Two autograph letters signed and a Christmas card from Cornell Woolrich

N.p. N.p., 1966. Two autograph letters signed from Cornell Woolrich to Don Yates, on stationery from the Sheraton-Russell Hotel in New York City, where Woolrich lived at the end of his life, each with the original mailing envelope postmarked April 30 and November 27, 1966 respectively. Also included is a Christmas card inscribed by Woolrich to Yates. Content from these letters is quoted in Francis M. Nevins' biography of Woolrich.

Yates, a professor of Latin American literature at Michigan State University, first met Woolrich in 1961 after the Mystery Writers of America annual dinner. The two remained in contact for the rest of Woolrich's life, with Yates becoming, according to Nevins, "one of the closest approximations of friendship Woolrich ever experienced."

Yates would visit the reclusive writer whenever he was in New York, and often extend invitations for Woolrich to visit him in Michigan. Although Woolrich never did visit, the letters offered here are evidence of what Nevins calls Woolrich's "feeble efffort[s] to break out of the box he'd locked himself in," with the first letter requesting a bus schedule and asking "Should I give up my pad here, and then just keep going after my stop-over in Lansing?" and the second asking for "the name of the best hotel in Lansing" as a return favor (along with $25.00) for giving Yates permission to use the 1939 short story "Men Must Die" / "Guillotine" in an anthology of crime fiction translated into Spanish that Yates was preparing.

Woolrich's ambivalent feelings toward Yates, and personal relationships in general, can be summed up in the Christmas card, sent in late December 1966, reading "Hello Pal. / Sometimes I miss you. Sometimes I don't. / Cornell."

Letters, envelopes, and card all Near Fine.

Nevins, Francis M. "Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die." New York: The Mysterious Press, 1988, p. 406-407, 421-422.


[Book #143443]

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