Hundreds of historical documents, including personal letters written by Maryiln Monroe, Mata Hari, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Adams, will be on display at Douglas Elliman’s Madison Avenue Gallery in New York City from May 3 through May 7.
The exhibit serves as a preview to the second part of online auction that will be held on May 30. The first part of the auction was held in December and featured letters composed by Vincent van Gogh and Thomas Jefferson, which sold for $336,000 and $300,000, respectively.
The handwritten letters touch upon everything from romantic affairs to industry gossip, even slavery. One note written by Monroe to her mentor, Lee Strasberg is riddled with her rambling suicidal thoughts.
“My will is weak but I can’t stand anything. I sound crazy but I think I’m going crazy,” she wrote on Hotel Bel-Air letterhead stationery. “It’s just that I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I’m trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I’m not existing in the human race at all.”
But not all the letters are so wrought with emotion. In one, Jack London contemplates what to name his dog, and in another, Fitzgerald insists that child actress Shirley Temple isn’t really a brat.