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Letter from Frederic Ward Putnam to A.L. Kroeber

Frederic Ward Putnam

Letter to A. L. Kroeber

31 May 1904

“She has told me the whys and wherefors, the sum total of which is that her income is reduced some $16,000 a month Ö.”

Here Putnam breaks the difficult news to Kroeber: Hearst intends to severely reduce her support two years before Kroeber anticipated. In another communication that would have been even more disturbing to Kroeber, it was revealed that Hearst had suggested it would be better to let Kroeber go and keep Goddard (with whom Kroeber had a personal conflict) because the latter had a family to support.

The reason for Hearstís retrenchment is not specified in documents in the Bancroft collections. However, it is known that her income from mining operations had been reduced at the same time her son and heir, William Randolph Hearst, had begun drawing heavily on his share of his fatherís estate (which his mother closely controlled) to pay for political campaigns for Congress and mayor in New York and to purchase newspapers in Chicago and New York.

After her sonís marriage in 1903 and the birth of his first son in 1904, Hearst became the mainstay of her sonís family. She paid the rent on their New York apartment, provided a monthly income of $10,000, and built a guest house for the family at her Pleasanton ďhacienda.Ē

Eventually, Hearst extended her support for the department through 1908, although on a reduced basis.

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