see her during the summer to go sailing ­ he is thinking about not going so he can be with Ione -- he is concerned about his age -- "what a great future there would be for two like you to face life together with the fullness of youth and health..." he talks about paintings he is doing for her (I) -- "I want to varnish your other picture and I will do if in your little nest and I hope the "little fellow" with the "shafts" conseals himself somewhere and I hope he shoots true. Blessed One how I love you and long for you to rest within my arms for a few precious moments. Your lover James T."


Monday Evening, 1927 --- "oh I love you! Your hands are so dear to me. I made you a little impatient that night in repeating it so much, didn't it. Listen now. Your hands are the living, tangible heart of you, conveying each mood with mirror-like truth: sometimes they are strong in deep tenderness, moving in the dim, answering chords; again they are cool in calm gentleness quieting my heart in exquisite accords. Always your hands are a breathing expression echoing the innermost depths of your heart." -- Ione


Wednesday - "as you are (to use your own words "your influence is being built inside of me and will always be a part of me") everything to me and filling the place in my heart that has craved? Such an influence since I was six years old. I will tell you some day the poetry and romance that has always been in my life. And to have it continue on in to this period of my life is indeed true inspiring romance. It is by such influence that we create beauty and the thought comes to me now that there can be no such influence in the lives of what we call the ultra modern artist or he would have to express it." -- JT


Saturday Evening -- "Last evening at this time I was preparing to meet you and oh! What a happy evening was ours. I think I can speak for us both and Darling you remember I told you I had painted that scene some twenty years ago. I got it out to day and an inspiration came to me. I shall paint it as we saw it from the steps we sanctified and it will be for you and I want you to write it for me. I have already made the start and hope to have it finished for you to see when you come here. It will be 9 x 18 inches easy for you to hide away in your trunk. Lets have if for your birthday. I shall give you the other you want for a gift when my birthday comes. Do you know Ione Dearest, your beautiful eyes look into mine constantly. The gift to me you made at our parting last night that little imprisoned fairy you tell of is living back of your eyelashes and melting my heart. ...Darling One I build such castles all the time with you ruling there with me and then other thoughts come to me that never must we be anything but lovers I mean that nothing in life must take away our passionate longing for eachother that so often happens in the marriage stale. I read a letter I wrote to one that should have been full of the story of love. But not a hint of love was there. It grieves me so and that is why I have that longing that I might live it again to correct the missed opportunity. Both sides were to blame and I will tell you how it was when we are together again. That could never happen I think with you. That very thing you tell of people seeking your sympathy shows how full of it you are. I am all alone now I wish you would call up. I am tempted to call you when the children are in bed. I can tell you my plans for tomorrow. I have kissed those letters that should be burned many times to take farewell of them but they are yet here." -- JT


Thursday Evening (early Spring 1927?) -- "Only rarely do you seem young to me and I am so comfortable with you when we talk seriously. Many at your age are on the watch for slips in conversation and will laugh at the accident no matter how serious it is. You have never seemed empty and futile to me. I would not be your lover were it so. I love you so much for your close attention to your work and I have never seen you with those idlers. That's it, Darling, there is a union between us that doesn't take in age, learning, or any of the acquired things. We are like two atoms that are brought together by life and fuse together as one. And you end up your letter telling me you will always love me even into feeble old age. And oh! My Darling you will never be more than youth and beauty to me. I mean I will never see you old but I wish I might. That is a back fire you will recognize. Life offers so much to me now that I have you, Dearest Ione. Since our bond has grown so strong and a union with you offers so much I find myself a happy Dreamer continually."


Tuesday (1927?) -- "I have finished the little picture and I will make a little frame...tomorrow but it will... or two to dry...be very..see...a work of detail as I have only striven for the poetic impression and I think I have that quite successfully."


