ALsS and 1 autograph lettercard, signed, 4 1/2pp, 30 January 1890, 2 November 1906 and 7 December 1906.


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Autograph lettercard signed and an autograph letter signed, 3 1/2pp, oblong 12mo and 8vo, Savage Club, Adelphi Terrace, London, 2 November and 7 December 1906. To Mr. Russell, concerning fiction by Merrick submitted for publication in the American Metropolitan Magazine: "[2 Nov.] Since I replied to your letter, I have heard from Watt that your draft has been received for four of my short stories. Will you do me the favour of letting him have a cheque at once for all of the short stories of mine that you have taken? I hate to have the air of pestering you, but, frankly, I am in more need of the money than you may suppose.'' (with a pencil note on the verso in the publisher's hand [?] -- "2 only used 80.00 / 84.00 / 3 more accepted remit later''); and "[7 Dec.] I have waited before answering your letter in order to obtain a copy of the photograph that you wished for. . . . Whether the copyright extends to the United States, I do not know. Many thanks for the December number of the Metropolitan. . . . I have also to thank you for your cheque to Watt for 'The Call from the Past'." Lettercard marked (over Merrick's handwriting) in red pencil, presumably by the recipient; in very good condition.

Leonard William Merrick (formerly Miller, 1864-1938); English novelist, short story writer and playwright. "His early years are clouded in obscurity, but he seems to have been the only son of William Miller and Esther Davis. His father, a businessman, and his family -- of Jewish origin -- planned his education in private schools, at Heidelberg University, and in law, but Merrick's father lost money in a business venture, and Merrick left his school, Brighton College, early. At the age of eighteen he was sent to South Africa and to the Kimberley goldfield area, where initially he superintended black labourers; later he worked as a magistrate's clerk, finally entering a Kimberley solicitor's office. . . . After his return to London in the 1880s, he changed his name by deed poll to Merrick, and for two years toured England as an actor, playing largely in melodramas. Disillusioned with acting, he then turned to writing short stories for a London paper, Wit and Wisdom. His first novel, Mr Bazalgette's Agent (1888), although critically and commercially unsuccessful, is remarkable for its use of the selective confessional diary form in the voice of what must be the first female detective. A depressed Merrick went to New York to seek his fortune on the stage with a borrowed 50, but while unemployed there he wrote his second novel, Violet Moses (1891), which satirically draws upon the Anglo-Jewish background of the St John's Wood and Maida Vale areas of late Victorian London. He returned to London in 1891 to discover that the novel had achieved limited critical recognition. . . . Between 1891 and 1911, when his last novel, The Position of Peggy Harper, was published, Merrick wrote nine other novels, and many short stories, and he collaborated in the writing of at least ten plays. . . . Merrick's realism, his concern for the outsider, and his originality of plotting ensure him a permanent place in British literary history. . . . " [William Baker, ODNB]

Between 23 March 1906 and 27 November 1907 Merrick published 18 short stories, including "The Call from the Past" (on 25 December 1906), in the Metroploitan Magazine.

(Item ID: 5345)

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