EXCEPTIONAL 1960 TYPED LETTER ADDRESSED, SIGNED, AND HAND-CORRECTED BY IAN FLEMING TO PLAYBOY EXECUTIVE EDITOR RAY RUSSELL INFORMING HIM OF THE DEMAND FOR PLAYBOY IN ENGLAND, ASKING RUSSELL TO ARRANGE A SUBSCRIPTION FOR FLEMING'S STEPSON, LORD O'NEILL, AND REQUESTING THAT RUSSELL WRITE HIM A NOTE SOON
FLEMING, Ian. Typed letter signed. London, October 19, 1960. Single sheet of letterhead, measuring 5 by 8 inches; p. 1, original typed envelope.
Wonderful 1960 typed signed letter, with a handwritten salutation and autograph corrections, from Ian Fleming to the executive editor of Playboy, Ray Russell, letting him know about the burgeoning popularity of Playboy in England, requesting that he arranging a subscription for Fleming's stepson (the 4th Baron O'Neill), and entreating Russell to send a note, accompanied by the original typed envelope and a Change of Address postcard hand-addressed by Fleming.
The letter, typed on "4 Old Mitre Court, Fleet Street" letterhead and addressed and signed by Fleming in blue ballpoint pen, reads: "19th October, 1960. [autograph] My dear Ray, [end autograph] Your excellent magazine is becoming better and better known in England and I once again urge you to have a representative over here and get into business. The young blades of the town are becoming increasingly Playboy fans and now my stepson, who happens to be called Lord O'Neill because my wife [autograph insertion] ^first married his father, has begged me to subscribed for him. Would you be very kind and pass on this counterfoil to your Subscription Department. I have asked my bank to forward to [crossed out] you [autograph insertion] Playboy 23 dollars, which seems to be the only way we can make dollar payments from here. Sorry to bother you with this small chore, but I don't want it to go astray. It would be nice to have a note from you some time. What is this writing you intend to do, and where are you going to do it? With warmest regards, [signed] Yours ever, Ian Fleming." Russell entertained Fleming during a November 1959 visit to Chicago. The two maintained contact afterward, corresponding about Fleming's short story submissions, British magazine circulation, and American and British publishing companies. In this letter, Fleming entreats Russell to continue their correspondence and shifts to an even warmer tone than he had used in earlier letters. The somewhat confusing family relationships related in the letter can be explained by the turmoil of Fleming's marital life. Fleming was the third husband of Anne Charteris, previously Lady O'Neill and Viscountess Rothermere. The "young blade" in question, elevated to 4th Baron O'Neill after the World War II death of his father, was Lt.-Col. Raymond Arthur Clanaboy O'Neill, a career military officer. With original typed enveloped. Accompanied by a Change of Address postcard hand-addressed by Fleming, with handwritten instructions from Ray Russell to his secretary. Fleming served as the Foreign Manager of the Kemsley newspaper group, parent company of the Sunday Times, between 1945 and 1959. In this capacity, he supervised and facilitated all of the newspaper's foreign correspondents—and occasionally interacted with his stateside counterparts like Ray Russell at Playboy. It was while working this day job that Fleming conceived of James Bond and wrote the first installment of the series, Casino Royale, while on vacation in Jamaica. In 1959, Fleming took a tour of the world's most cosmopolitan urban centers for serial feature in the Sunday Times. Fleming wrote to Ray Russell, the executive editor at Playboy, seeking out the "seamier side" of Chicago and his ensuing discoveries doubtlessly informed his future spy stories. Russell, Fleming's Chicago contact, was a writer of the Gothic tradition and horror sub-genre, in addition to his work at Playboy. Russell's most famous short story, "Sardonicus," was published in Playboy in 1961. This letter is from the estate of Ray Russell.
Original paper fold. Fine condition.