Friday (1927?) -- I have a conflict of emotion today from despair to ectacy. That dear letter passed over my shoulder today gives me both feelings. There is the assurance of unending love and also suggestions of ending our sweet relationship. It seems I could not stand another parting and it seems that should one of my children say "chose between us" I should have to stay with you. They cannot satisfy my longing for the daily companionship as you can give me. Dearest I want you to type the dear letter. Your wonderful feeling for The Little Mother and Wife who is gone brings tears to my eyes. I want June to read it and when the time comes for Ruth to know that will help me so much as words always fail me. I read your letter all right but it was written at a hurried moment. But as I think of it the letter is best. It expresses feeling and emotion in the scratches words I read in it all the most beautiful sacrifice of self and belief of a future life of justice and love and it gives me the feeling that I have not the right to shut you out of a fullness of your own as I should be taking the best years of your life. We do not know what the future holds in the closing of this life, hence it would be unwise to make too great a sacrifice for an unknown condition if you get what I mean.

This morning was all right sweet Darling as I saw you a first wildly running through the dewy grass to reach me. How I should have liked to let you fall right into my arms and they hungered for you but the fear of observers was in the way and the same in my studio but it was a joy to have you here for so short a time then the happy walk back with you. Though there was more or less anxiety in hearing about your visit with June. Dearest One your 'fulfillment' is very subtle I had to read it many times to get the picture as you meant it. I think it is very beautiful and the thought came to me that Ruth's walls of resistance may be broken down by the help of some of your poetic writings. All your writing seems poetry to me when you are strongly in earnest....What June said was true with other people's children but not my own. I loved my own and how I would love one that you could give me and you know that, through your true intuition (?). Sweetheart, there are two trees on campus. One is you and the other myself. Both near the cafeteria. The one of you is beautiful, young, full of health and vigor, graceful, round of limb and gives great promise for the future - The weeping birch. The few years of its life have only added beauty to it. The other, me, has seen the best years of its life and it has much with the hard knocks but it stands strong and has beauty, character and fives promise of many profitable years, The Elm. I think the Birch is your tree.

Tomorrow Ione I will finish "The Land of Wild Game"(?) and if you will accept it I will finish the sketch then we will both have one print to part with to some one who will appreciate it and yours to stay in the family, you branch of it Darling, Sweetheart.....yours James T."


Tuesday morning (1927) -- "I hope that you will not be firesed (fussed?) when you come up to the Library today between three and four -- as you sometimes are, dear. All the prof. & instructors come up to the L. and I am especially nice to several of them. I shall not keep you longer than necessary. The best thing for you to do is to walk in and look at the current magazines. Some profs. Spend as much as a half hour looking over these magazines so it will not hurt you to be there two minutes, -- if I happen not to be there at once. And if anyone asks you (which they will not if you apparently are busy looking at something) but if they should just tell them the obvious thing -- you are looking through the magazines. Practically all the girls are new this quarter and those of us (just two) who are old are kept busy helping them. This is long, I know, sweetheart, but it is important that you are not nervous but "just yourself" for 5 minutes. Always I love you --- Dearest -- you know how much. LE"


Monday Evening -- (1928?)"You had to call me to know about June. Both she and Kyle are converted to us and she thinks you are a wonderful woman. I am glad you see the point in winning Ruth over; and with what you have written and others you will type I will have some good ammunition."


Folder 2

February 14 (1928?) -- 'Dearest Laughing Eyes -- This is your Valentine ­ I intended last night to write a long, long message for the occasion to you but I was so sweetly entertained by a very beautiful young woman of such wealth. Her valuation runs into the millions and billions so you see there was no chance for writing. Now it will have to be condensed into a few lines even then it may interfere with the interviewing the contents of the package this will travel with. And to morrow evening I will have this Dear creature with me again. I don't infer that she is costing me millions and billions in fact I got her just for the asking ­ Think, just think of the rare opportunity that was mine. It is better to be born lucky than wealthy. I saw this clipping in the paper today and I took it for you to see. I don't think it is as rare as it see such combinations as ours. I can see that in union a very great purpose and the likelihood of it resulting in great happiness. Cases like ours are entirely out of the realm of 'natures ways' and should be thought of as such. To a certain extent we are in the arms of nature and respond to her caresses but her great purpose has to be sidetracked but no the power of love, the highest of all she offers. I repeat again Darling, the promptings(?) I love you Dearest L.E. my Frances Ione Your James T.'


