Additional Correspondents

Choose from the list of individuals below to view biographical information. Or, scroll down to browse all additional correspondents. These individuals are represented in Katherine Anne Porter's correspondence. Biographical information highlights their their relationship to Porter.

Cahill Sisters David Porter Heintze and Donald Boone Heintze Walter T. Heintze Walter Merritt Hemmerly, Jr.
Mary Alice Porter Hillendahl  Jules Hillendahl Mary Alice Hollaway  Thomas H. Hollaway
Dorothy Rae Porter Parrish Breckenridge Porter, Sr. Connie Porter Harrison Boone Porter
Ione Funchess Porter Harrison Paul Porter, Sr Leo Porter Cora Addison Posey
Sallie Crawford Willson


Browse Katherine Anne Porter's correspondence by recipient.




Gertrude Cahill Beitel (1881-1959), Lily Cahill (1885-1955), and Helen Greenwell (1893-1972) were sisters and second cousins of Katherine Anne. Their mother, Virginia Myers Cahill, was the daughter of Eliza Jane Skaggs Myers, a sister of Catherine Ann Skaggs Porter, Katherine Anne’s paternal grandmother. Although they were distant cousins, Katherine Anne felt a familial bond with the sisters, corresponding with and visiting them when she could. Katherine Anne’s letters to Gertrude reveal that they kept up a regular correspondence throughout the 1950s in which she discussed Gertrude’s writing, her own writing, and thoughts about literature, social events, and their family connections. The letters written in 1955 also offer sympathy for Lily’s death and document Katherine Anne’s grief about Gertrude’s loss.

Lily Cahill, a younger sister of Gertrude Beitel, had a successful career as an actress, both on Broadway and in films. While only a few letters to Lily remain, they document Katherine Anne’s sympathy for Lily’s health ailments and her confidence that Lily was a fellow artist. Katherine Anne’s letters to Gertrude following Lily’s death in 1955 also describe what Lily meant to her.

Helen Greenwell is another of Gertrude Beitel’s younger sisters. In the archived letters to Helen Greenwell from the 1950s, Katherine Anne describes the gathering momentum of her career, reflects on childhood memories, and discusses family matters, including the decline of Gertrude Beitel’s health and her death. The letters often include greetings for Helen’s husband, Sam Greenwell, as well.


Lily Cahill, cousin of Katherine Anne Porter, New York, New York, circa May 1946. Front inscription: “For my darling/Katherine Anne/Lily.” Katherine Anne Porter Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.



David Porter Heintze (1952-) and Donald Boone Heintze (1954-) are Katherine Anne’s great nephews, the sons of her niece Ann Hollaway Heintze. Katherine Anne was charmed to be named the godmother of David, and, when David and Donald were young children, Katherine Anne often sent them postcards documenting her extensive travels and greeting cards to commemorate holidays. These frequent notes capture the warm affection Porter held for her great nephews and her desire to participate in their upbringing and education.


Walter T. Heintze (birth and death dates unknown) was the second husband of Katherine Anne’s niece, Ann Hollaway Heintze. He was an industrial designer who emigrated to the United States from Sweden. Ann and Walter Heintze wed in 1950, and their sons David and Donald were born in 1952 and 1954. Katherine Anne often addressed Walter warmly in the family correspondence and sent him individual cards to accompany those she sent to his wife and sons. In her letters to Ann, however, Porter criticizes Walter and assures her niece she deserves better treatment.


Walter Merritt Hemmerly, Jr. (1910-1980) was the first husband of Katherine Anne’s niece, Ann Hollaway Heintze. Ann and Walter Hemmerly were married from 1940 to 1949. They met when both were members of the San Carlo Opera. During World War II, he was a member of the armed forces and served in Europe. Katherine Anne did not correspond with him frequently, but Ann did preserve one letter Katherine Anne sent to the couple and one letter she wrote to Walter while Ann was in Europe.


Mary Alice Porter Hillendahl (1892-1973), most frequently called “Baby” by her family members, was Katherine Anne’s younger sister. She married Herbert Lee Townsend in 1913, but he died a year later, prior to the birth of their son, Breckenridge. She married Julius Arnold “Jules” Hillendahl in 1916.

In her letters to Baby, Katherine Anne often describes the details of her own life and discusses their immediate family members. The tone of the archived letters is generally friendly and affectionate, but Katherine Anne’s criticisms of Baby are well documented in her other family letters, especially those written to their sister Gay Porter Hollaway. The complaints Katherine Anne had long made against Baby are documented in the last remaining letter she wrote to her younger sister in 1969.


Mary Alice Hillandahl, younger sister of Katherine Anne Porter, Mission, Texas, Spring 1928. Katherine Anne Porter Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.



Jules Hillendahl (1884-1954), also known as Kuno, married Katherine Anne’s younger sister, Mary Alice “Baby” Porter Hillendahl, in 1916. Apparently members of the Hillendahl family were friends of the Porter family, as Katherine Anne’s sisters arranged for her to stay at a Hillendahl family farm in Spring Branch outside Houston in 1913, details from which surfaced in her short story, “Holiday.” Jules/Kuno was not a frequent correspondent of Katherine Anne’s, but she sometimes included well wishes for him in her letters to Baby.


