"PAUL IS A WONDERFUL TRAVELLER. HE HAS SUCH FUN WITH MY 39 BAGS": AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY COLE PORTER WHILE TRAVELING IN EUROPE, 1955
PORTER, Cole. Autograph letter signed. Bussaco, Portugal: April 17, 1955. One octavo leaf of Palace Hotel stationery (5-1/2 by 8 inches), writing on recto and verso. WITH: GUBERT, José Ensesa. Typed letter signed (to Cole Porter). Barcelona: March 30, 1955. One quarto leaf of stationery (8-1/2 by 11 inches), typing on recto only. $2200.
Autograph letter signed by Cole Porter, praising the lack of rain during his travels, expressing pleasure that the recipient likes her new office and complimenting his travel companion.
"The least imitable songwriter of America's golden years of popular song, and in many ways the least 'American,' Cole Porter… epitomized 'sophistication' during decades when that commodity was in shortest supply" (ANB). Porter's letter, on stationery from the Palace Hotel in Bussaco, Portugal, reads, in full: "Sun., April 17, 55. Dear Mrs. S – up here to see some treasures we missed before we went to Lisbon. Please get book & keep for me, Napoleon III by Albert Guerard, pub. Knopf. Since I hit Milan we have had only one-half day of rain & that was on the day I hit Milan. I can't tell you how happy I am that you like your new office so much. All well – Paul is a wonderful traveller. He has such fun with my 39 bags. Best, C.P." "Paul" is certainly a reference to "Cole's faithful valet, Paul Sylvain. "After a near-fatal riding accident on Long Island in 1937, in which a frightened horse rolled on him and crushed both his legs, the permanently lamed Porter had to be carried virtually everywhere by his valet Paul Sylvain" (The New Republic). Sylvain died in July 1959; "in appreciation of Sylvain's long and zealous service, Cole subsequently set up a $75,000 trust fund in his will to assist Sylvain's two young daughters" (Schwartz, Cole Porter, 264). Accompanied by a typed letter signed by José Ensesa Gubert to Porter, at the bottom of which Porter has written, "Show me this when I return, please." Gubert established the upscale s'Agaró resort on the Costa Brava in Catalonia in the early 1920s; in addition to Porter, it attracted such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Gubert's letter concerns several records of traditional Catalonian melodies (sardanes) he sent the composer. Book title in Porter letter underline in blue pencil. Later marginal annotation, "Cole's hand" with arrow, to Gubert letter.
Old fold lines to both letters. Faint creases, tiny closed tears to edge of Porter letter; old marginal tape residue to Gubert letter. Fine condition and suitable for framing.