February 25th (1928) -- "Dearest, there is another little picture incubating from those steps looking west and the thousands of little open (?) stars but I must see it again to get the position of things and it will be for you: and someday you will write verses of us for me.....I am so glad you can read in the little painting what I strove to put in it and the one that is on the way you will love I am sure. It will be very different to either....I want to think of you always as a heavenly star that I am reaching for but you always elude my grasp....I had been to our steps to make the sketch and the first stormy day that I cannot work in the garden I will paint another little Dream picture for you. I have it all outlined on a little canvas....Yours, James'


February 26th, 1928 -- 'I wish I could tell you how much I appreciate the painting. It is full of the life and spirit you intended to put in it, and I find peace and strength from looking at it. How marvelous to get so much in so small a space. I will tell you of what I think in particular when I see you. I dare not turn the page lest I write too much. My heart is full of love for you Sweet Dreamer. LE"


Wed, Feb 27 (1929) -- 'All of me loves all of you: body ­ spirit -- mind and heart. You do not know how completely I am yours, and yet I keep apart a little -- sometimes --- there must be identification and not complete absorbtion -- save at times...Love you sweet husband LE'


Tuesday Evening after class (1928?) -- ..."Dear Heart, if you could have seen the pile of etchings, and watercolors I burned the other day you would have hollered but they were not up to standard so the flames gets them and that happens with my work frequently. So if I can produce failures after all the training I have had why should a dear little untrained poet get impatient over one little failure....As ever, your James"


June 29, 1928 -- "I was certainly surprised that you could think for one moment that I would hear of making our engagement public. I know you only want to do what is best, but I cannot consider it best no matter which way I look at it. The only advantage would be that we could be seen together down town as much as we wanted to. But I don't think that would help matters because eyes would be just as curious, just as speculating, then as ever, and I could not feel easy with you even under those circumstances. We shall only be able to have four days together at most, and I think that those four days a month we can go where there are no people. I would not go back to this university if it were known: I COULD NOT. And it would be pretty hard for you though you don't realize it now. Don't you see, Beloved, that it is only once in perhaps a thousand times that two people so different in ages get married for love? It is usually money, home, or some such advantage that the woman marries for when she marries a man much older than herself in years, and it is generally you for which the man marries. And it is perfect nonsense to believe that this public with its constant gossip, its relish for unsavory bits of news, its credulous belief in the worst, will take our marriage-to-be in a matter of fact manner, in a usual manner. Oh no, Darling, IT CANNOT BE. And I will not let myself be the target of eyes, eyes, eyes. I'd feel guilty, ashamed, -- I could not hold up my head. I hope I have made it sufficiently strong to you why you must not let it be known. If it should be talked about in Salt Lake and my mother heard of it, why it would be terrible. But listen to me. If anybody outside of your immediate family and the Andersons come to me and ask me if it is true that I am engaged to you, I shall say "No". I am engaged to you only to those people I have mentioned ­ no one else.... (Ione)


July 27, 1928 -- from Ione in Los Angeles to JT in Paris:

White Stars
Oh! Let us keep our love
As pure and as white
As the stars above.
As cold as they are high?
Ah no, -- but stars are not
Cold white. Pure and deep,
Above they glow -- white hot.


August 15th, 1928 -- "how happy I know you will be to know what was said today about my work and especially the last one, by a man who knows my work is full of happiness and the last one the best of all just radiates light and happiness. Do you understand Sweetheart it is you that is penetrating my work. Ruth is very pleased with my results and has expressed herself acknowledging your great influence over me and the great good it is and should continue....

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