In our letter, Hammett writes about the poet, e.e. cummings. Hammett sent Prudence Whitfield, Pru, a book of e.e.. cummings’ poetry and she had responded by asking Hammett’s opinion of the poems. Hammett here responds by discussing the poet. “Some of Cummings I like very much; at other times he seems to me just childish, but, after all, he’s a pretty good poet at his best and should be permitted to play little games with himself now and then. What I sent you the book for was the last poem in it, which really delights me….” He refers to “If Everything Happens that Can’t Be Done.” He comments that he can sometimes be heard “muttering, ‘there’s nothing as something as one,’ or, ‘forever was never till now’,” which are lines from the poem. This poem was first published in cummings’ ninth book of poems “1 x 1 Poems,” published in 1944. It was no doubt this book that Hammett had sent Pru. He signs, "Much love, darling SDH."
Prudence Whitfield, wife of Raoul Whitfield, a fellow “Black Mask” writer and one of Hammett’s closest friends. Hammett and Prudence (Pru) shared a wealth of correspondence and had an intimate relationship. Hammett was a veteran of World War I where he contracted Spanish flu and tuberculosis. He subsequently pulled strings in order to join up during World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Hammett spent most of the war in the Aleutian Islands, where he edited a popular Army newspaper "The Adakian," from 1944 to 1945.