Lot #706
James Dean Signature

This lot has closed

Estimate: $1000+


Extremely early ink signature, "Jimmie Dean,” on an off-white 6 x 9.5 sheet of notebook paper, the reverse of which features a handwritten work assignment by his 5th grade classmate Eddie Van Ness, who dates his work to December 12, 1941, which places James Dean at the age of 10 when he made this autograph. In fine condition.

After Dean's mother died in 1940, his father, unable to care for the nine-year-old alone, sent him to be raised by his sister and her husband, Ortense and Marcus Winslow, in Fairmount, Indiana. Here Jimmy Dean was overcome by loneliness from the loss of his mother and felt abandoned by his father—a distance that grew when the elder Dean was drafted into the Army Medical Corps at the outset of World War II, during the same period that this schoolwork is from. As time progressed, he began to call the Winslows 'Mom and Dad,' and emulated much of his uncle's style and mannerisms—he began wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans, and slouched a bit when he walked. In 1941, the ten-year-old James Dean performed in his very first play, entitled 'To Them That Sleep in Darkness.'

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #643 - Ended September 14, 2022

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