- US TxAM-C C000012-S4
- 1949-1967; Undated
Part of Alex Haley Collection
1/28: Three Photos - "Virginia Hannon," "George with Wynelle" and unlabeled photo of George Haley and Bill Clinton
-HANNON, Virginia. Black and white photograph. Measuring 3 1⁄2" x 5". Hannon in a uniform (Red Cross?) with pencil notation on the rear "Virginia Hanon."
-HALEY, George. Color photograph. Measuring 5 1⁄4" x 4". Pencil notation on rear: "George with Wynelle."
-HALEY, George and Bill Clinton. Color photograph. Measuring 7" x 5". George with Bill Clinton.
1/29: Letter with envelope, 4 pages, signed "Palmer," January 18, 1949
-A playful letter that begins with Haley recounting a dinner at Sweetie's restaurant while sitting next to an odd French couple, then it switches to thoughts of Virginia's intention of being a social worker, and his view of his brother George: "He is, of course, a wonderful fellow of sterling character, loyalty and any number of other nice things. But, objectively, I can't quite follow his train of thought and action on a number of things." He also touches on his aspiring writing career: "Yeah, I'm trying pretty hard and have thus far had some minor successes. One thing is for sure; I'm getting some wonderful breaks."
1/30: Letter with envelope, 6 pages signed "Palmer," February 5, 1949
-Haley boasts about writing this letter instead of an article for the Coast Guard Magazine which is already a month late, citing his habit of "never writing anything that I know I have to until it is the very last moment." He offers a few flirtatious rejoinders to Virginia's comment about his daydreaming about sports while in class at Alcorn where she taught French: "I assured myself that they [her breasts] were not as you say, spinsterly. And believe me, love, I was not, when you observed me, thinking about any damned touchdowns." Also some thoughts on writing: "I'm essentially lazy, but I love to write once I get started ... figure to try my hand at a book in maybe another year now and will count on you to buy one copy to at least salvage that much of the publisher's gamble."
1/31: Letter with envelope, 6 pages signed "Alex," October 1949
-Pleasantries about a trip to Chicago, seeing his youngest brother Julius for the first time in several years, "there is a boy for you! Already, he is rugged a-plenty, to the point of forcing this old hulk to observe with what I imagine was ill-concealed admiration," and a night out with his father who lectured him on spending too much money, quoting his father: "Now Palmer, I know you are doing well and all that but, Palmer, let me give you the benefit of Dad's long experience. You don't have to go to places like that to eat. I am sure that there are other places you can get a meal for that much, not that that sandwich wasn't good or that I didn't appreciate it, but money is hard to get, so. Why when Dad was your age, back down in Savannah on the river, he used to have a good time for a whole week on less than that, and furthermore..."
1/32: Letter with envelope, 2 pages, signed "Alex," September 9, 1950
-Haley's apologies about not writing sooner gives updates on his brother George's travels, Julius's deployment in Korea, and his father's recent divorce and renewed bachelorhood, as well as a joke about a Catholic nun.
1/33: Letter with envelope, 4 pages, signed "Alex," November 28, 1953
-A letter was written while stuck in a U. S. Public Health Service Home on Staten Island following an operation for a pilonidal cyst: "I never had so much time on end to write in my life. I have to stand up to type, to be sure, but - boy, am I turning out the words! Things I've wanted to work on for ages." Most of the letters concern George, his past relationships, and his recent engagement. Haley uses the occasion to ruminate on the institution of marriage in general and his own, which was at the time failing: "Mine's up and down. So's damn near everybody's I know. I have told myself at times if I'd stayed single until now, I'd play it real clever - and in the same flash of thought, I know how good would be the chances I'd be [the] essence of misery. Again, who the hell knows? Who's got the answer, the key?"
1/34: Letter with envelope, 4 pages, signed "Palmer," February 1954
-Haley describes his need for absolute quiet to write properly: "I simply cannot write in the company; cannot disassociate myself into the vacuum I need and produce best in"; talks about a fancy party he was invited to and the uncomfortable environment it created: "these people, many of them, weren't out to have fun, Virginia - a lot came to be seen; you could see the strain in their faces, and a lot more on pretty faces in many cases, that wasn't pretty"; and his recent success at selling his first article to Reader's Digest: "The prime accomplishment to date, a milestone in my life, I guess, was the sale two weeks ago, of 'The Harlem that Nobody Knows,' a 4,000-word piece, to Reader's Digest.... As a result, I, last week, got taken in the stable of Ruth Aley, probably one of the top 5 literary agents in the country. I am working like a bastard, to put it bluntly, to justify this break. What I have to be is a reporter, interpret or just tell what I see, magazine-style. What I am trying to do, right now, is making $5,000 a year at part-time writing before I 'retire' - from CG [Coast Gauard] '59 - and with luck and health, I think I will. Then I will elect whatever the future shall be."
1/35: Letter with envelope 1 page, signed "Alex," February 1967
-A secretarial letter asking friends, both white and black, about their first memories from childhood concerning race for an article he is preparing, with a holograph note at the bottom apologizing about the form letter and mentioning a recent trip to Paris: "I sure wish I'd paid more attention to you teaching French." It is accompanied by an article he wrote for the Rome Sentinel about a literary tour of Ireland and Rome, which also has a holograph note of pleasantries and final comment about currently working on a script for a Tony Curtis film.