• [Women Writers] 19th Century Author Faith Baldwin Writes Of Margaret Mitchell, Jean Harlow's Death, Provides Help On Writing Career, Solace To Bereaved Mother

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    FAITH BALDWIN (October 1, 1893 – March 18, 1978) was an American author of romance and fiction, often concentrating on women characters juggling career and family. The New York Times wrote that her books had “never a pretense at literary significance” and were popular because they “enabled lonely working people, young and old, to identify with her glamorous and wealthy characters.”

    Baldwin’s writing career began in earnest when her first novel, Mavis of Green Hill, was published. Six years later, she sold her first serial to Good Housekeeping. Eventually, she was able to command upwards of $55,000 for serialization rights to her novels. In 1935, she was described as the newest of the highly paid women romance writers by Time magazine. Her popularity was at its peak in the 1930s and in 1936, she earned more than $300,000.  In total, Baldwin wrote 85 books, including 60 novels and countless short stories and magazine articles. In 1951, she hosted a weekly television program called “Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre.”

    Offering several autograph letters signed in which she speaks of Margaret Mitchell’s success as a writer, Jean Harlow’s death, provides comforting words to a woman who has lost her young son and instructions on how to build a writing career.  She also expresses her feelings that erratic climates are not caused by God but by nature.

    *3 pp, 5 x 8, May 20 (n.y., but c. 1940) on Fable Farm [her estate] stationary, to Mrs. Cohen with fine content on how to become a writer.  “I get a great many letters like yours...and they are very hard to answer...The desire to write is not enough. A man could not become a doctor by just wishing that he were one. Now and then someone springs into the limelight overnight but it does not happen often. Margaret Mitchell [author of Gone with the Wind] has made the most astounding new success of all time but she was a newspaper woman for ten years so she has a writing background.

    “Many self-educated people do write well and successfully...But they have had to learn. They have taken courses and read books and made contacts with people. An essential is of course a good grammatic foundation.

    “In your library, you will find books on grammar and also on the technique of writing. Your librarian would be glad to help you and will recommend books to you.

    “Many people take courses in writing by mail or at the nearest university and find they are greatly helped. But I think you would fare better...if you grounded yourself in the simple basic rules of English composition...

    “Writing needs first of all real and inborn talent and then of course application. There is no royal road and the path’s full of obstacles and disappointments.

    “If I were you I would consult the librarian...and see if you cannot borrow the proper books. Then later I would join a class, by mail, or at night school or at your nearest YWCA.  And perhaps that would lead you to find some little group of women interested in the same thing, with whom you could meet and exchange ideas and experiences.

    “I am so sorry for your loss and know how you must feel as I have had a great deal of sorrow in my life, also. Grieve for your boy – that is, for yourself – but not really for him. For you must try to feel that he has escaped much of unhappiness which life can bring and that he is forever young. I know this is hard and a very poor consolation.”

    *4 pp, 5 ¾ x 7 ½ , on her personal letterhead from Ogdensburg, New York, June 9, 1937, with cover, to Mrs. H. Cohen.  “...No you don’t need money to help others. Friendship and sympathy are worth more than money. You are deeply needed at home. But your sympathies can [spread] out too...

    “I don’t know about death. I’m afraid of it...But I do believe that either you are forever at peace or that you go on in a world which gives you opportunity to live more fully and happily. Either way is good. If there is no actual afterlife, the worn body relives [the] grass and flowers and trees. It does so anyway even if the spirit goes on.

    “God did not do this to you, my friend. I do not believe in a...God with power to cause illness, sorrow, death, pestilence. Natural catastrophes are caused by nature. Floods by soil erosion, swamp drainage and diseases are caused by germs: by bodily poor resistance – But there is a larger plan. I believe in good, which is God and in that plan nothing is wasted. Your boy enriched the ground he lies in. I am sure...he has gone on to a fuller destiny...

    “I am saddened by the illness of a close friend so the death of Jean Harlow of whom I was very fond. [Harlow died on June 7, 1939, two days before this letter was written.]...”

    *2 pp, 4 ¾ x 7 ¾,  on beautiful handmade stationary, January 4, 1941, to Mrs. Werner, “A thousand thanks for your friendly letter. I wrote the fifth of the Reno Stories last week so will now embark on the last...Will later write a...novel for Cosmopolitan.

    “It is kind of you to let me know. I like to hear from my readers (if any)...With good wishes for the New Year...”

    *One page, 6 x 7, Conway Barker Autographs, June 1, 1944, TLS to Baldwin with her response at the bottom.  “You will find enclosed the Baldwin and Crooks items ordered by you on May 30. You may either send the remittance in coin or check...”

    Baldwin responds, “Hate drawing checks under $1 -- & am short of stamps. So, I don’t buy autographs, but do like the sound of a ‘letter’ of mine...F.B.”

    *Christmas card with a short friendly message regarding advertising. “...Thank God as I can imagine the picture... Faith”

    In excellent condition with deep insight into how this prolific and early writer thought.

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