Paul Bowles letter to Ruth Baron Honsberger Poole

Biographical and Historical Notes

Paul Bowles (1910-1999)

The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles was born in New York City on December 30, 1910. In 1938, Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer. Inspired by his wife's success and her dedication to writing, Bowles began his own career as an author, eventually surpassing his already successful reputation as a composer. After the 1940s, he produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works.


Miller, Jeffrey. Paul Bowles: A Descriptive Bibliography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1986.

Sawyer-Laucanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.

Ruth Baron Honsberger Poole

Ruth Baron Honsberger Poole was a friend of Paul Bowles's grandparents. Mrs. Honsberger had a home in Glenmora, as did the Bowles. Mrs. Honsberger provided the financial backing for Paul Bowles's first trip to Europe. In the letter Bowles's thanks her for providing this opportunity.


Derived from Kae MacDermid Andrew, e-mail messages to Rebecca Johnson Melvin, June 1 and June 9, 2010.

Scope and Content Note

While sailing on the S. S. Ryndam, Paul Bowles wrote this thank you letter to Mrs. Ruth Baron Honsberger Poole who provided financial support for this his first trip to Europe.

Written on April 3, 1929, while abroad the passenger ship S. S. Ryndam, Bowles's letter thanked Mrs. Honsberger for her help. He also complimented the "topnotch" accommodations in third tourist passenger, including the food and service. He reported that the ship was almost deserted and in third class only one other passenger spoke English, namely a specialist in potato growing from Iowa. Later in his letter, Bowles expressed an interest in knowing the reaction of his mother to news of his departure.