N.p., March 4, 1928. Typed letter signed by Herbert Asbury, on his personal coated stationery, with his New York City address.
A letter with significant content, including detailed mention of the author's non-fiction book, "The Gangs of New York," as well as his newspaper work and injuries sustained during the war. The letter reads: “I am sorry not to have answered your letter before now, but I have been very sick for a long time, and even now am preparing to return to the hospital for another operation. I’ve had just one after another since the war, when I was unfortunate enough to command some machine guns along the Vesle, or Weasel, as the A.E.F. called it. (Paragraph) I am glad you liked my pieces on the gangs. The article the August Mercury was a chapter from my new book, The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld, which Knopf will publish March 30. If you run onto a copy of it your heart will be rejoiced about the Draft Riots, for I devote two chapters to them, in great and gory detail. It is probably the most thorough account of them ever written; certainly the longest. And what a lot of butchering it was. More than 2,000 were killed, and some 8,000 wounded, several hundred houses burned, eighteen Negroes hanged, and some fifteen regiments called into action before the trouble ended. (Paragraph) I am still on the Herald Tribune, but my books and magazine stuff have been going so well that I may soon quit and freelance, though that is a tough life for one who writes the sort of stuff I do. McIntosh is also with us, and doing well. (Paragraph) When I get stronger I hope to be able to write you in more detail. I may be in France next winter, late. Sincerely, Herbert Asbury.”
"The Gangs of New York" became the factual basis for Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis.
One leaf, folded twice, typed on the recto only, 10.5 x 7.5 inches. Matching envelope addressed (in type) to Mr. Paul Rockwell in Paris, with Asbury’s address (written by hand in fountain pen) at the top left corner. Letter Near Fine, envelope Very Good, flap intact but jagged from a rough opening. A superb document regarding an important scholar of early New York City history, a contributor to Mencken’s American Mercury, and about whom little biographical information is known.