Description

    A Very Early Cormac McCarthy Typed Letter Signed Using His Birth Name "Charlie", Before He Changed it to Cormac

    Cormac McCarthy. Typed Letter Signed, "Charlie," one page, n. d., likely 1968, plain paper watermarked "Hammermill Bond", 8.5 x 11 inches, no envelope, to Bill Kidwell. In this letter, McCarthy thanks Kidwell for a pitcher the latter had recently sent the former. He then writes, "Enclosed is the book and I hope you like it. Tell us is [sic] you do. If you don't, dont tell anybody." Here, McCarthy is either referring to The Orchard Keeper, published three years earlier, or The Outer Dark, which was published in the Fall of 1968.

    This letter pre-dates the next lot in this auction, dated November 1968, in which McCarthy thanks Kidwell for sending the watercolor that he was "looking forward to" in this letter. This letter includes one correction in McCarthy's hand and is signed "Charlie." McCarthy was born Charles Joseph McCarthy but later changed his first name to Cormac to honor his father. As such, letters signed "Charlie" are extremely rare. One horizontal mailing fold. Bump to top right corner. Faint, small area of browning to verso. Otherwise, fine.

    Bill Kidwell met Cormac McCarthy in 1963 in Knoxville while on vacation from Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank. They next met in Atlanta in 1964 at a mutual friend's residence. In 1969, the two men lived next door to each other in Rockford, TN, and in 1970 they lived near each other in Louisville. Between 1969 and 1973, Kidwell and McCarthy were in touch frequently, and in 1972 they collaborated on two mosaic sidewalks in downtown Maryville, TN, which Kidwell designed and McCarthy engineered. The two men did all the labor for the HUD project. Kidwell moved to Williamson County near Nashville to a community named Fernvale in 1973 and began building custom homes from recycled materials, mostly timber framed buildings. MCarthy called one day in 1978 and asked to come stay with Kidwell. Kidwell gave McCarthy a job and an old Dodge pickup to drive. At this time, McCarthy built some additions and one beautiful chimney of limestone and white mortar for a client, work which Mr. Kidwell found impeccable. Also at this time, McCarthy worked with men who would go on to inspire the characters in his work, The Stonemason. They all worked together on a large addition to house a duck decoy collection for a client in Nashville. McCarthy designed the room as well as supervised its construction. McCarthy left Nashville in 1979 for Tucson, Arizona and then to El Paso, Texas, where he lived on Coffin Avenue, an appropriate street name for the writing of Blood Meridian.

    In a personal letter to Heritage explaining his friendship with McCarthy, Kidwell wrote: "One of the things he [McCarthy] told me years ago was that when he was in New Orleans writing The Orchard Keeper, he used a wooden crate for a desk and on the crate was the inscription, "World Renowned." He made up his mind that that description would apply to him one day. And it did. I owe him so much. He introduced me to books I would never have read and enlightened me in so many ways during our times together. He was and still is the most intelligent person I've ever met."


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 776

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