Lot #263
Marilyn Monroe

Exceptionally rare, biography-featured handwritten letter in which an 18-year-old Norma Jeane thanks her sister following their first reunion since childhood
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Description

Exceptionally rare, biography-featured handwritten letter in which an 18-year-old Norma Jeane thanks her sister following their first reunion since childhood

One-of-a-kind ALS signed “Norma Jeane,” on a 5.5 x 3.5 Chas. Levy picture postcard of Chicago trains, no date, but postmarked October 28, 1944. Postcard to her half-sister Berniece Baker Miracle. In full: “I just can’t tell you both how I enjoyed meeting you. I want to thank you for everything, for I had a wonderful time.” Under her signature Marilyn adds a brief postscript which reads, “P.S. Berniece, I will write to you soon. Give Mona Rae my love.” Monroe has filled out the address panel as well to “Mr. and Mrs. Paris Miracle, 3654 Cicotte, Detroit 10, Mich.” In fine condition, with a couple slight rusty paperclip marks to edges. Provenance: Sotheby’s 2001.

Towards the end of October 1944, Norma Jeane had become increasingly lonely with first husband Jim Dougherty’s constant departures with the Merchant Marines and decided to embark on a railroad trip. First, she visited her half-sister Berniece and her family in Detroit—an important event—and the first time since childhood she had the chance to see her. As quoted in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Berniece recalled their initial meeting: “Norma Jeane had written to tell me what kind of outfit she’d be wearing and what color it would be…I wondered which one of us would recognize her first…well there was no chance of missing her…all of a sudden there was this tall gorgeous girl…so pretty and fresh.”

The sisters truly connected and had a wonderful time together, touching upon their rocky family history and mutual mother, the mentally troubled Gladys Baker. Afterwards, Norma Jeane moved on to Chicago, as evidenced by the colorful picture side of this postcard, to see her previous caretaker and beloved mother figure Grace Goddard. It was from there that she took the time to mail this note in eager thanks for her sister’s hospitality.

This supremely scarce ALS—the first Norma Jeane letter we’ve ever offered—is written in her unique childlike scrawl, mirroring her youthful, wholesome life before her transition to Marilyn Monroe. A few weeks later she would step in front of her first camera, resulting in her breakthrough appearance in Yank magazine. This exact letter is featured in renowned biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Hollywood Auction
  • Dates: #422 - Ended January 23, 2014





This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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