October 2017 Auction Ends Thursday, October 26th, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/26/2017
Lot of 38 letters signed by ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' novelist Harper Lee, many with exceptional content, including Barack Obama's presidency, Eudora Welty's criticism of Lee for only writing one book, defense of ''To Kill a Mockingbird'', Lee's Southern heritage, recollections of her father, Christianity and her apparent atheism, a funny story of Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier & Helen Keller, and even making fun of Hitler. Lot includes 26 autograph letters signed ''Harper'', six autograph letters signed with the initial ''H'', four autograph notes signed ''Harper'', a Christmas card signed ''Harper'', and one autograph note unsigned. Most letters are on her personal stationery and all but one include the original envelope in Lee's hand. Lee writes the letters to her friend Felice Itzkoff of New York, whom Lee affectionately calls ''Clipper'' as in Yankee Clipper. The letters span from December 2005 to May 2010, with unique content excerpted below:

In a lovely letter dated 20 January 2009, the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, Lee writes, ''On this Inauguration Day I count my blessings...I'm also thinking of another friend, Greg Peck, who was a good friend of LBJ. Greg said to him, 'Do you suppose we will live to see a black President?' LBJ said, 'No, but I wish her well'...Harper''. In a letter dated 18 April 2009, Lee writes of her affection for Eudora Welty, even though Welty obliquely criticized her: ''...alas, I never had the privilege of meeting Miss Welty - You know I'm not a 'tuft hunter,' ie, seek out 'names' to meet - it's one of the downers of life that N never got to meet her. She was the only person I ever 'wanted to meet.' I once heard her say something about 'Harper Lee's case' - talking about one-novel writers. I could have told her: as it turned out, I didn't need to write another one - much xxx, H.'' In a letter dated 13 May 2009, Lee recounts a funny story of her friend Vivien Leigh and Leigh's ex-husband Laurence Olivier who inadvertently insulted Helen Keller: ''My Helen Keller story is second-hand, but it comes from good authority. I was acquainted with Vivien Leigh - long divorced from Lord Olivier. Nevertheless her chief topic of conversation was 'Larry.' (She had a mine of good stories.) He was 'on' one night and was considerably annoyed by the 'noise' coming from two people in the audience. 'Somebody making slapping sounds-can't the management put a stop to it?' / 'If you want to put a stop to Helen Keller's enjoyment of your program, have her interpreter be quiet,' he was told. 'It is sometimes rather noisy, when things go as they should.' Of course, Olivier melted, begged Miss Keller's pardon, and gave the rest of his performance in her honor, seemingly unaware of the 'noise.' / Vivien was a character and I loved her. She, after he left her, 'adored Larry,' but I understand was not very nice to him beforehand - it was so like her! Much love, H.'' In a letter dated 14 May 2009 (''I think''), Lee writes of her friend Horton Foote, the Academy Award winning screenwriter for ''To Kill a Mockingbird'', who had just died. She compares Foote to her own father, in part, ''...The service seemed to catch Horton in full. If he was your friend, it meant you had another 'best friend.' I am so proud to say that he was my friend. I loved him with all my heart and shall miss him for as long as I am aware of anything. I never knew anybody like him except for my father, they had many traits in common. He was a great gentleman, and he did look like God! / The Foote children will have a lot to live up to. Their mother was as influential in their growing up as their father...There is so much evil in the world today that I guess people don't recognize plain goodness. I wish 'heaven' were true. Much love, Harper''.

In addition to the letter above questioning Heaven, Lee writes two letters referencing Christianity. The first dated 1 March 2009 reads in part, ''...I have just finished reading The Narnian, a biography of C.S. Lewis, who to my mind, was the greatest Christian apologist since St. Paul, (and whom you probably knew far more about than I do, but you being of the Hebrew persuasion, I inquire...) At any rate, after a life of scholarly solitude in Cambridge, he, in middle age, ups and marries a Jewish divorcee from the Bronx! They lived happily until her untimely death. Lewis wrote, in my opinion, one of the greatest autobiographies - 'Surprised by Joy' (not Joy Davidman, but Wordsworth's). / Oh well, I am crazy - what a weird letter for me to write, so please forgive my looniness...Much love, Harper''. In a Christmas card from 2009, Lee writes, ''Most-loved Clipper: Don't know if you celebrate Christmas, but it makes not a jot of difference to me. I am at heart a heathen. Much love, Harper''.

