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Katharine Hepburn

A GREAT CORRESPONDANCE: An intimate relationship documented in a decade plus of letters

"Once a crowd chased me for an autograph. 'Beat it,' I said. 'Go sit on a tack!' 

'We made you,' they said. 'Like hell you did,' I told them.'"

- Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn (May 12, 1907 - June 29, 2003), was the daughter of a wealthy and progressive doctor and a suffragette, both of whom always encouraged her to speak her mind, develop it fully, and exercise her body to its full potential. For many years, Katharine used November 8 - the birthdate of her brother Tom - as her own, a silent nod to her sibling who had committed suicide when she was only 14 years old. After his passing, she became very shy around girls her age and was largely schooled at home. She did attend Bryn Mawr College, and it was here that she decided to become an actress, appearing in many of their productions.

The 'First Lady of Cinema' finally broke into stardom when she took the leading role of the Amazon Princess Antiope in 1932's "A Warrior's Husband." The inevitable offers rolled in and 'The Great Kate' signed with RKO after her first hit picture, "A Bill of Divorcement." However, she would make only five films between 1932 and 1934. Her third, "Morning Glory" (1933), earned her first Academy Award, while her fourth, "Little Women" (1933) was the most successful picture of its day.

In spite of her instant recognition and award-winning performances, Hepburn earned herself another title: 'Box-Office Poison.' Known for her outspoken persona, affinity towards slacks and no makeup, and never posing for pictures or giving interviews, the spirited actress refused to play the 'Hollywood Game.'  

In spite of her rebellious inclinations, Hepburn's rise to critical acclaim was imminent. The 1940's ushered in her return to silver screen dominance with films like "The Philadelphia Story," "Woman of the Year," "The African Queen," "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," "The Lion In Winter" and "On Golden Pond," collecting Oscar nominations one after the other along the way. Katharine would go on to acquire 12 in all and accept the award a total of 4 times - an achievement no other actor has equaled. 

Hepburn's career as Hollywood's leading lady would span over six decades, casting her in a variety of roles in genres ranging from screwball comedy to literary drama to period pieces. Her expansive résumé boasts 44 feature films, 8 television movies and 33 plays.

About Our Collection:

This collection of signed letters and notes is from the legendary actress, Katharine Hepburn, to a recipient identified as Alice Hicks of East Boston, MA. Over the course of hundreds of letters, the candid and lengthy correspondence reflects an intriguing and ever-shifting relationship between the reclusive actress and a seemingly fanatical admirer. Spanning over 12 years, the letters reveal what could be interpreted as a more intimate relationship between the two women; Ms. Hepburn swings from expressing copious gratitude for the endless array of gifts showered upon her by Hicks to very-nearly berating the woman for her over-zealous, emotional and often obsessive letters. 

Another exemplar aspect of this collection are the references to long-time co-star and famed lover, Spencer Tracy; a mention of Amerian Express heiress, Laura Harding, the woman with whom Hepburn was rumored to have engaged in a long-term lesbian affair; some fantastic notes regarding such films as "African Queen" and "Grace Quigley," and direct acknowledgements of her 1991 autobiography, "Me: Stories of My Life."

A truly intriguing collection, JG Autographs Inc. is honored to offer such an intimate and exceptionally rare glimpse into the notoriously private life of America's greatest modern actress.

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