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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/11/2019

The Howard Hughes Archives of Love Letters To The One Who Got Away!


An incredible rare collection of autograph letters, notes and materials sent by the legendary businessman, American aviator, inventor and tycoon, Howard Hughes (1905-1976). These letters where kept by the silent screen star Billie Dove, who became one of the more popular actresses of the 1920s, appearing in Douglas Fairbanks' smash hit Technicolor film The Black Pirate (1926), as Rodeo West in The Painted Angel (1929), and The American Beauty (1927). The letters where put away for over 60 years, this collection represents the writings of a young Hughes for his love for a young movie star, a legend in her own right. Considered by many to be his one true love, Billie Dove was the proverbial “one that got away.”

Included in the collection are: Ten Autograph Letters, one to five pages each, four of which are signed “Howard,” the remaining, true to his later obsessive desire for anonymity, are signed with some pet name initials; Eleven Autograph Notes, six signed with pet name initials; One Typed Letter signed in type; One unusual Autograph Letter, two pages, with all but one line, “Do you love me?” crossed out; One original typed love poem (certainly unpublished); eleven envelopes, all but two addressed in his hand; five telegrams; one printed Christmas card; several original photographs, 4"x5" to 8"x10"; several pages of notes written in Billie Dove's hand regarding her first meeting with Howard Hughes, etc.

Early in 1929 Howard Hughes met Billie Dove on the Starlight dance floor of the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Hollywood gushed about “love at first sight,” and over the next few years they were one of the most talked about couples in America. Dubbed the “American Beauty” from the title of one of her films, Billie Dove was at her peak in the late 20s ranked with Colleen Moore and Clara Bow as among the most popular actresses in the cinema. Indeed, for at time, she surpassed Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo at the box office. Hughes with the wealth of his inheritance and the profits from the business his father had built, was producing movies independently from the major studios by the late 20s. He put Dove in two of his films: Cock of the Air and The Age for Love. Dove's first marriage in 1923, to film director Irvin Willat, was coming to a close when they first met, as was Hughes' marriage, and he arranged for the two pending divorces to go smoothly by paying off the two parties. He offered to pay Willat $325,000 for an uncontested divorce with Dove. His wife Ella accepted a $1.2 million settlement for theirs. Though they were now free to marry one another, the marriage never took place, for reasons that remain not altogether known. It seems certain that Hughes' philandering and his fits of jealousy doomed the relationship.

It does seem clear, by her having kept these letters so securely hidden for these many years, that Billie Dove kept the memory of Howard Hughes close to her heart. As for Hughes, it was said by more than one of his later paramours that, much to their consternation, he spoke regularly of Billie Dove, his first and perhaps only soulmate, throughout the many years following their relationship. Autograph letters of Hughes are exceedingly rare, and this group, was secreted away by Billie Dove, for her entire life.

Rare Howard Hughes Love Letter ArchiveRare Howard Hughes Love Letter ArchiveRare Howard Hughes Love Letter ArchiveRare Howard Hughes Love Letter Archive
Rare Howard Hughes Love Letter ArchiveRare Howard Hughes Love Letter ArchiveRare Howard Hughes Love Letter Archive
Rare Howard Hughes Love Letter Archive
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Thursday, April 11, 2019.

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