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Love letters to Beverly Bentley
Love letters to Beverly Bentley
Love letters to Beverly Bentley
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PROPERTY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF BEVERLY BENTLEY AND NORMAN MAILER
Love letters to Beverly Bentley

MILES DAVIS, 1959

Details
Love letters to Beverly Bentley
Miles Davis, 1959
DAVIS, Miles (1926-1991). Collection of three autograph letters signed (variously “Lady Bentley’s Lover”, “Your Man”, “Miles Loves Bentley Davis”) to Barbara Bentley, San Francisco & Minneapolis, c. April 1959. – Autograph note to Barbara Bentley, n.p., n.d. [With:] a series of 10 telegrams from Davis to Bentley, New York, 4 April - 30 May 1959.

21 pages total, size ranges from 57 x 90mm to 238 x 150mm (redactions in black felt marker affect several lines of text, light toning in spots).

Miles Davis to his lover Beverly Bentley. An intimate series of letters and telegrams from the jazz great to actress Beverly Bentley (1930-2018), who dated Davis for several years in the late 1950s. Much of the content is quite graphic, to the point that Bentley herself added the redactions of the more salacious lines. Writing in “April next Day after phone call,” Davis recalled “when I talked to you last nite I thought I was going to explode[.] I found out (by myself) that I can’t openly not every [sic] love any body else I can’t stand for you too [sic] be away so far from my body & self & eyes & smile […] If some one gets (fresh) tell them that you are (less see) pregnant […] (save yourself for myself).” In another letter he complains that he is unable to “think, sleep, I play a song for you every night.” When Davis was not lusting from afar, he also provided updates on his shows and other humor. In his “April next Day” letter, Davis notes that “Bird land was crowded success TV success…” Writing from the Hotel Nicollet in Minneapolis, he updates her on his schedule, hoping to effect a liaison: “I go to the Black Hawk, in Frisco San from that is after Sun[day], then 4 days off which we could spend in New York.” Davis also offers some humor, joking about a proposed endorsement for U.S. Steel: “I Had note up here that said that I played US Steel made horn—an agent for US Steel called me & asked if it was true & If not that the idea was good & would I like for them to make [one.] I said who the fucks going to hold it while & play it (smile) can you imagine a dumb cock sucker like that…” Davis’ telegrams, while often short, are in a similar vein as his letters, begging her to return from Malaga, Spain so they can be together again. Provenance: Beverly Bentley – by descent to the consignors.

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Gillian Hawley
Gillian Hawley

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