Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 403

Price Realized: $ 281
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 400 - $ 600
(WOMEN.) Pair of photographs and a letter by Mollie Moon. Autograph Letter Signed "Mollie" to "darling baby," 3 pages on 3 sheets, 11 x 8 1/2 inches, photographs each about 10 x 7 inches; minimal wear. [New York], 1945-60

Additional Details

Mollie Moon (1912-1990) was the founder and long-time president of the National Urban League Guild, and a leading New York socialite; her husband was civil rights activist Henry Lee Moon. The letter offers gossip on Harlem society toward the end of World War Two, such as an update on a pioneering African American journalist: "Roi Ottley going to Soviet Russia for C.B.S., says the columnist Dorothy Whyte has been awfully sweet by extending several dinner invitations." She also references her husband's cousin, the author Chester Himes, who came to New York to finish his best-known book "If He Hollers" at her home at 940 St. Nicholas Avenue. "Our crazy cousins were thrown out of their room as the landlady refused to let cousin Chester remain there a day longer, so they're at 940 until Jean locates a suitable room." Himes later based his novel "Pinktoes" on the Moons and their high-flying social circle (see Himes's letter in the book "Dear Chester, Dear John," page 22).
One of the photographs, with Cecil Layne's inked stamp, shows Moon with an unidentified man and Josephine Baker. Other photographs from this session at the Detroit Public Library identify the scene at the Beaux Arts Ball at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York, 12 February 1960. The other photo is a formal portrait of Moon by Carl Van Vechten, 11 December 1956.