Lot 2079KATHARINE HEPBURN (1907-2003)
Fine archive of letters and materials sent to her Song of Love piano tutor, piano prodigy Laura Dubman. A large group comprising in short (full description below): Katharine Hepburn's signed 1946 membership card to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; Approximately 45 production photographs from Song of Love, the 1947 film in which Laura Dubman tutored Hepburn on piano; approximately 25 signed letters and notes from Hepburn, 1947-1980s, including letters of some length; personal snapshots from 1959; a prop musical program from Song of Love; a detailed inventory follows. Generally fine condition overall with some usual handling wear, many letters with original covers in Hepburn's hand, extremity wear to the largest photograph.
Laura Dubman Fratti (d. 1992) was a San Francisco born piano prodigy trained by Arthur Rubinstein, friend to violinist Isaac Stern (see other correspondence lot in this catalogue), who performed at Carnegie Hall at age five. In the 1940s she came to tutor at Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and developed a lifelong friendship with Katharine Hepburn after being her piano tutor for Song of Love, 1947, in which Hepburn portrayed Clara Schumann (Dubman's piano playing could also be heard in Love Story, some thirty years later). Laura Dubman married Mario Fratti, Italian playwright and author of the musical Nine (inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2, referenced within this collection). From the 1940s onward, the present archive well-chronicles the relationship between Katharine Hepburn and Laura Dubman Fratti over a 40 year correspondence.
The Katharine Hepburn materials include:
Katharine Hepburn's 1946 membership card to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, signed by Hepburn on the back in pencil; Four small vintage photographs dated 1959 depicting a casual Hepburn, with a fifth of an unidentified man; a March 1947 Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Inter-Office Telephone Directory listing Hepburn's phone extension; a strange 1947 letter addressed to Katharine Hepburn's father from "Argyle-Stuart" professing his love to Katharine; a group of 5 small costume sketches, possibly by or for Hepburn; a 1950-51 printed schedule for As You Like It with annotations, possibly by Hepburn; and various postcards and playbills depicting Hepburn, one signed on the cover.
Song of Love materials include: an early script dated September 1946 for Song of Love under the working title Love Story, signed by Laura Dubman in pencil at the head of the wrapper; a prop musical program used in the film; a color printed Press Preview program for Song of Love and the printed sheet music for As Years Go By, both depicting Hepburn with Paul Henreid on the covers; and a stack of approximately 45 8 x 10 inch vintage film stills and production photographs including a few depicting Hepburn's hair being set, behind the camera with director Clarence Brown and Paul Henreid, and film stills with Paul Walker, Henreid, etc. The photos generally in fine condition.
The correspondence between Hepburn and Laura Dubman includes approximately thirty signed pieces, including about 10 autograph letters signed (some several pages), 3 typed letters signed, 15 autograph notes and Christmas cards, and few signed covers. The correspondence commences in July 1947 from Kansas (likely during the filming of The Sea of Grass) with a letter from Hepburn in which she tells Dubman "how grateful I am for your assistance in my distress-you really saved it being so dreary as to be unendurable" referring to the piano tutelage offered to Hepburn by Dubman during the filming of Song of Love. Hepburn continues "I look back now and it seems kind of fun, I put cigarette sheets in the glasses, dirty all the China, spill things with a sense of reckless wantonness which I never before enjoyed."
Other items include: a 1947 signed note from Irene Selznick; notes from Hepburn's assistant Phyllis Wilbourn (including one on Spencer Tracy's health); a copy of a letter from Hepburn to Frederico Fellini regarding Mario Fratti's script for Nine; a 1961 Christmas greeting from George Cukor; two photographs inscribed by Anthony Harvey, with one showing him with Hepburn on set of Lion in Winter.
A wonderful, insightful and unpublished archive.
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