Archive of corr. and mss of George Sterling, 23 letters, 18 mss, plus original photos.
Lot 1213
STERLING, GEORGE. 1869-1926.
Sold for US$ 5,400 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
STERLING, GEORGE. 1869-1926.
ARCHIVE OF LETTERS AND MANUSCRIPTS, MANY RELATING TO BOHEMIAN GROVE.
1. 22 Autograph Letters Signed (“George” and “Greek”), 67 pp recto and verso, 4to and 8vo (some conjoining leaves), Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, August 12, 1905 to October 23, 1926, to Richard Partington, many on Bohemian Club stationery, some leaves creased and toned, smudging throughout.
2. 17 Typed Manuscripts Signed (“George Sterling”), 18 pp, 4to, n.p., n.d., all mailed to Partington with correspondence, light creasing and smudging, a few edges rough.
3. 25 silver print photographs, various sizes (2 ½ by 3 ½ to 6 ½ by 8 ½ inches), featuring images of Sterling and Partington at the Bohemian Grove, Partington at his studio, Ambrose Bierce before his fire, etc.

George Sterling was an east coast native who moved to San Francisco in 1890 and became one of the leading figures in the Bohemian literary circles of Northern California. Mentored by Ambrose Bierce and a close friend of Jack London, Sterling wrote poetry that was hailed in his day as visionary. Bierce’s influence allowed Sterling to gain entrance to the exclusive Bohemian Club of San Francisco, and he was generally an active participant in the annual “High Jinks” every summer at the club’s Russian River site, writing and directing a number of the plays featured at these events.
Sterling writes these letters and sends drafts of his poems to California artist Richard L. Partington, son of J.H.E. Partington and fellow Bohemian Club member. The two most likely met in Carmel in the artist colony inadvertently set up by Sterling when he moved from San Francisco in 1905. Their correspondence covers decades, and is generally warm and informative. Sterling sends drafts of his latest works, gives news of Jack London, and, beginning in 1919, complains bitterly about Prohibition (or, conversely, vows to have given up drink). In one of his last letters, he writes Partington from Los Angeles where he has been hired to write titles for the Douglas Fairbanks film, The Thief of Bagdad: “It has been a pleasure to do the title-work. I’m not paid very highly, as it is my first attempt, but $25 a day isn’t bad for a starving poet. I’ve been here nearly two weeks … I’ve a beautiful room for an office, next to Fairbanks, here on ‘the lot,’ and have luncheon here at his private restaurant every day. His wife is screening ‘Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall’ here, and is usually at the table. She’s a tiny thing, with remarkable eyes whose color I can’t make out.”
See illustration.
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