On Irishness

“Nature has foiled you in your effort to put restraint on the ‘Irish Luck Kid.’ It simply kinnot be did!”
     —Letter to New London girlfriend Beatrice Ashe (1/11/1915)

“My wife, your mother will be tickled to hear, was born in London of English-American parents. (Damn those English! They always have taken possession of Ireland!)”
     —Letter informing his New London friend Jessica Rippin about his recent marriage to Agnes Boulton (2/4/1919)

“We owe you a tremendous lot—the few of us in this country who are trying to write honestly for the theatre…And I’m certainly proud that it took an Irishman to wake up our public and give us writers new hope! (Yes, I’m of undiluted Irish blood on both sides of my family.)”
     —Letter to Irish playwright St. John Ervine about his play John Ferguson (2/22/1920)

—Letter to Mary A. Clark, a nurse that treated him at Gaylord Farm Sanatorium in 1913.
(5/28/1924; Courtesy of the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)