Berton Braley, Ira Gershwin, Edgar Guest, Oscar Hammerstein, Phyllis McGinley, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ogden Nash, Cole Porter, E.B. White and others asking them to write about food and farming. "Will you spare the time," the WWB asked, "to turn out something on the joys of farm labor, of what you get from working with the green growing things of earth?"
As I learn from you,the rhetoric in this letter focuses on "how that eagle of the U.S.A. has got his wings over you and me." The poem makes race a constitutive part of the relationship between "you" and "me," but, as with Hughes's use of "folk," the letter to Fadiman elides explicit mention of race in favor of an American folk identity as the common ground of the WW II effort.
I guess you learn from me—
although you're older—and white—
and somewhat more free
At 73,000 items, the WWB Archives are pretty huge. They're disorganized. They're sometimes mislabeled. But we think that for people interested in the role of the writer working on what the WWB sometimes called the second cultural front during WWII, they're just waiting for someone with less of a targeted agenda than P&PC has to come along and make something big out of 'em. We'll be back here for certain, as there's more about Millay to explain. But who knows what other stories are also waiting to be told?