Once again another of Marilyn Monroe’s life pieces is going up for auction. Even though it has been over fifty years since her death, she continues to draw world-wide attention and large dollar amounts from collectors. On December 18, 2012, auction house Profiles in History is offering an extremely poignant, yet everyday, two-page letter signed by Marilyn Monroe. Undated but written c.1954-55 and composed in her own hand on Waldorf-Astoria stationary, it provides an intimate peek into the thoughtfulness and sadness of Hollywood’s most enduring and iconic sex symbol. This personally penned letter is estimated to sell for upwards of $50,000.
In 1954, Marilyn Monroe left Hollywood for New York City to study at The Actors Studio, sub-leasing an apartment at the Waldorf-Astoria for the duration. There she was reintroduced to playwright Arthur Miller, whom she’d originally met in 1950. She and Arthur began dating at this time. Her neighbor in New York, Brooklyn-born playwright, poet, and novelist Norman Rosten, to whom the letter is addressed, was a friend of Miller’s; Rosten and his wife, Hedda, became good friends to Marilyn after Miller introduced them.
During this time, Marilyn was heavy into the use of alcohol and prescription drugs because of her struggle with chronic depression.
It reads in full:
Dear Norman, It feels a little funny to be writing the name Norman since my own name is Norma and it feels like I’m writing my own name almost, However— First, thanks for letting Sam[photographer and MM confidant Sam Shaw] and me visit you and Hedda last Saturday. It was nice. I enjoyed meeting your wife – she seemed so warm to me. Thanks the most for your book of poetry—with which I spent all Sunday morning in bed with. It touched me – I use to think if I had ever had a child I would have wanted only a son, but after reading – Songs for Patricia [Simon and Schuster, 1951] – I know I would have loved a little girl just as much but maybe the former feeling was only Freudian for something…anyway Frued [sic] I use to write poetry sometimes but usually I was very depressed at those times and the few (about two) people said that it depressed them, in fact one cried but it was an old friend I’d known for years. So anyway thanks. And my best to Hedda & Patricia and you—
Monroe’s mention in the letter of her desire to bear a child was a tragically unfulfilled dream. After her marriage to Miller in 1956 she suffered a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy followed shortly thereafter. After these two events, in 1957, her use of drugs and alcohol accelerated.