an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy



The following is an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy’, which is held by the Smithsonian Institution:

April 7, 1926

Today I took a job as waitress at a restaurant on eighth street. Serve a week meals, and tips – two meals a day. She, the manager, didn’t ask much about my experience, because she said I looked as if I could learn it easily. Christ. I went all the way home thinking about it. How delicious. Yes, I may learn it. And today, also I heard from Isabel that Dreiser had a new mistress, a Mrs. Miller. That means nothing, but it brings back to me both a pity for him and for myself. For him because he is grasping frantically for someone to cohabitate with, that his remaining strength won’t be lost. How sad it is, and will he never be able to live on be satisfied until he can meet [[strikethrough]] on [[?]] [[/strikethrough]] on sexual bases everyone woman in whom he is interested. I am bilqued [[sic]] perhaps that he dropped me yet I know the uselessness of trying to turn sex into an attraction which uses anything but that. What nice times we had together. [[strikethrough]] until [[/strikethrough]] Why can’t he accept a relationship without sex.


“Esther McCoy ( I 904-89) was an author of novels, stories, screenplays, and political journalism. … Born in Kansas, she spent her childhood in Arkansas and was attending the University of Michigan when she and Dreiser first met. She initiated a correspondence with Dreiser on 7 May I 924, writing from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to describe her enthusiastic reactions to his books.” — Theodore Dreiser, Letters to Women; New Letters, Volume II, edited by Thomas P. Riggio, pg. 180


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022

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