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    Rare letters from Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon hit auction block

    9:38 AM, Apr 8, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) -- A treasure trove of rare letters from the likes of Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon is hitting the auction block. The collection also includes a correspondence from former president Dwight Eisenhower to his wife during World War II.

    Monroe, Hemingway, Eisenhower; all of them icons, all of them so exposed, you might think you knew everything about them. Had seen all there was to see until now.

    A collection of more than 200 rare personal letters, documents and photographs released from a private collector will soon to be sold by one of the world's largest auction houses: profiles in history.

    Included is a poignant handwritten letter by Marilyn Monroe to acting coach Lee Strasberg. There is a reference to suicide is there not? Auction director Marsha Malinowski says there is. Monroe's letter reads, "There is only concentration between the actor and suicide. As soon as I walk into a scene I lose my mental relaxation. My will is weak, but I can't stand anything, I think i'm going crazy."

    Malinowski says of Marilyn, "A very troubled soul who was losing her concentration because of her alcohol and barbiturate intake."

    Also revealed, a scathing letter John Lennon wrote to Paul and Linda McCartney just before the Beatles breakup in 1970.

    There is a lot of profanity sort of sprinkled throughout, but the part we can read without offending reads, "DO YOU REALLY THINK MOST OF TODAY'S ART CAME ABOUT BECAUSE OF THE BEATLES? I DON'T BELIEVE YOU'RE THAT INSANE-PAUL- DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? WHEN YOU STOP BELIEVING IT YOU MIGHT WAKE UP!"

    Lennon's letter expected to fetch upwards of $50,000. Monroe's about the same. The collection is not limited to pop culture.

    There's fascinating, never-before-seen political history, too. Malinowski says, "We're looking at a series of letters sent by Dwight David Eisenhower as Supreme Ally Commander to his wife Mamie."

    It gives unprecedented insight into challenges Eisenhower faced fighting Nazi Germany. One line says, "God I hate the Germans. This war is so difficult. It's so hard to win."

    There are also photos, broadcast publically for the first time in the video, that were a gift from Benito Mussolini's staff to Adolf Hitler.

    Go back further in history to 1786, an actual letter from George Washington. Joe Maddalena with Profiles in History says, "He's also talking about perhaps having to hire some 'Negroes' to help with a project and he phrases it very carefully and very politely."

    There's Thomas Edison's first patent application for the lightbulb. Maddalena says, "I mean it just doesn't get better than that."

    It does. There's a letter from a financially strapped Ernest Hemingway writing from Cuba. Maddalena says, "Writing on a real angle, you have to tilt your head and probably it's because Mr. Hemingway was tilting the bottle. And it says 'I don't know what we'll use for money this year. Mangoes, maybe.'"

    Whether it's Mark Twain writing to Bram Stoker, Jack London explaining why he used the name 'Buck' in 'Call of the Wile', it's all here.

    The exhibit is on display starting next week at New York's Douglas Elliman Gallery.

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