Berlin, Irving - Correspondence: 16 Typed Letters SignedEnlarge Image Berlin, Irving - Correspondence: 16 Typed Letters SignedBerlin, Irving - Correspondence: 16 Typed Letters Signed

Berlin, Irving (1888-1989)

Correspondence: 16 Typed Letters Signed

"Irving Berlin" (1), "Irving" (13), "IB" (1), and "Irving" (1, in Mrs. Berlin's hand). To Edward Jablonski. 1961-1980. On personal letterhead. 16 single-page letters. All in very good to excellent condition.
The group of sixteen letters date from 1961-1980 and are all written to the author Edward Jablonski, who wrote a noted biography of Berlin in 1999. The letters are mostly short notes thanking Jablonski for birthday messages and cards, but occasionally reference musical subjects: Frankly and without any phony modesty I think the 'Top Hat' songs were the best I did for Hollywood… and in another letter, What a lucky guy I am. Outside of being the writer of "God Bless America", I am the only songwriter who has had both your daughters present when I sang the song, and, in thanking Jablonski for sending a copy of “I Want To Be In Dixie”, he suggests comparing the lyrics of “Dixie” to those of “Swanee”, and, after being wished that all your Christmases be forever, writes That’s better than having them all white, an obvious reference to his famous 1947 song “White Christmas”.

He occasionally offers an amusing quip, such as when he presents Jablonski with a painting and notes As a painter, I'm still a pretty good songwriter or, concerning his 85th birthday, writes Incidentally, eighty-five is no different from eighty-four, and I’m sure if I’m around at eight-six it will still be the same (Berlin died at 101!).

Included in the correspondence is a photostat of a letter from Berlin to Harold Arlen of which Berlin is obviously proud and thinks Jablonski will be amused by the note and verse:

Dear Harold: When I seriously suggested that you consider doing a one-man show with your wonderful catalogue, your answer was, "I've shot my wad." Following is the verse I wrote about it which you liked and asked me to send you a copy.

"I've Shot My Wad"

A nightingale looked up to God/ And said, "Dear God, I've shot my wad,/ No longer can I do my thing/ Dear God, no longer can I sing"/ And He replied, "Don't be a schmuck,/ No nightingale has had such luck,/ Your songs have built a golden nest/ For Stanley Adams and the rest./ They're praying for the moment when/ You get off your ass and sing again."

Edward Jablonski (1922-2004) was an important writer on American musical theater. Among other books, he authored The Gershwin Years, Harold Arlen: Happy with the Blues, and Irving Berlin: American Troubadour.
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