At the April 2018 ANTIQUES ROADSHOW event at Ca’ d’Zan in Sarasota, Florida, a guest named Pamela brought in a collection of letters written by the now-famous author Anaïs Nin to Pamela's grandmother Eleanor — who was a childhood friend of Anaïs during their childhood on Long Island.
The series of correspondence — carried out while the friends were apart over summer family vacations — offer "a wonderful insight into the teenaged minds of [her] grandmother and the not-yet-famous Anaïs Nin," said expert Ken Sanders.
The following letter from 1920 is a charming example of Anaïs Nin's developing style — poetic, keenly sensitive to the rhythms of nature, and remarkably circumspect for such a young writer.
Sanders estimated the current retail value of Pamela's letters at between $4,000 to $5,000.
Read the full letter below!
Letter from Anaïs Nin to her friend Eleanor, 1920
Aug. 11, 1920
Are you really really fifteen now? When you told me this, I could hardly realize it, and I had to tell myself again and again that I am seventeen (even looking towards eighteen already), and that I couldn’t grow up alone! Oh! Eleanor, how quickly the years pass. I have been thinking of our school-days, having seen Pauline Ryan the other day. Do you remember her? At that time when we quarrelled [sic] (and I can’t remember why) I thought I could never love a friend again, or have any faith in friendship! Then I met you, that was years and years ago — but all the years do not matter one bit if they don’t change us — even tho’ we don’t see each other as often. Yet wait until September and then we are going to be together as often as possible!
Your letter seemed a picture. I could see you walking along the “nice, long, dusty road” which you describe so well, and I wished I had been walking with you; if this had been true, I am sure I would have told you then of my second tiny success, because I can scarcely think of anything else. When you read the September Delineator you will find 2 poems instead of one, and the last one accepted as an adult contribution. And Eleanor, it was Mother who inspired this one. I think that is the greatest cause of my happiness!
These days linger in my memory, because of the walks I take. I am glad you enjoy the same things — the smell of the fields — and Eleanor, in the evening here the trees of the woods loom in the complete darkness — all is filled with myriads of mysterious sounds — the grasshopper, the little insects which illumine their way with the light of their own body.
Often I go to New York, but not willingly. I saw a play called “Seeing Things” dealing with spritism which made us laugh continually. One of the characters says, referring to the hundreds of times people regret Adam’s weakness: “Adam did eat Eve’s apple, but he left posterity to digest it.”
What you tell me of Scott’s “Pirate” makes me wish to read it, only I am deeply interested in Plato’s works and want to finish one of his books first, since I find that I don’t know how to reason, in fact, I am afraid Logic is a closed book for me which I want to open. Plato makes you think, think think — until sometimes I think I hate to think. But you see, if I am to take philosophy in Columbia I want to be prepared — and each day I find out how little I know! I hope you won’t have to read Plato for a long time, because it makes you look for the “reason why,” the conclusions, arguments — of everything and anything. And then sometimes you wish to forget such thing as logic and live by Just feeling and wondering only a little bit, without finding out anything.
I am afraid I am boring you, Eleanor, but I always believe I am Just speaking to you when I write, and saying anything I think.
Please write soon, but not on the beach as it makes you letters short.
With all my love
P.S. Remember me to Gertrude.