by Kelley Smoot Garret
This week, as Princess April seeks council from an old owl, we’ll continue our exploration of Letitia’s 1941 journey to see Princess April Morning-Glory brought to print.
Last week, we saw where Letitia’s father, following the advice of United Artist’s entertainment attorney, Dennis O’Brien, engaged James Alexander of the Guaranty Trust Company of New York to hold the original artwork/manuscript of Princess April Morning-Glory in trust, displaying it to any interested publishers in the city. When last seen, the original manuscript was trussed up & sent to New York City in care of Mr. Alexander, who we’ve been informed, “… is a friend of yours, mine, and all your family, and is a neighbor of Arthur Driscoll’s in Scarsdale1.”
Letitia wasted little time in setting up appointments for prospective publishers to view the book, calling on arts patron Huntington Hartford who was also the ex-husband of Mary Lee Epling, her new cousin-in-law, the second Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Quoting from the New York Times obituary for Huntington Hartford:
According to the Gubernick biography, he even floated the idea of his mother’s adopting his first wife, Mary Lee Epling, so that he might keep her as a sister after their divorce in 1939. Instead, Mary Lee made a successful new marriage, with Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Clearly Letitia took some care in documenting her attempts to get Princess April Morning-Glory published, as she records the text of her telegram transmitted to Lincoln Schuster of Simon & Schuster, referred to her by Huntington.
Between these two pieces of correspondence, a picture of the remarkable society in which Letitia was living, is vividly painted: bi-coastal, rich beyond most people’s imagination2, with access to the high-levels of power, whether in arts, legal, or simply society that are generally not available to an everyday Joe, or Jane.
Till next week, dear readers….
1Arthur Driscoll is Dennis O’Brien’s law partner in the firm O’Brien, Driscoll & Raftery.