Fascinating and Uncommon Autograph Letter about Tax Issues Signed on “Black Tuesday,” the Day the 1929 Stock Market Crashed

Signed by Cole Porter

Item: 19790
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PORTER, COLE. (1891-1964). American composer and lyricist of such hits as Night and Day, Anything Goes andI love Paris. ALS. (“Cole”). 2pp. 8vo. New York City, October 29, [1929]. Written in pencil on Ritz-Carlton Hotel stationery to his cousin and business manager, Albert “Harvey” Cole.

“Will you please get in touch with Curtis Brown 6 Henrietta St. Covent Garden London, who were my agents when I did Wake Up and Dream in London and try to settle this English tax question. Naturally, I don’t want to pay it. Best regards to you both.”

Cole Porter

Sheet music for Porter’s song “What is This Thing Called Love”

A sophisticated and superb craftsman, Porter enjoyed a successful career in both theater and film. Known as one of America’s leading songwriters, his elegant fusion of “graceful melody and rhyming ingenuity with a mixture of sexual innuendoes, offbeat humor, colloquialisms, and topicality” won him the esteem of admirers the world over, (DAB). In March 1929, the musical revue Wake Up and Dream, for which Porter wrote the lyrics, opened in London. The most popular number of the show was “What Is This Thing Called Love?” which became a popular jazz standard. Despite a mediocre critical reception, the show ran for 263 performances at the London Pavilion before being reprised on Broadway in late December, 1929 – where it ran for only 136 performances due to the stock market crash, which had started several days earlier on “Black Thursday.” Perhaps Porter’s own financial losses precipitated his desire to get out of paying out any additional funds!

Curtis Brown is a London literary and talent agency, founded in 1899 specializing in representing talent on both sides of the Atlantic. Among its esteemed list of clients were Ian Fleming, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, A.A. Milne, Samuel Beckett, Isaiah Berlin, Vita Sackville-West, Winston Churchill, and D.H. Lawrence. Accompanied by a letter to Harvey Cole from Harms itemizing payments to Porter in the spring of 1929. Normal folding, otherwise in very fine condition. Rare in ALS!

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