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Sale 38 Lot 1358

ERLE STANLEY GARDNER(1889 - 1970) American mystery writer and lawyer, one of the most prolific authors, writing over 80 detective novels featuring the courtroom lawyer Perry Mason. A fascinating grouping of over 250pp. of retained correspondence, carbon copies, original contracts (unsigned as Gardner, as an attorney, refused to sign), and licensing agreements, etc., which make up the balance of material from the papers from Gardner's estate. Although most of the material is not signed, a large percentage of it pertains to his most acclaimed creation Perry Mason, and illustrates the intricate and indeed cut-throat business of book publishing, licensing and royalties. Some items are particularly vitriolic documents from Gardner about his percentages and royalties, and much material is legal paperwork, with interesting content. Of particular interest is a contract between William Morrow & Co. and Gardner, May 16, 1934, whereby Gardner agrees to write four books under a pseudonym to be determined. This restrictive contract prevented Gardner from "...publishing over this pseudonym any mystery novel in book form with any other publisher...". Later that year, on Oct. 30, 1934, more trouble is brewing at Morrow, as is revealed in a letter between two of Gardner's attorneys, in part: "...What I told Thayer [at Morrow] repeatedly, and what apparently he does not understand, is that under the circumstances the executives would be compelled to cancel the contracts unless all of Erle's heirs or interested parties were of full age and of sound mind. Where Thayer refers to 'Erle's executives' he means 'Erle's executors'!...". In a letter from his fellow attorney (Gardner was a trial lawyer), Frank Orr writes: "...Congratulations on the Magby case. You surely pulled that case out of the fire...and the worst of it...I do now believe she will ever realize the close shave she had...". Gardner wrote a fictional piece for Liberty Magazine titled "The Magby Case" in 1937, a case of art imitating life. More interesting items include a letter regarding a contract with Pocket Books paperbacks, in which the correspondent complains "...Thayer raked me over the coals about the Pocket Book contracts...but you know about that. I deserved it, what was done in good faith turned out to be completely wrong...". Much more. Included in this archive are the restrictive Perry Mason contracts with Pocket Book and re-writes letters and summaries concerning the division of income pertaining to the Perry Mason properties. Of singular importance in the assorted ephemera is Gardner and his wife Jean's document reaffirming their marriage vows, in which Gardner signed his name "Erle" six times, having agreed to the various requirements of the vows. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and the lot contains a plethora of intriguing material, well-worthy of further research. Very good condition.
Estimate $ 800-1,200

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