Katherine Anne was very attached to her first niece, Mary Alice Hollaway (1912-1919), born to Gay and Thomas Hollaway in 1912. Katherine Anne lived with Gay and helped to care for Mary Alice following her birth and again after the birth of Gay’s second child, Thomas. When Mary Alice died of spinal meningitis at age 6, Katherine Anne was devastated. Katherine Anne later wrote “A Christmas Story” (1946) about Mary Alice.


Thomas H. Hollaway (birth and death dates unknown) married Katherine Anne’s sister Gay Porter Hollaway in 1906, in a joint wedding with Katherine Anne and her first husband, John Koontz. He is the father of Mary Alice Hollaway (1912-1919), Thomas Harry Hollaway (1914-1951), and Ann Hollaway Heintze (1921-1987). Katherine Anne wrote her brother-in-law announcing the birth of his daughter Mary Alice. Gay eventually divorced T.H., a serial philanderer, and Katherine Anne’s disdain for him is well documented in her letters to Gay.


Dorothy Rae Porter Parrish (1918-1997) is the first of Paul Porter, Sr., and Connie Porter’s four children was a niece of Katherine Anne. Katherine Anne’s single surviving letter to Dorothy thanks her for the fresh moss she sent to decorate the nativity nephew Paul was making for her.


Breckenridge Porter, Sr. (1914- 1999), was the only child born to Katherine Anne’s younger sister, Mary Alice “Baby” Porter Hillendahl. Breckenridge’s father, Herbert Lee Townsend, died before he was born. Katherine Anne visited Baby to help care for her and her son after his birth. Breckenridge was later adopted by Katherine Anne’s brother, Paul Porter, Sr. Katherine Anne’s 15 April 1930 letter mentions her sisters and asks sixteen-year-old Breckenridge to write to her.


Connie Porter (1892-1971) was the wife of Porter’s brother, [Harrison] Paul Porter, Sr., and the mother of [Harrison] Paul Porter, Jr., and his three siblings. In the only remaining letter Katherine Anne wrote to Connie, she discusses works of Durer and her health as well as her regret about having been unable to attend the wedding of Charles Boone Porter, Connie and Paul Sr.’s younger son.


Harrison Boone Porter (1857-1942), the father of Katherine Anne, married Mary Alice Jones Porter in 1883. In addition to Katherine Anne (1890-1980), Harrison and Mary Alice had four other children: Gay (1885-1969), Paul (1887-1955), Johnnie (1889-1890), and Mary Alice “Baby” (1892-1973). When his wife Mary Alice died in 1892, Harrison moved his family from Indian Creek, TX, to the home of his mother, Catherine Ann Skaggs Porter, in Kyle, TX, and relied upon her help to care for the children. Harrison read widely and worked as a teacher for a period of time. He also worked for a railroad, as a salesman, and as a farmer.

Katherine Anne’s archived letters to her father are often long, warm and affectionate in tone, and give detailed accounts of her recent experiences. At times Katherine Anne was anxious for his approval, and at other times she could be exacting in her criticisms of his shortcomings, especially in her letters to Gay.


Harrison Boone Porter, father of Katherine Anne Porter, seated in a wicker chair dressed in shirt and tie, Texas, circa June-July 1937. Katherine Anne Porter Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.



Ione Funchess Porter (circa 1880-1953) was Katherine Anne’s aunt by marriage to Newell Porter, the brother of Katherine Anne’s father, Harrison. Katherine Anne’s partial draft of a 1933 letter to “Tante Ione” shares fond recollections of her aunt, discusses family history, and provides updates on her life and work.


Born Harry Ray Porter before changing his name, Harrison Paul Porter, Sr. (1887-1955), was Katherine Anne’s older brother. He and his wife Connie had four children: Dorothy Rae Porter Parrish (1918-1997), Constance Elita “Patsy/Pat” Porter McClughan (1925-1996), Charles Boone Porter (1933-), and Katherine Anne’s beloved nephew, Paul Porter, Jr.

In the only surviving letter to her brother, written in 1932, Katherine Anne describes her life in Paris and her marriage to Eugene Pressly.


Paul Porter, Sr., brother of Katherine Anne Porter, and his wife Constance Eve Ingalls Porter, at the time of the marriage of their daughter Constance Elita, who was known as Pat, Houston, Texas, July 1942. Back inscription: “When Patricia was married.” Katherine Anne Porter Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.



Leo Porter (1887-1970), a first cousin of Katherine Anne, was the son of her father’s brother Alpha Porter. When Leo wrote her after the success of Ship of Fools, Katherine Anne responded to inquire about his life and to discuss their shared family history.


Cora Addison Posey (1869-1963) was an Indian Creek friend of Katherine Anne’s mother, Mary Alice Jones Porter. Katherine Anne writes “Miss Cora” about memories of her from childhood, about the family letters that Cora returned to Katherine Anne and her siblings, and about her work.


Sallie Crawford Willson (1889-1978) was the daughter of Loula Andrews Crawford, who was an Indian Creek friend and music student of Porter's mother. Katherine Anne responded to a letter from her in 1965 to describe her life and her family members.