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Gypsy Rose Lee was an actress, author, playwright and ecdysiast, famous for her burlesque act (she featured the tease in striptease). Gypsy had something about her, an approachable, self-deprecating demeanor aligned with a quiet self-certainty. She was perhaps the most singularly likeable stripper in the world in her time. The musical bearing her name guaranteed her lasting show business fame.
An unusual and interesting small ephemera archive of 8 Gypsy Rose Lee items, only one dated, 1941, specifically, 3 letters; 1 autographed letter signed (ALS), 1 typed letter signed (TLS) and 1 autographed note signed (ANS) ; 3 photographs and 2 B&w printed images.
3 Letters; (1 ALS, 1 TLS and 1 ANS):
• Autograph letter on personal embossed letterhead (signed) “Gypsy Rose Lee”, two pages, folded size 5-3/8 x 6-7/8 inches (conjoining leaves), New York, n.d. but address is 81 Irving Place dating this in the early 1930’s. “Dear Mr. Sobel: Thanks a million for your notice- I’m so happy about everything and you really put a finishing touch on it all. I realized I had two strikes against me when I started- what with my strip teasing career and my lack of real talent- I’m really amazed by it all- Can’t seem to believe it is all true. (what they say about Gyppy). Sincerely yours, Gypsy Rose Lee PS June and Mr Gibbs deny all incidentally, mother was in a dither about the whole thing and made them cross their hearts and etc.”. Bernard Sobel was an ambitious publicist and press agent who worked with Gypsy in the early 1930’s.
• Typed letter (signed) “Gypolo”, one page, 4to, n.d. on personal letterhead. “Dear George: You will kindly move that Spinoza and Plato to hell off the top shelf and make room for some high class literature. It’s costing me dough to raise the reading standards of the Hollywood gentry, but being a belle lettres… I usually wear a rhinestone in mine… I think it’s worth it. Love Gypolo”. Also signed Gypsy Rose Lee under the illustration on the top left. “Gypolo” a cross between a Gypsy and a gigolo, who doesn't wash but frequently has sex with lots of different partners which is her being her.
• Autograph note “Greetings Charles Gypsy Rose Lee”, 4-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches with b/w magazine glamour photo of Gypsy Rose Lee, 4 x 5 inches. From the estate of Hollywood collectors Charles Williamson and Tucker Fleming who were part of an exclusive circle of Hollywood A-listers of their generation and who were neighbours and close friends with director George Cukor. Provenance provided by dealer item purchased from.
3 Photographs:• Photograph (signed) “To Freddie from one of your brokenhearted gals! Poor Little Gypper”. On the back in pencil “Gypsy Rose Lee to Fred de Cordova. 13-1/4 x 10-1/2 inches sepia-toned photograph with “Bruno of Hollywood” N.Y. City imprint. You right corner was bent and lower right corner was bumped, otherwise, very good condition. Fred de Cordova was an American director and stage manager. “Bruno of Hollywood” Anthony J. Bruno, photographer of famous stars. In 1934 he opened a studio in Carnegie Hall. Among his subjects were Gypsy Rose Lee. “Gypper” Short for Gypsy (from prejudiced popular perceptions of the Romani people as thieves and petty swindlers)
• Photograph (signed) “Greetings Louise Hovick”, 6-1/2 x 5 inches sepia-toned print with 20th century imprint. Louise Hovick was the real name of Gypsy Rose Lee. Maurice Seymour, Chicago photographer to the celebrities, Maurice Seymour launched his own studio in 1929 atop the St. Clair Hotel.
• Photograph (signed) “Greetings Gypsy Rose Lee”, coloured photograph with “Maurice Seymour, Chicago” imprint, 8 x 10 inches, handwritten dated March 31, 1941
2 printed B&w images;
• 2 undated trimmed printed Gypsy Rose Lee images