SKU: A01706 Category:


Description: This small archive consists of four letters, three of which are typed letters signed and one an autograph letter signed.

Three letters are addressed to writer and publisher Henry Hart (all signed “Waldo”) and one to the Comrades of the Executive Committee of the League of American Writers (signed in full). Waldo Frank’s letters to Hart are intimate and of a confidential nature. In his characteristic manner, he conveys his annoyances and frustrations about his literary life, money matters, and his cultural “ambassadorial” roles. In the letter to the League of Writers, of which Hart is a member, he strongly advocates for the writerly role of the League, which he thinks is well-advised to not “fritter away its energies,” with protest and agitation. “…I had a long talk with Earl Browder yesterday about this, and he is in entire agreement”.

In the handwritten letter, Frank grumbles about certain literary demands: “Dear Henry, A short time ago, “FIGHT” asked me to do an article on (Leonard) Bourne. I answered that I had already written several brief things on him, and that to do something more substantive now would require research thing [?]  at present I have no time for. I’m afraid this objection still stands. Several weeks ago, Leonard Ehilis [?] of the Edit. Com. came [to me?] about a magazine & we had a long talk. I told him that I would be willing in answer to his request to write a message for the magazine:- until I outline what I feel are the cardinal [?] ways. – until such a Quarter [?] I should function. I’ll do that; I am [?] told -Time when it must be ready. Glad to hear you are getting onto your new book, Good luck! When the slush melts away off the Reservoir [?], I’ll give you a ring, some sunny afternoon, to ask you to go round with me.

In a second letter, an annoyed Frank apologizes to Hart for Miss Lopez’s indiscretion for involving Hart as a “go-between in this Brazilian matter.” He states that he has no intimation of the arrests of the so-called “communists” in Brazil, adding that once he had more information directly from Miss Lopez, he would “as often in such cases, lend [his] name to whatever message or messages the NCDPP considers advisable [sic].”  In a postscript, he adds, “ If the victims are writers, it might be well to send a cable to Alfonso Reyes (among others): . . . if an appeal is made in the name of freedom of speech, etc., [Reyes] might be asked to intervene. . .”

A third intimate letter is written to Hart, soon after Frank gets off the phone with him. Rather uncomfortable in explaining his actions to Hart directly, he writes an explanation about why he does not split the “remboursement” he received from Paris with Mike. Adds, “I have very serious money troubles and am forced, with my family responsibilities, to repress many of  my natural impulses of sharing and spending. . . This is a confidential letter, between friends. . . “ .

In the fourth letter dated May 4, 1935, he advises the Executive Committee of the League of Writers on the kinds of activity the League should undertake and not encroach on the work already done by other organizations, such as the NCDPP and ILD. He suggests that they “should be careful not to fritter away its energies on the innumerable issues and causes that arise from day to day. . . [and] confine itself to work carefully conceived beforehand, works for which it is peculiarly fitted. . . be constructive, rather than that of protest and agitation. . . the League’s function should be to see to it that the strike is competently written up, nationally publicised [sic] by good writing, rather than merely join in the chorus of protest-telegrams or to do picketing . . .”  He conveys Earl Browder’s –the Communist Party Leader–suggestions that they appoint a Speaker’s Bureau that “would help propagandise [sic] constructively what [they] stand for . . .”

The first three letters are written on  8 ½” x 5 ½” sheets of stationery imprinted “ Frank Waldo”. The last on an 11” x 8 ½” sheet of paper. Item #A01706

Waldo Frank (1889-1967) was a novelist, much favored in the Latin American literary world, and “caustic” social critic who wrote extensively for The New Yorker and The New Republic in the 1920s and 1930s. He was also the founder of the literary magazine, Sur, and the editor of Jean Toomer’s Cane (1923). His good, literary South American relations prompted the U.S. State Department in 1942 to ask him to tour Latin America to try and dissuade them from making Nazi alliances in Germany.

Henry Hart was an American writer (Dr. Barnes of Merion, 1963) and publisher who worked as Publicity Director for Scribner’s Sons, Editor-in-chief of Putnam’s Sons, an Associate Editor of Time and Fortune, the founding member and first editor of Films in Review and a founding member of Equinox Cooperative Press. He edited the American Writer’s Congress (1935) and was responsible for the English-translation publications of Thomas Mann’s works.

Condition: Fold lines, light soil, generally very good condition.