Tag Archives: Douglas Fairbanks Jr

Page 43 Plate VII – Prince Chivalry

by Kelley Smoot Garrett
Hollywood, California

Who was Letitia Fairbanks’ inspiration for the character of Prince Chivalry? A look at her uncle & cousin’s films provides some clues. Continue reading

The word: soldiers

Page 42 – from the wicked King’s belt

by Kelley Smoot Garrett
Hollywood, California

When I look at this page, I’m always reminded of Letitia’s love of a man in uniform!  Continue reading

Douglas Fairbanks and John Barrymore, date unkown, approx. 1933

Page 38 – Perhaps the Prince will rescue you

by Kelley Smoot Garrett
Hollywood, California

Again the Hollywood influences which surrounded Letitia begin to show through with her use of John Barrymore to depict the Lonely Princess’ wicked uncle, The King. Continue reading

Receipt from Dawson's Book Shop for shipping "Princess April Morning-Glory" to New York City

Page 23 – Please wake up wise old owl

by Kelley Smoot Garret
Austin, Texas

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. Continue reading

May 9, 1941 Letter from Dennis OBrien to Robert Fairbanks concerning Dennis opinion on the profitability of publishing Letitia Fairbanks' "Princess April Morning-Glory"

Page 20 – So Princess April Morning-Glory dried her eyes

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, TX

This week we’re going to let Letitia’s lovely artwork speak for itself, while we delve into a bit of the back-story of Princess April Morning-Glory, exploring the behind-the-scenes correspondence between Letitia and others from the year of its initial copyright, 1941. Continue reading

Plate I: Title page: How did Letitia come to choose the name “Princess April Morning-Glory”?

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

How did Letitia come to choose the name “Princess April Morning-Glory”?

This is a two-part answer, partially based on stories Letitia told me, and equally based on explorations (aided by my husband, Danny Garrett, and with very capable research assistance from Roanna Gillespie of WOW Sounds) into movies and films of the day, coupled with correspondence from the 1940s between

1933 movie Morning Glory staring Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Katharine Hepburn

One-sheet from the 1933 movie, “Morning Glory,” starring Katharine Hepburn and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. From left to right, Adolphe Menjou, Katharine Hepburn, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Letitia, her father, Robert Fairbanks, and various potential publishers of “Princess April Morning-Glory.”

The first half of the answer is that the name “April” came from Letitia’s cocker spaniel that she had from approximately 1932 to April’s passing in about early 1945. Letitia always adored her pets, and always had at least one dog, sometimes more, all through-out her life. April was her first pet, as an adult, and was very near and dear to her heart, and she would tell me stories of how April went everywhere with her, always riding shotgun in the car. Favorite spots for April to romp included sojourns in the mountains above Provo, Utah, where Letitia would go for picnics with her cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents, where she lived after painting “Princess April Morning-Glory,” attending Brigham Young University and studying biology. We’ll be seeing more of April – the cocker spaniel – as our story unfolds during the coming year.

The second half of the answer comes from a movie her cousin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., starred in, opposite the debuting Katharine Hepburn, in 1933’s “Morning-Glory.” The role launched Hepburn’s career, propelling her to win her first of ultimately four Oscars received during her life – all four wins as Best Actress. Her first Oscar for “Morning Glory” would have been just given six short years after Douglas Jr.’s father, Douglas Fairbanks, and his wife, Mary Pickford, along with a coterie of Hollywood figures, had established the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Like Letitia’s favorite April, her cousin Douglas Fairbanks Jr., plays an important role later in our story.  That both “inspirations” – her beloved cousin, and her equally beloved cocker spaniel — are built into the very name of our story, underlines their significance in Letitia’s life.

And I guess it doesn’t need an explanation as to how the monarchical honorific “Princess” came to be applied to the title character of Letitia’s book. After all, she was a Fairbanks, living in Hollywood, in the 1930s… 🙂