25 July 2003
MARILYN MONROE CHILDHOOD PHOTOGRAPH
A vintage print sepia photograph depicting a nine year-old Norma Jean beautifully hand-tinted in shades of yellow, light-blue and pink. Stamped text on the verso reads For your convenience, the negative of this/photograph will be kept on file. When/reordering, be sure you mention the letter/and number that appear above./H-31806/The Broadway-Hollywood/Hollywood, Calif. Still in its original metal frame from the era, this exact photograph belonged to Harvey and Elsie Giffen, one set of foster parents who took care of the young Norma Jeane and who took her to the photographer's studio to have this charming portrait taken. Mr. Giffen worked in the film industry and knew Gladys Baker, MM's mother. As a favor to her, he and his wife took care of NJ in 1935 and they even planned to adopt her, but Gladys wouldn't allow it.
3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches
Another copy of this same photograph was sold in the September 12, 2001 Christie's (Los Angeles) auction titled "Fine Manuscripts Including a Collection of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia sold to Benefit Hollygrove Children's Home;" Sale 9814, Lot 75, Page 50 of that catalogue; final price realized was $19,975. That particular photograph belonged to Grace Goddard (Gladys' best friend and sometime guardian to NJ) so it makes sense that the Giffens would have given her one of these portraits. This current copy being sold was also gifted by the Giffens, but much later. In the 1980s, they gave it to their neighbor who is now selling it here.
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