FASCINATING AUTOGRAPH LETTER WRITTEN ENTIRELY BY JACKIE KENNEDY ONASSIS AND SIGNED BY HER TO PARIS ART BOOK PUBLISHER GEORGES HERSCHER EXPLAINING HOW HE MIGHT PROCURE PHOTOS OF A PARTY THROWN BY COLE PORTER BY CONTACTING ITALIAN ACTRESS VALENTINA CORTESE
KENNEDY, Jacqueline. Autograph letter signed. [New York], January 16, 1990. Single sheet of white unlined Doubleday stationery, measuring 8-1/2 by 11 inches.
Desirable signed autograph letter written entirely in Jackie Kennedy's hand on her professional Doubleday stationery to art book publisher Georges Herscher suggesting how he might find photos of a Cole Porter party and offering phone numbers for Italian actress Valentina Cortese, who Kennedy's web of famous contacts thought might be helpful.
The letter, dated "Jan 16 1990." and written on a sheet of Doubleday stationery, reads: "Dear M Herscher—Peter Duchin informs me that the way to find out if photos of the Cole Porter party exist is to call the actress Valentina Cortese, who knows someone very old who may have some. Her numbers are in Milan ———- in Venice ———- Her son, Jack Baseheart, will tell Mr Duchin if he finds anything—but I thought it might be quicker if you called too—Good luck. Sincerely Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis." The recipient, Georges Herscher, was an important art book publisher. Though he was the CFO of Hachette in the 1950s, he had more specialized aspirations. In 1971, he founded Editions du Chêne, publishing many groundbreaking works thereafter, generally in limited runs of 300-5000, including books devoted to André Kertész, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Atget, Robert Doisneau, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Edouard Boubat, Diane Arbus, and Rem Koolhaas (including his first work). In 1980, he founded his own eponymous publishing concern, which he also ran. He produced fine art books until 1987. Peter Duchin, mentioned in the letter, was an American pianist, bandleader, and Vice-Chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts. Valentina Cortese, the suggested contact, is an Italian actress, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1975 for her performance in François Truffaut's Day for Night. She had a son (mentioned in the letter) with Richard Basehart, her co-star in The House on Telegraph Hill. Jack[ie] Baseheart, the son, was also an actor before his untimely death of a rare paralyzing brain disease.