View full screen - View 1 of Lot 120. Armstrong, Louis | One of Armstrong's last letters: a warm and intimate letter written to his close friend Pearl Bailey.
120

Armstrong, Louis | One of Armstrong's last letters: a warm and intimate letter written to his close friend Pearl Bailey

Estimate:

15,000 - 20,000 USD

Armstrong, Louis | One of Armstrong's last letters: a warm and intimate letter written to his close friend Pearl Bailey

Armstrong, Louis | One of Armstrong's last letters: a warm and intimate letter written to his close friend Pearl Bailey

Estimate:

15,000 - 20,000 USD

Starting bid:

13,000

USD

(0 bids, reserve not met)

Lot closes:

Lot closes:

5 days, 16 hours

5 days, 16 hours

January 25, 08:58 PM (GMT)

January 25, 08:58 PM (GMT)

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Armstrong, Louis

Autograph letter signed ("Satchmo Louis Armstrong"), to Pearl Bailey ("My Dear Madam Pearl"), his close friend and fellow entertainer, written just five days before his death


8 pages (280 x 217 mm), written recto and verso on four sheets of Armstrong's pictorial "Satchmo" letterhead, Corona, Queens, 1 July 1971, with original autograph envelope signed ("Satchmo") above the printed return address, directed to "Miss Pearl Bailey | Shrine Auditorium | Los Angeles Calif | c/o Hello Dolly Co." and with instruction "please Hold"; envelope worn and torn.


A warm and intimate letter written shortly after Armstrong had been released from the hospital following a heart attack. Full of his trademark enthusiasm, the letter gives little hint that Armstrong would die of another heart attack just five days later. Earlier in 1971, Satchmo had been a guest on the first episode of Bailey’s television variety show, The Pearl Bailey Show; it was one of his last public appearances. Bailey served as one of the honorary pallbearers at Armstrong’s funeral in Flushing Cemetery.


“My My it has been a long time between drinks. I am so happy that I am much stronger—At home getting that good Therapy Treatment Twice a week. Hm! I’ve begun to feel my oats. And I must tell you this—and my wife Lucille can verify this—when I was I the Beth Israel Hospital here in New York—Sick as hell—they kept me down in ‘Intensive Care[’] the whole time that I was in the hospital. And what I want to tell you is—I had several photos of you that you sent to me and I had the Nurses to put your pictures on the Walls of that Room. Wow, what a comfort that was to me. I shall never forget it. … You see? Everybody love’s you. You’re sort of a Medicine to Human Beings.”


Armstrong writes that the worst thing about being in Intensive Care was that “They didn’t have no music at all … which was a Drag.” But once he was moved to a private room “among the VIP patients,” Armstrong began to feel better. “That’s when I realized that I am still alive, and began to live, with a great big room full of Flowers and lots of mail and present[s] from all over the world. Three private nurses around the clock. Three delicious meals every day (Which I ate like a dog). Oh yea! I never did lose my appetite no matter how sick I was.” Not surprisingly, Satchmo continues on the theme of food: “Always loved Jewish food ever since I was a little boy going to School in my home town, New Orleans. My Mother was working for a very lovely Jewish family, and I used to go on her job and she fixed me a lovely Jewish dinner. Motsa Balls & All.” In fact, Armstrong lived with this “lovely Jewish family,” the Karnoffskys, as a boy, and he wore a Star of David throughout his life to honor them.


As he continued to improve, Armstrong got permission from his doctor to continue his routine of having “one Soul Food day once a week” and taking “my Swiss Kriss every night when I turn in.” He claims that in short order he quickly converted the nurses and other patients to Swiss Kriss; “Lucille had to bring Loads down to me and I would Issue them out.”


After Armstrong’s previous hospitalization Lucille surprised him with a Tandberg stereo, but he writes to Bailey that his homecoming gift this time was even better. Lucille “had Bought that big beautiful Lot right next door to our Home. I’ve been trying to buy the Lot for nineteen years.” Lucille also had a patio and wet bar built on the lot, as well as having it landscaped. “When I got home from the Hospital and saw all these ‘goodies[’] going for me—‘Honey—it Hung’ me.”


In closing, Satchmo asks after Bailey’s husband, the drummer Louis Bellson: “How is my little man ‘Belson[’]? Give him a beeg hello for Lucille and I. He live those Drums but beautifully. I have quite a few of your Albums. Lov Em All. Especially the Riske one. Hm. Dem beeg woids are gonna bust my vest yet.” In closing, Armstrong sends his best regards to Cab Calloway and the rest of the touring company of Hello, Dolly! and wishes Bailey happiness “and lots of success always. … Thanks Again for everything. From your Boy Satchmo.”

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.