Lot 251: DOS PASSOS, JOHN. Archive of 12 letters, each Signed, "Dos," to writer and publisher Monroe Stearns, several concerning The Great Days
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: DOS PASSOS, JOHN. Archive of 12 letters, each Signed, "Dos," to writer and publisher Monroe Stearns, several concerning The Great Days and other projects, including 7 Autograph Letters, 3 Typed Letters, and Two Autograph Postcards. Together 15 pages, 4to or 12mo or 8vo; generally good condition. Vp, 1954-62
5 July 1954, ALS: ". . . I'm glad to know that you are still struggling with your tough problem of sales resistance. If you can get over the initial hump, which is a tough one, everything will be much easier from then on, because . . . people would continue reading the book if they once got started reading it. In any case, the promotion won't be lost. I'm sure it will help with the next one. It's a pleasure to think that you people are still putting up a fight; publishers tend to let my books go down the drain, without much struggle. The odd thing is that a few people, through the years, continue to read the damn things. . . ."
15 July , ALS: "What is the advance sale if any? . . . 'Courage, monsieur, courage' as [someone] shouted when my father hesitated before throwing a silver dollar into the Blue Grotto. . . ."
21 January 1957, TLS: ". . . If I possibly can I'll . . . talk about your picture book idea. It might be a possibility after I've finished reworking the novel . . . . The name seems now to be The Great Days [published 1958]. I should have it off my desk by now if I hadn't become involved in the motion picture project (of doubtful prognosis) . . . ."
8 November 1957, TLS: "Here's a fairly detailed synopsis of Part I and sketchy outlines of the rest [not present].
"I thought you might start looking around for material before 1776. It's mighty scarce.
"The sections in this case are based on trades or professions. . . . In photographing things like broadaxes or guns . . . everything depends upon how imaginatively it's done. . . .
"We haven't seen a sputnik but the skies celebrated the eve of the 40th anniversary by putting in a red aurora borealis that pleased everybody's pants off."
14 March 1958, ALS: "I'm wondering if . . . you could put me on the track of a piece of narrative . . . in a letter or journal of the time describing a privateering voyage to the West Indies . . . . I had a letter I meant to copy out of the Robert Morris papers, but now I can't for the life of me find it. I have a certain spot where I want to quote something from the period. A merchant's log would do. It just has to be before 1776. . . ."