09/13/2011 06:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

Orson Welles' High School Teacher Wrote A Letter To Cornell Calling Him A 'Genius'

It's one thing to call Orson Welles a genius after the fact, but Welles' high school teacher Roger Hill was sensitive enough to spot the signs early on. Letters of Note recently acquired an image from Cornell College of a letter Hill wrote to a Cornell professor about Welles' "genius." Hill hoped to secure admission for Welles, who he believed to be destined for great things. Cornell bit, but Welles turned the admission -- and more famously, one from Harvard -- down, opting to go abroad instead. Of course, he succeeded anyway. Hill meanwhile sounds like one of those teachers we make movies about.

Read the full text at Letters of Note, and an excerpt below:

You may have heard of him. Nearly everyone connected with the arts, the opera, or the stage in Chicago, knows him and they have all done their best to spoil him, but I think he is very sound and very sensible, although he is definitely talented to the point of genius...
I am enclosing my most recent letter from him and also a copy of our school catalog. Every word of this book was either written or edited by him. The only "cheating" I did in this was to make him cut out some of his best bits of writing as they were too completely mature.
We can very honestly give him credit for three years high school work, work done in the class room with the proper number of hours. Of course, actually his education in all cultural subjects is now beyond that of the ordinary college graduate. I rather doubt if he could pass a college board examination in Algebra, although he passed this course with us. He is rather weak in mathematics.

(via Letters of Note)

WATCH Smartie Orson being a little bit of a smart-ass about "War of the Worlds":