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    Description

    [Anne Frank]. Otto Frank Archive. A small group of typed letters, including at least 15 typed letters signed by Otto Frank, regarding the Portuguese publication of The Diary of Anne Frank with Livros do Brazil, Ltd. The letters date from January 29, 1959 to November 3, 1979, ranging from 5.25" x 7" to 8.25" x 10.75" in size. Otto Frank's letters are typed in English, and most are accompanied by Portuguese translations made by the publisher. Being that Frank was not a native English speaker some of the letters have slight grammatical errors and/or awkward phrasings.

    Otto Heinrich Frank (1889-1980) was the father of Anne Frank and the only survivor of his family and the group who hid in the secret annex. He and his family were arrested and sent to Auschwitz in September 1944. After the camp was liberated, Otto was given Anne's writings by Miep Gies, who had been the woman who sheltered the families in the annex. He had initially transcribed Anne's diaries in order to give to family members, but was eventually persuaded to seek publication. The final manuscript was a combination of two versions of the diaries Anne wrote, with edits that Otto made to remove some of the more personal entries. The book was first published in Dutch on June 25, 1947 as The Secret Annex: Diary Letters from June 14, 1942 to August 1, 1944.

    In early January 1958, the Portuguese publishing firm of Livros do Brazil, Ltd. wrote to notify him of their first printing (3,000 copies) of The Diary of Anne Frank. The book's popularity was such that it had already been published in German and French in 1950, and then in English (for both the US and UK markets) in 1952. The publishers had been eager to acquire the publication and to work closely with Otto Frank during the process. About six months after its first printing, Frank wrote back to the publishers, remarking, "I trust that the sale of the book will continue, as the play, based on it, will be on the stage, as far as I am informed, and early next year the film will be out" [July 15, 1958, one page, 5.25" x 7"]. The book's success had led to an adapted stage play, which premiered at Cort Theater in New York City on October 5, 1955. The play, while not a strict reproduction of the book, won both the Pulitzer for Theater and the Tony Award. In turn, Hollywood set out to produce a film version, which premiered on March 18, 1959 and would go on to win three Oscars.

    Livros do Brazil, Ltd. continued their correspondence with Frank, as they attempted to publish similar and complementary works about Anne Frank and the war experiences. On May 1, 1959, they wrote to him, one page, 6.25" x 8.25", in part:

    "As you know it were us who published in Portugal the beautiful Diary of your daughter and we have already bought also the excelent [sic] book by Ernest [sic] Schnabel which we are going to published within a short time and it is being translated by the same lady who translated the Diary, Mrs. Ilse Losa. However, we have just been informed was published in Italy, by Cappelli Editora, and of course we are willing to publish it. Will you be so kind as to inform us whether the author's rights are being handled by you, in order to enable us to enter into negotiation? In case it is you who control these rights, i.e., if you can deal the rights directly with us without intermediaries, so much the better." The book they refer to is The Footsteps of Anne Frank, which was published in 1958. The book had been produced with the help of Otto Frank and details a portrait of the young author. Ernst Schnabel interviewed over 40 people, who had known and had been mentioned in the diary, in an attempt to assuage the demand of the public to know more about Anne. Otto Frank also believed the book would help prove the diary's authenticity.

    Otto Frank would later go on to publish some of the short tales and writings of Anne that had not been included in the original diary. It appears that the Portuguese publishing company was also interested in publishing these stories; Otto wrote to them on November 16, 1959 about how he preferred the stories be printed. He wrote, in part:

    "To-day I am sending you a new American edition of the Diary containing also all the other writings of Anne, so that you can make your choice. I would appreciate very much if you would return the book later, when it is not needed any more, as I have very few copies. So if you are decided to publish these tales, kindly let me know and inform Lawrence Smith as my agent...Though they printed the tales etc. together with the Diary in one volume in USA. I am not in favour of doing so. France had done it too, but published now a separate volume. So did Norway and Holland and Italy will do it too." [One page, 5.75" x 8.25"]

    In May 1960, The Anne Frank House was opened, and Otto Frank was closely involved in the establishment. He was a strong advocate for education, and sought to share Anne's story with other children. His May 12, 1960 letter reveals that he donated and bought copies for the public, stating, "I need at least 12 copies of every foreign edition as I give most of them to libraries and the publishers let me have 6 free copies whereas I pay the others at wholesale price" [One page, 5.75" x 8.25"]. He was also keen to work with the Livros do Brazil, Ltd. to promote and display the children's artwork that had been produced in reaction to Anne's diary. He wrote on June 13, 1961, one page, 5.75" x 8.25", in part:

    "I want to tell you how extremely pleased I was when I looked into the book and saw all the wonderful children's paintings. I think you did a marvelous work and I want to thank you for the love and care with which you prepared this edition. You showed an initiative which I regard as an example for others how individual planning can create something really exceptional. As you write more than 3000 paintings were sent in for the competition and it must have been very difficult to pick out the best ones. Indeed those which have been chosen are all very original and lovely. I regret very much that I cannot read and understand your language so as to appreciate the translation of Margarida Losa. I shall try to get the introduction translated. As to the exhibition, I wonder how it is organized as it must be difficult to expose so many paintings. Would it be possible to make a choice of the best ones, as I would like to propose to have this exposition in Amsterdam in the Anne Frank House? I do not know if you are informed that the house in which Anne wrote her 'Diary' has been preserved and that an International Youth Center has been established there."

    Soon after, he wrote again about the exhibition at the Anne Frank House, in part: "I am just back from Amsterdam, where I discussed my plan for an exposition of the children paintings in the Anne Frank House. The direction agreed gladly to it and so I kindly ask you to let me know how many paintings you exposed in your building, as I imagine that you made a choice already. The people in Amsterdam proposed to have the exposition there in fall, in case you do not need the paintings at this time in your country. Of course I would be interested to hear if your exposition has been visited by many people and if you could let me know something about the propaganda you made for it. Your edition has been admired wherever I showed it" [July 6, 1961, one page, 7" x 8"].

    The Diary of Anne Frank received both critical and popular acclaim, and as of 2015, the book has been translated into over 60 different languages. Both its literary and historical importance cannot be overlooked. As stated by Dutch historian, Jan Romein, when he first encountered the manuscript in 1946, "To me, however, this apparently inconsequential diary by a child... stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence at Nuremberg put together."* This lot, sheds light on Otto Frank's determination and involvement in getting his daughter's experiences and stories into the public eye; a unique piece of history and of literary process.

    Condition: Letters are in very fair condition; some creasing is present at corners, and there are holes and some residue around staples where letters are held together. Some toning and folds on some pages. Hole punches along left vertical margin. Signatures are clear and in blue or black ink.

    Reference: *Jan Romein, Het Parool, April 3, 1946; http://www.annefrank.org/en/Anne-Frank/Publication-of-the-diary/Anne-Franks-diary-is-published/




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
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