Brisbane, Arthur


1932 TLS from Hearst’s “virtual executive director” to Hearst’s personal assistant-secretary after a visit to San Simeon


Autograph ID: 6492
Condition: Very good, heavy horizontal center fold with start carefully repaired, some pencil corrections/additions, few slight wrinkles/smudges/spots
Description: “(1864-1936) One of the best known 20th century American newspaper editors as well as a successful real estate investor. Hired away from Pulitzer by Wm. Randolph Hearst, he became editor of the New York Journal and Hearst’s close friend. In 1897, he became editor of the Evening Journal, flagship of the Hearst chain, and through it gained influence unmatched by any American editor. He remained part of Hearst’s media empire until his death in 1936, noted for his editorial column “Today.” At his death, he was considered the “virtual executive director” of the Hearst news and media empire. With Hearst, he formed Hearst-Brisbane Properties, investing heavily in New York real estate.

TLS, 1-1/2pp signed “ABrisbane” in dark pencil, self-typed on 2 sides of Brisbane’s 11 x 8 1/2 personal letterhead, New York City, December 2 1932, to Colonel Willicombe, Wm. Randolph Hearst’s personal assistant and secretary. Brisbane enjoyed his visit to “the ranch” (as San Simeon’s La Cuesta Encantada was called) and thanks Willicombe for offering to help Brisbane with his typing. Brisbane hopes Hearst will come to NYC and would be glad if Willicombe would let him know if he plans to do so. Brisbane compliments Mr. Packer’s driving (even playing the harmonica with one hand while driving 60mph!) from the ranch to Brisbane’s place at Hodge (California) and on to Barstow where Brisbane took the train. Brisbane prefers “a good driver who is reckless, to a poor driver who is careful” and tells Willicombe that Packer is anxious that Willicombe should have one of his cars. He asks him to ask the housekeeper to look for a small gold penknife with the name “Charles Cary”, a late cousin and one of his best friends, engraved on the handle, left somewhere on the ranch. He closes that if it is not found then “of course it does not greatly matter, for luckily you don’t forget your friends when you lose an inherited penknife.” Number “59” stamped at top left corner of 1st page. JOSEPH WILLICOMBE (1873-1948) Private secretary and chief personal assistant to William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), American publisher and political figure, who built the country’s largest chain of newspapers. He was known as “the Colonel” in recognition of his distinguished military service during WW I.”
Type: Letter

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