Winter Premier Auction 2021

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/3/2021

Besides being the father of the Great American Songbook and his place as one of the world’s most beloved and influential songwriters, Irving Berlin was most proud of his serving in the US Army during World War I. Though Berlin was already a famous song writer and thirty years of age, he entered military service with his characteristic enthusiasm. As an immigrant who fled the anti-Semitism of Tsarist Russia, Berlin felt proud to help defend the country that gave him and his family a new life. Private Berlin’s military service remained dear to his heart for the remainder of his life, and he was never too busy to correspond with a former comrade. This wonderful letter is a perfect example. Type written on a sheet of Berlin’s personal stationary and addressed to Alex Miller, the composer replies to an earlier letter reminiscing about the two men’s time in the army during World War I. Miller, it seems, was a bunk mate of Berlin’s at Camp Upton in New York. This was a very pivotal period in Irving Berlin’s career because it was while at Camp Upton that he composed the smash hit “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” which became the unofficial song of the war’s civilian soldier, and the ever popular “God Bless America” that is still sung today. These tunes were part of a larger musical revue called “Yip Yip Yaphank” which Berlin wrote to help raise money for the building of recreational facilities at Camp Upton. Besides raising the needed money, “Yip Yip Yaphank” played Broadway throughout 1918 and grossed almost one and a half million dollars in today’s currency. Berlin’s letter to Miller reflects on how “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” was written about their fellow bunkmate Howard Friend and that the songwriter sang many of the songs that would go into “Yip Yip Yaphank” to the soldiers toiling on kitchen cleanup duty, the “k.p’s.” The letter is dated December 19th, 1963 and is signed in jaunty blue pen by the legendary songwriter. The page has two horizontal folds with slight tearing
from mailing, rounded corners and overall toning. A tremendous piece of correspondence from America’s greatest songwriter discussing the tunes that became cornerstones of the Great American Songbook.

Estimate: $7,500 - $10,000+

This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
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Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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