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Letters from 1923

A pre-stardom recreated letter to then boyfriend, Nig Stafford, sent from Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, 1923.

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A pre-stardom recreated letter to then boyfriend, Nig Stafford, sent from Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, 1923.

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Letters from 1926

A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated June 14, 1926.

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Letters from 1927

A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated October, 1927.

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Letters from 1928

A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated March, 1928.

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A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated April, 1928.

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A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated April, 1928.

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A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated July, 1928.

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A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated November 22, 1928.

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Letters from 1929

A letter to fan, Dan Mahoney, from New York dated October, 1927.

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1920's Letters Overview

Daniel Mahony was born on August 27, 1889. His last place of residence was Queens, NY. He was in his late 30's when he started corresponding with Joan Crawford. Their correspondences look like they lasted over the course of five to six years. The letters between the two probably ended with the divorce of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Daniel Mahoney died in June of 1969 at the age of 80 years old. Dan was around to see Joan's full career, how interesting it must have been for him to be communicating with her when she was just starting out and then seeing how successful she had become. It would be great if a letter resurfaces, from Joan or to Joan, from this early fan, Dan Mahony.

The earliest letter in this series is from 1926 and already you see Joan's willingness and excitement towards this fans praise and admiration. This man is an older man and is obviously intrigued and attracted to Crawford. You can see how hard Joan is on herself describing two of her early films, "The Boob" and "Paris." Even early on, Joan judged her own acceptance of her films by what her fans thought. She wanted to please everyone but herself, even in the very beginning.

Joan also talks about two relationships over the course of these letters. She talks about breaking off one of her first serious relationships with Michael Cudahy in the fall of 1927 and then in 1928 and 1929 Joan mentions her then husband, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. aka "Dodo." Not only was this man a fan of Joan but also a fan of Fairbanks as well. One can speculate that Dan Mahony stopped corresponding with Joan because he found divorce unacceptable...who knows.

Joan's mysterious date of birth comes into play in a few of the letters. She mentions she is twenty-one years old in 1927, making her birth date 1906. One would think that this would be a definite year of birth for Joan, but you can see in the letters she is overly concerned about her age. Still, the 1906 date is a feasible birth date for Joan.

Joan in her early work was longing for a big hit in 1928 and little did she know her wish was going to be granted. "Dancing Girl," later retiled, "Our Dancing Daughters" is the film that made her a huge star. She mentions a picture "Thirst" that was supposed to be made after "Our Dancing Daughters" but it never materialized.

These early letters are only the beginning of Joan's devotion to her fans. You can see how much she values this fan of hers and gets to know him so personally without ever meeting him. These letters are almost a "high" for Joan. You can really get a sense of Joan's drive and determination in this letters. It will be interesting to read how her tone changes into the next decade of letters to her fans and friends.




If you would like to comment on the above letters from Joan or on my synopsis, please fill out the form below.

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