2 TLSs, 1 ANS, 4pp, 9 March 1912 - 2 Aug. 1914. To an unidentified gentleman.


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2 typed letters signed (purple text on blue paper, signed in black) and an autograph note signed on mourning paper ("Arthur Pinero"), 4pp, 8vo and 12mo, 115a Harley Street and Stillands, Chiddingfold, Godalming, 9 March and 20 April 1912, and 2 August 1914, with one envelope. All evidently to Edwin A. Elsbach Esq., of California, thanking him for his letters, regretting that "I am not in London just now, and cannot, therefore, have the pleasure of seeing you, and writing that he is "greatly obliged" for the information he sent regarding ". . . the formation of the 'Pinero Club' in San Francisco, and I beg that you will convey to the members of the Club my warm thanks for the honour they have done me. Whatever may be said of the title you have bestowed upon it, there can be no question . . . of the usefulness of the aims and objects of your Association. . . . I am sending with this [no longer present] . . . a privately printed copy of a lecture delivered by me a few years ago upon Robert Louis Stevenson as a dramatist. . . . Although this lecture is on the shelves of several of the public libraries in America, I am in a position to assure you that this is the first copy to find its way to San Francisco." Together with an original black-and-white photograph (3 1/2" x 4 1/2", professionally mounted to a photographer's identification sheet) of the author seated at a writing desk, pen in hand, looking out towards the camera. Evidence of prior mounting on verso of two items; blank border of photographer's sheet soiled (not affecting image); in very good condition.

Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934); English playwright. "Pinero's desire to rehabilitate the native drama drew him to more serious social topics, especially the double standard of morality, applied unequally to men and women. His first such 'problem play' was The Profligate (1889), in which a husband suffers the consequences of his licentious actions. In The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893) Pinero focused on 'a woman with a past': the result was a sensational and financial success. The role of Paula Tanqueray established Mrs Patrick Campbell's career, and ensured Pinero's place in theatrical history." [J.P. Wearing, ODNB]

There is little recorded information about Edwin A. Elsbach, save for the survival of a number of letters sent to him by well-known contemporaries, many written about the same time as the present group from Pinero. There exist letters to Elsbach from such celebrated figures as Jane Addams [dated 1 May 1911], Thomas Edison [1 Oct. 1918-8 May 1919], Kipling [3 Dec. 1912], Franklin Roosevelt [25 May 1921], Nikola Tesla [26 Feb. 1912], Elihu Vedder [19 Sept. 1912], Woodrow Wilson [20 March 1911], and others. Elsbach seems to have initiated each correspondence by writing about (perhaps fictional) specifially-tailored proposals or by asking for advice, likely with the ulterior motive of obtaining an autograph. In addition to the "formation of the 'Pinero Club'," mentioned in the present group of letters, Elspach also wrote to George Bernard Shaw, seeking permission to name a debating society after him, a request that received the reply (of 2 July 1912): "How any society consisting of such hopeless idiots could have the audacity to call itself a Bernard Shaw Club baffles my understanding . . . I utterly disown you." We have been unable to find proof that the "Pinero Club" ever existed. (Item ID: 15567)

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