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    Billie Holiday Heartfelt Autographed Letter Signed to Joe Guy in a Framed Display (1947). Written While Both Were Serving Time in Prison. A two-page letter on wide-ruled 8" x 10" (sight) notebook paper, written in pencil, dated July 6, 1947, from the Alderson, West Virginia prison camp, addressed Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to romantic partner and drug dealer, Jazz musician Joe Guy, written while both were serving time in prison for drug possession. It reads, in part: "I have read your letter so many times, I know it by heart. Gee baby, I was sorry to know Jimmy hasn't acted right by you, but don't let it get you down. I wrote Bobby asking him to send you some money and to get in touch with you, he said he did. He also said Bama had gave you some money and got a lawyer for you. Oh honey, I'm so glad. I wish to God I could do anything to help you, but as you know, both my hands are tied. Bobby wrote me a very sweet letter. He says all of 52nd St. is asking about me and how to write to me. Maybe my public won't forget me after all, but a year and a day is a long time...Fred Robbins plays my records every day. baby all this makes me happy, but then it leaves me very sad. All I think about is you, my work, and will I ever get straight and get started again. In a way I'm glad Mama's dead because this would just about killed her. There was a mg that came out called Holiday, my picture was in it. I cut it out to send to you so you don't forget what I look like...Oh Joe sweetheart, you know I love you so. It hurts...I love you love you Will never stop. As ever yours, Billie Holiday." Beautifully matted in black velveteen with a typed transcription behind the displayed letter, the letter's original stamped envelope, and a 3.75" x 5.75" black and white photo of Holiday. Display framed to an overall 32" x 25.5". Letter in Fine condition considering its age, with light toning, smoothed folds, and a few spots of light smudging. The frame exhibits minor scratching. COA from Heritage Auctions.

    In 1947, Billie Holiday was the height of her fame and success. Though gifted with a beautiful voice and beloved by many, she was a troubled soul who struggled with drug addiction. In May of that year, both Billie and her sweetheart, Joe Guy, were arrested on drug charges in New York. Though separated by prison walls and over four hundred miles, the intense love Holiday felt for Guy pours through nearly every word of this letter. By the time Holiday was released from prison in March, 1948, the couple had split, never to reunite. Sadly, both talented individuals would continue to struggle with addiction until their respective passings - Guy in 1962, and Billie Holiday on July 17, 1959. This incredible piece is a candid snapshot of the tumultuous life of one of the most iconic Jazz artists the world has ever known.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    15th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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