Lee writes several letters referencing her southern heritage, which she seems proud of, despite her critique of aspects of it in ''To Kill a Mockingbird''. She writes on 7 December 2008, ''Your Christmas present went straight to this old Rebel's heart. Hadn't heard our side's yips in years [likely referring to the Rebel Yell], + I'd almost forgot how they sounded. Of course, they brought back the unpleasantness of Appomatox (sp?) where I surrendered, but old folks forget...(forget? Hell!) / Much love to you from your unreconstructed Harper...I am a fool + also a nut. H.'' On 5 May 2008, Lee writes ''...you may very well have written me of your Alabama connection - please write of it again. Your father in Baldwin County in 1912 is fascinating - I wonder if he remembered the Confederacy's greatest Jew: Judah P. Benjamin, who rendered great service to the cause and was, I think, vice-president of C.S.A. History says he was a great man. (Southern history, that is!)...Harper''. In a letter dated 10 June 2008, Lee writes of her town, ''...As I have advised you, nothing happens here - except the stray murder or two. The most recent was the murder of a dear friend of the lady who works for my sister - her house-keeper - who reported that her friend was shot to pieces by her irate boy-friend. So much for the still, quiet days in the South...Much love, Harper''.

The rest of Harper Lee's letters are as entertaining and amusing as one might expect. A sampling includes: Dated 14 May 2009 (''I guess''), she writes, ''If you keep on sending me material of such lurid content, I shall celebrate you in the streets + offer you up to the Harvest Festival...It's strictly Hebrews 13.8 here - nothing happens on a daily basis, and if I had sense enough to be bored, I'd be long since gone off the deep end. I hope your life buzzes with rewarding activity and that you live it with your affected friends in mind, thumbing your nose at us poor unfortunates. That's what Hitler would have done! But who the hell remembers him? Not the people here who weren't born when he was running things. They've stopped teaching history in the schools here, so poor Hitler is lost to anybody younger than WWII. (If you tell me that you can't remember him, I shall rise against you. He was living proof that the Germans had no sense of humor. Much love, Harper''. In a letter dated 26 June (2009), she writes, ''My dear Friend of the beautiful face and beautiful hand: It is so Hebrews 13.8 here that I nearly go crazy from boredom, but I should not complain because things could be quite different. The truth is: I am crazy anyway. / I'd like to tap your vast store of knowledge to learn where I heard a ditty, the title being the only thing I can remember, 'Come Where the Booze is Cheaper.' Please advise. Love from your addled Harper''. On 21 May 2008, Lee writes, ''...I haven't got bat sense - I blame drugs, but it's probably senility...Everybody here is in dementia of some sort + I am no exception. At least I can remember major events - 9/11, for example, is also Alice's birthday. Ninety-seven + still taking care of baby sister. Much love, H.'' On 15 November 2008, Lee writes, ''You are the cat's (1) meow; (2) whiskers; (3) pajamas. The Itzkoff clipping service is an inspired combination of the sublime, the lurid, the amusing - never boring or dogmatic, always interesting and amusing. In a word, PERFECT...Harper''. Most letters on Lee's personal cardstock, with her embossed initials, measure 5.25'' x 7.5'', enclosed in her custom envelopes. Overall in very good to near fine condition, with legible handwriting. A rare treasure trove by the beloved author.

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38 Letters by Harper Lee With A+ Content -- On Obama's 2009 Inauguration, Lee Recalls a Conversation Between Gregory Peck & LBJ About a Future Black President: ''I wish her well'' Said LBJ
38 Letters by Harper Lee With A+ Content -- On Obama's 2009 Inauguration, Lee Recalls a Conversation Between Gregory Peck & LBJ About a Future Black President: ''I wish her well'' Said LBJ
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Minimum Bid: $10,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $12,500
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, October 26, 2017.
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