Feb 26, 2009 - Sale 2171

Sale 2171 - Lot 341

Price Realized: $ 2,880
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
"LADY DAY" (MUSIC.) HOLIDAY, BILLIE. Archive of personal papers and papers related to her estate. An archive consisting of almost 300 pages of letters, documents, correspondence and notes, some to her, including some from her last husband, Louis McKay. Size and condition vary. should be seen. Vp, 1950s

Additional Details

From the personal files of her last husband, Louis McKay, whom she married in 1952. McKay was a known "Black Mafia" enforcer and music writer. The archive includes letters from her agent advising her about contracts, lists of songs from her recording sessions, a photo portrait, financial statements, receipts, depositions, legal documents and in a grim irony, the overdue bill for services while in hospital during her last days, May 31-July 17, 1959. Billie Holiday (1915-1959), nicknamed "Lady Day" was born Eleanora Fagan in Philadelphia to a 19 year old domestic worker, and Clarence Holiday, a seventeen year old guitarist who would later play in Fletcher Henderson''s orchestra. "Billie," as she was called, had a hard life from the beginning to the end. Even her brief stardom, was marred by confrontations with the police. "From the time of her first arrest in 1947 until her death in 1959, Holiday would be harassed and haunted by law enforcement for possession and use of narcotics . . . in May of 1947 in Philadlephia, in January 1949 in San Francisco, in February 1956 . . . and even as she lay on her deathbed in New York in 1959, a guard was placed at her hospital room." [Farah Jasmine Griffin. African-American National Biography].