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Archive of an MGM Child Film-Star

Archive of an MGM Child Film-Star by BARTHOLOMEW, Freddie & Millicent - 'Cissie' - Bartholomew (1934)

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Author: BARTHOLOMEW, Freddie & Millicent - 'Cissie' - Bartholomew
Title: Archive of an MGM Child Film-Star
Year: 1934
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: Hollywood & England
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
Price: £12000
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FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW’S HOLLYWOOD ARCHIVE, collected and preserved by Cissie Bartholomew, his aunt, guardian and, after a hard fight, his adoptive parent.

This extensive Hollywood Archive of Diaries, Photographs and Letters of the English-Born Child Film Star Freddie Bartholomew spans the years 1934-1944 and comprises: 19 Postcards and 1 letter from Freddie Bartholomew to English relatives, 1934-38; 8 Postcards jointly written by Freddie and his aunt and adoptive parent Millicent ‘Cissie’ Bartholomew, 1930s; 42 Postcards from Cissie Bartholomew, 1930s. 150 large format photographs of Freddie Bartholomew by MGM photographers, picturing Bartholomew with co-stars such as Greta Garbo and Charles Laughton in roles from David Copperfield , Anna Karenina, Captain Courageous, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Kidnapped and partying with fellow child-stars, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, 1934-1940. Film spin-off edition of David Copperfield with Freddie Bartholomew on the cover, dedicated by him to Bartholomew’s parents. Two volumes of diaries, 1934-1944 written by Cissie Bartholomew. Additionally, dozens of candid family photos, a hoard of congratulatory telegrams from Cole Porter and studio bosses, and an unused notepad of the child-star’s personalised note-paper.

Millicent ‘Cissie’ Bartholomew emigrated with her nine year old nephew to California in 1934 where he won the title role in MGM’s David Copperfield, later acting with Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina and winning particular praise for the film Captain Courageous alongside Spencer Tracy. Bartholomew quickly achieved huge success and a high salary from MGM, revelling in his life as a child star while his aunt enjoyed the reflected glory that allowed her to record her encounters with Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald (then writing for MGM) and how she ‘Saw George Cukor and Paulette Goddard, Edward Roberts and the Chaplin boys.. Tea at Charlie Chaplins saw Mary Pickford. Dinner at Una O’Connor’s….’ After the child star became a gangly youth who enlisted for military service in the 1940s and went on to a career in television production his adoptive mother, Cissie Bartholomew returned to the United Kingdom where she created this collection, adding her diaries and photographs to the postcards and letters already sent home to England during the glory years.

FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW, THE POSTCARDS: 19 postcards and 1 Letter sent between August 29, 1934- May 9, 1938, to his grandparents at Carlton View, Warminster. In a letter from ‘Metro Goldwyn Studios, Culver City’ May 2nd 1935, Freddie reports that ‘I have finished “Anna Karrina” [sic] but I am expecting to have a test for another picture, with Mr Cuckor as the directer [sic]...’ The postcards are a welter of reported activity: ‘Am terribly busy down here in California’ (Sep 1934 - filming David Copperfield) ‘I am going to have riding lessons after the picture is finished’ (Sep 1934) And writing from Culver City, Oct 1934 ‘This is the place where we went for the ext[erior] of the Coperfield [sic] house…’ There are occasional hiccups ‘I have a sprained ankle and am on crutches. It puts your whole body out of order. (Oct 28 1935) However film work had to take priority: ‘Dec 1934, ‘We have not had Xmas yet but, as Mr Micawber was always saying “But I am hourly expecting it to turn up”’

CISSIE AND FREDDIE BARTHOLOMEW JOINT POSTCARDS: 8 cards: ‘Back at the Studios again and Fred was fitted with his costumes for next picture to-day… Freddie has had about 800 fan letters… Evelyn Laye [English actress] came into the studio to-day and watched Freddie “do” a scene…’

CISSIE BARTHOLOMEW’S 42 POSTCARDS TO Mr and Mrs Bartholomew in Warminster, England, September 1934-1938 ’We have been out at a beautiful estate filming the Barkis and Pegotty scene. Freddie having a great time riding in the carrier’s cart and then riding horseback for a treat’, ‘Freddie has a grand time in between the shots riding Basil Rathbone’s horse.’ (Sept 1934) More reports of Freddie’s triumphs - ‘Copperfield broke all records in Cinema history and has been running or will run for five weeks..’ (Feb 1935) ‘Freddie will have a thorough rest basking in the sun and our whereabout will be kept a secret so that we will not be worried by press interviewers or anyone.’ (March 1935)

Two volumes: Volume I January 1, 1935-1939, octavo with broken lock; Volume II, Jan 1st 1940-November 1944. The first volume covers the period of Freddie’s greatest success, summarised in short entries, ‘Working on Captain Courageous’ (21 Jan, 1937) and February 12, 1936, ‘ Preview Charlie Chaplin’s [Modern Times] Spoke to Mr Chaplin…’ March 1935, ‘Freddie went up to George Cukor’s to rehearse. We all went up to see the play “The Saviour’...’ Cissie’s legal battle over her adoption of Freddie is chronicled in detail, so April 1936, ‘I won case for 2nd time. Freddie met his mother, only lawyer present (at Town House 7.30 pm.’ But nothing was allowed to get in the way of work, as on April 25 1936 ‘Spent day in the garden doing scenes with Fredric March & Greta Garbo’ for Anna Karenina. Freddie’s first film, David Copperfield, is charted in particular detail - ‘Micawber scenes with Charles Laughton’ and by November 1934 ‘Copperfield holiday’ though the next day ‘Bottle washing scene.’ When Freddie does succumb to overwork: ‘Fritz Lang sent Just So Stories’ (Lang would direct Freddie in Captain Courageous based on Kipling’s story).

PHOTOGRAPHS Around 150 large format MGM studio photographs, both on and off set, and a further 50 candid and private photographs. The larger images, many annotated to the verso by Cissie Bartholomew, bear the stamps of several MGM photographers and include 6 vintage photos of Freddie Bartholomew with Judy Garland (his collaborator on the 1938 picture, Listen Darling). In one image Freddie is pictured on a diving board with the swimsuited Garland and Betty James kneeling behind him, annotated to verso ‘At the Clarence Brown Party..’. At another MGM party Freddie lounges alongside Judy Garland and Deanne Durban: ‘At Sophie Tuckers at a swimming party. Sophie in the water, Judy [Garland] & Freddie.’ There are three stills from Listen Darling picturing Freddie and Judy Garland. Also Little Lord Fauntleroy, 26 photographs; David Copperfield 38 photographs; further studio photographs of Captain Courageous, Listen Darling (co-starring with Judy Garland), Lloyds of London, Professional Soldier and Kidnapped. 3 stills with Greta Garbo in Anna Karenina.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield: A Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Picture [retold by Eleanor Packer… starring Freddie Bartholomew], 1934, Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin. Inscribed on the front pastedown: ‘To Mother and Father From Fred/ Aug, 25. 1935’

Ephemera includes 20 telegrams from friends and colleagues who include Cole Porter and studio bosses: ‘Warmest congratulations for your finely shaded characterization in Captain Courageous which will win countless new friends… Howard Estabrook.’ ($20,000)
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