A Marilyn Monroe letter from her mother, Gladys Baker

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Lot 310
A Marilyn Monroe letter from her mother, Gladys Baker

US$ 2,000 - 3,000
£ 1,500 - 2,300
A Marilyn Monroe letter from her mother, Gladys Baker
Autograph Letter Signed ("Mother"), 3 pp, 12mo, Portland, n.d. [1945], to Norma Jeane Dougherty. Monroe's mother, Gladys, had a history of mental illness which prevented her from taking care of Norma Jeane when she was a child. For very brief periods they would live together but most of Norma Jeane's childhood was spent in foster homes or in an orphanage. In 1945, Gladys went to Portland to attempt to live on her own with the help of her aunt, Dora. She had been living in institutions for 9 years, and the hope was that she would be able to care for herself. She writes of her transition: "I've only been here a few days [and] I am just getting acclimated to it. I'm taking it easy for a while." Gladys' letter to Norma Jeane is surprisingly lucid and sweet. She is happy that Norma Jeane is married and hopes to meet her husband, James Dougherty (who was in the Merchant Marine at the time). She writes, "Seems only yesterday that you were just a wee tott [sic] & now you are married. I know you are very happy & perhaps some time soon I'll see you." Norma Jeane was elated and eventually went to visit her with photographer Andre de Dienes. After leaving Portland, Gladys returned to Los Angeles and lived with Norma Jeane briefly but was ultimately forced to return to institutional life. This letter, however, is heartwrenching proof that Gladys, during her periods of wellness, had Norma Jeane's best interests at heart.
5.5 x 7 in.
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A Marilyn Monroe letter from her mother, Gladys Baker
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