Saturday, October 9, 2021

A Great Connection Made

While I was writing Affairs Valentino, I worked with a literary agent in New York. He was an exceptionally influential person in the creation of the book and the development of my research. He called me one day to say he was at a party in Manhattan the previous evening where he told people he was working on a book about Rudolph Valentino. Someone overheard him and gave him a story. The eager contributor was the then owner of the Gotham Book Mart, Andreas Brown.

https://www.avpress.com/news/longtime-owner-of-gotham-book-mart-dies/article_eea94ad6-666c-11ea-92c7-33430725894d.html

Andreas Brown knew Frances Steloff, the iconic owner of the book store,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Steloff

http://cosmotc.blogspot.com/2006/03/frances-steloff-and-gotham-book-mart.html

Steloff was a fascinating woman who knew Rudy and Natacha well and I believe was the source of most of their book collection. In telling me about their friendship, Steloff's friend and successor as owner of the Gotham Book Mart, Andreas Brown made an important contribution to Affairs Valentino. Frances Steloff told him how she helped Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova find quiet time together in her store while they were being stalked by detectives in the winter of 1922-23.

Mr. Brown referred me to the book, Wise Men Fish Here: The Story of Frances Steloff and the Gotham Book Mart by W. G. Rogers, and sent me a letter which I treasure. I am grateful to Andreas Brown for our conversation, for being there at that moment in that party many years ago and for overhearing my agent talking about Affairs Valentino. So what were Rudy and Natacha doing while hidden in those mountains of books? Oh the trolls hopped on this story when Affairs Valentino came out, but I say what prudes! Leave these two lovers alone. 

The Gotham Book Mart is no longer in existence.

I excerpt Affairs Valentino:

Natacha and Rudy's friend, Frances Steloff in the 1970's. She lived to be 101 years old. 

17 comments:

  1. What a great love story. Manhattan bookstores were very romantic at one time. Natacha and Rudy went through so much suffering and intrigue only to eventually part in a sad divorce. Hollywood is love's graveyard. But I never understood why Natacha needed money. I thought she was an heiress. Why didn't her family help her out?

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    1. I do not think Natacha ever needed money. She might have needed cash and there is also the consideration that both Rudy and Natacha spent an enormous amount of money and nearly every day. I think they were both compulsive spenders. I also think for a while she worked at not appearing the "heiress" because she had a bohemian fascination.

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    2. Let's not forget that in the 1920s there were still no credit cards and, if their secret meetings, in the labyrinths of the bookshop, took place at the end of a shopping tour, it is very likely that they were short of cash.
      Valentino also did not run with so much liquid money in his pocket, as both George Ullman and Bob Florey note in their memoirs of Rudolph Valentino.
      I am sure that if Valentino were alive today he would have at least fifty credit cards with, for sure at least some Mastercard World elite.
      His ego needed to have credit, a great credit.

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  2. Frances Steloff sounds like she was an interesting lady.Oh, the people she must have known and the stories she would tell.

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  3. What I wouldn't give for an in depth interview with Ms. Steloff! She sounds like a true friend.

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    1. Apparently there îs a half an hour documentar with Frances Steloff available for purchase on Amazon called "Frances Steloff:Memoirs of a bookseller"done The 70s or 80s. I would love to watch that, I'm sure she hâd a lot of interesting stories to tell, but The price for it is rather steep. Maybe one day it Will be more easily available

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  4. Stories such as this one only infuriate the little Kobold, whose jealousy of the striking Rambova causes him to see green...or, in this case, lavendar. He and his other Munchkins just cannot accept the fact that the Valentinos were married in every sense of the word. This is a charming story, perhaps too endearing for trolls. Schade...

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    1. Incredibly, it was the "little Kobold", who is utterly unable to write anything but death and porn, who slammed me for years about including the story because he felt it was inappropriate and pornographic. Somewhat the height of hypocrisy he would act so offended. Schade indeed.

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    2. So true. Never read anything pornographic in your books. Looks like he has a new name Mobile.

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    3. Excuse my spelling " kobold".

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    4. The gruesome Kobold continues to post through at least three personas on the My Obsession with a Deceased Actor Who Wouldn’t Give Me the Time of Day is My Life forum. Doesn’t the holier than thou t-shirted mistress of ceremonies know that she and her five followers are consorting with this swine?

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    5. She probably does know it is, but I guess it is what Evelyn wrote he could be threatening them. Awful man , this DB.

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    6. I think she does and all of her cronies do too.

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    7. Will Bret's German forum persona please translate for us Bret's German rants on other platforms? Danke.

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  5. Green eyed monster is right. The person in question have no sources or evidence to support their claim.All they can do is insult people and make more enemies.

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  6. Ms Steloff's bookshop reminds me of another important historical bookshop, still existing, the “Shakespeare and Company” owned by a woman, Ms Sylvia Beach, who founded it in Paris in 1919.
    "Shakespeare and Company", at 35 Rue da la Boucherie, is one of my fixed destinations when I go to Paris.

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    1. Sounds like an interesting place to go. Perhaps another post soon ?

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