Mar 21, 2019 - Sale 2502

Sale 2502 - Lot 128

Price Realized: $ 875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 400 - $ 600
WATERS, ETHEL. Two items: Photograph Signed and Inscribed * Lengthy Autograph Letter, unsigned. The photograph, "To Alice with / the same devotion / Hagar has for Lissa / and you have for / Natalie, I have / for you / Ethel Waters," full-length seated portrait of her in costume as Hagar in the play, Mamba's Daughters. Inscribed in the image, center. 9 1/2x7 1/2 inches; minor silvering at edges. The letter, to Natalie Hammond ("Dearest Natalie"), explaining what has brought on her nervous condition, yearning to be free of her obligations to the William Morris Agency, appealing for a loan, and, in a postscript: "[I]f God sees fit to give me a chance before then, that [sic] you won't have to. Oh, Darling, I'll do like wise." 6 pages, 8vo, four pages written on a folded sheet and two on recto and verso of a separate sheet, first page with embossed decorative border; moderate scattered dampstaining (but still legible), horizontal fold. With the original envelope, addressed in her hand. Np, circa 1939; Los Angeles, 4 January 1945

Additional Details

4 January 1939: "I . . . hope . . . you . . . are enjoying the very best that life can offer you, peace, happiness and continued prosperity and not forgotten, the important thing, Good health. . . . [A]t this writing, Darling, I have none of the four things mentioned, which forces me for the first time in my life to appeal to a friend for a favor. . . . I'm on the verge of a nervouse [sic] break down Due to, as the Dr. puts it, a terrible mental burden & strain I'm undergoing . . . . I not only suffer with a peculiar tiredness & have crying spells, I also double up with terrible pains when I get to thinking too hard about my present and future . . . . I'm $5,000 in Debt not counting income Taxes & not $500 to my name. . . . [H]ere are the reasons I'm in this awful fix. . . . I was robbed of everything by the Queer fellow I let stay in my home. . . . Then Tommy Brookins, the fellow you all met, betrayed my confidence and in a different way set me back. Now comes the crisis[:] all I have left is my reputation as an Artist. The last White Theatre I played was in Nov. '43[:] Laugh Time. The last Colored Jan. '44[:] Wash. DC. My last picture . . . was '42. I'm under contract to the Wm Morris, who offer me nothing but 3rd rate nite clubs which after . . . 16 wks nearly ruined all I have worked so hard to establish . . . . I came home broke in July & except two guest spots in Radio a few wks at a white nite club here I've been inactive with a $500 monthly out which includes my own household & Mother, Sister in Phila which must be met . . . . I have 4 thousand Prudence Bonds I bought back in 33. . . . [P]lease Loan me the full amount on those bonds & hold them until I can redeem them . . . . First I intend to pay the office the full amount I owe . . . and from the balance use it . . . to clear up a million and one things that help to cause my upset condition . . . . I'll be free to get in a better connection that handles my type of work as the Wm. Morris specializes only in bands, vaud[e]ville & nite clubs. . . . I know God has not let me down, he just got tired of my foolish doing of casting my pearls before swine. . . . I feel that God is satisfied I've learned a bitter lesson and he also knows I still love & trust him . . . just like I'll still love and cherish your friendship if you can't come to my rescue . . . ."