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Nine James Cagney Letters to Artist Will Crawford, Totaling 19 Pages, with Original Photo and Drawing
1943 - A collection of Two Autographed Letters Signed and seven Typed Letters Signed from screen legend James Cagney (1899-1986) to his close friend, artist Will Crawford (1869-1944), dating from 1926 to 1943. Also with two Signed letters (one typed and the other in holograph) from the actor's wife, Frances "Billie" Cagney; an original photo of the three of them together; and an envelope addressed and illustrated by Crawford to Cagney. The letters have some toning due to age and a couple of oxidation spots but are in remarkably nice shape; on average they are near fine or better.As newlyweds in the 1920 the Cagneys lived in the Free Acres artist colony in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. There they formed a bond with Crawford, an original Free Acres resident and career artist who illustrated a host of children's books and popular magazines, including Puck, The Century, McClure's, Scribner's, and Redbook. It was a relationship that lasted until Crawford's death in 1944.The letters to Crawford stretch from Cagney's early years as a vaudevillian player to his emergence as one of the biggest stars of the silver screen. They demonstrate Cagney's close friendship with the older artist as evidenced by his financial assistance to Crawford, visits to Crawford from California, and even a special effort to arrange a meeting between Crawford and the noted journalist Lincoln Steffens. The letters reveal Cagney as a man who never forgot his friends or stopped giving to those for whom he cared and who needed it most. A wonderful collection of letters that present a peek into the private life of a true Hollywood legend.James Cagney Letters1. ALS, 4pp., [No place: 1926]. A somewhat glum letter from before he was a star. In it he describes doing some vaudeville to "keep the wolf away," and how he would like to "chuck it all. But it can't be done."2. TLS, 1p., Beverly Hills, California: August 9, 1933. Explains why he hasn't been home to visit, that his latest film shoots for another six weeks, and that he will be in New York this fall but "don't mention that to anybody as I don't want to be bothered with publicity stunts and fan troubles."3. ALS, 6pp., [No place]: November 15, 1933. He describes a visit to see muckraking journalist and communist sympathizer Lincoln Steffens, his plan to get Steffens and Crawford together for dinner as soon as he finishes filming "this next bit of tripe," and a few complaints about getting paid: "these bastards out here who pay out the checks find a way to keep me dangling . They steal my time -- and my life. And what do I get --- a fortune! Isn't it awful!?!?!"4. TLS, 2pp., Beverly Hills, California: June 11, 1935, written on Cagney's stationery. Some comments about doing some amateur wood carving, offering to return some antique guns he purchased from Crawford, and a mention of mutual friends, including blacklisted actor Vic Killain who was also from Free Acres.5. TLS, 2pp., Beverly Hills, California: February 17, 1936, written on Cagney's stationery. A letter concerning some deceitful behavior involving the sale of his house in Free Acres, the profit of which was to be used to help pay some of Crawford's bills.6. TNS, 1p., Beverly Hills, California: September 16, 1941, written on Cagney's stationery. A quick note to say he received Crawford's letter and would get back to him soon.7. TLS, 1p., Beverly Hills, California: August 5, 1942, written on Cagney's stationery. A short letter saying he is glad to hear Crawford is out of the hospital after a fall and that he will be visiting "unless the Government keeps me too occupied." Likely a reference to his USO efforts during WWII.8. TLS, 1p., Beverly Hills, California: December 26, 1942, written on Cagney's stationery and with original mailing envelope. Cagney expressing his happiness at Crawford having a new place to live, some nostalgic reminiscences about watching snow fall at Free Acres, and a few comments about Christmas Day.9. TLS, 1p., Beverly Hills, California: Febru
      [Bookseller: Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc. ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-08-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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