I thought maybe someone here could help me with an opinion on this autograph. This book was discovered in an attic of a house that was being emptied due to pending demolition. The person who found it sold it to me as part of a box of books at a flea market around 2005. They did not know the inscription was in this book. The house was in Carrick, PA (near Pittsburgh) and some research I did told me that Lucille Ball's family, who lived in Jamestown, NY, sometimes made the two hour trip to Pittsburgh to visit friends once or twice a year. One account even stated that she would sometimes stay there for several months during summer vacation. This would have been during the 1920's timeframe, when she would have been in her early teens (born 1911). Seeing as the book was published in 1915, this seems to add up.
I've been in touch with her daughter and showed her pictures of the signature, and she replied that while it does have some similarities to her mothers signature, she doesn't have any examples of her early autograph to compare it to.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Wow, doing some more research, I discovered this in a Pittsburgh newspaper from June 5, 1926!
"Lucille R. Ball, Myrtle Rector. Hazel Mitchell and Henrietta Smith are popular members of the younger set who will make the contest go over." (Lucy's middle name was Desiree. But this transcript was done automatically using OCR software, so it could have seen a "D" and thought it was an "R")
I think so too. Many of the letter characteristics are very similar to her adult signature.
I wrote to a person who does autograph authentications and he said that he couldn't do it because there were no examples of her signature at that age for comparison.
I found another mention of the two women in the June 12, 1926 Pittsburgh Courier:
"STANDING Margaret Rickmond, City .. Mary Lucretia Brown, California, Pa.. Lucille K. Ball. City Aileen Brigga, City , Myrtle Rector, City"
Another find (from Wikipedia) showing her fondness for "Western" lifestyles:
She sometimes later claimed that she had been born in Butte, Montana, where her grandparents had lived. A number of magazines reported inaccurately that she had decided that Montana was a more romantic place to be born than New York and repeated a fantasy of a "western childhood". However her father had moved the family to Anaconda for his work, where they lived briefly, among other places.
Another find in Wikipedia - she left her home area to attend school in New York City at age 15, so this inscription is probably before she left, making her age at the time of writing, 13 or 14:
In 1925, Ball, then only 14, started dating Johnny DeVita, a 21-year-old local hoodlum. DeDe was unhappy with the relationship, but unable to influence her daughter to end it. She expected the romance to burn out after a few weeks, but that did not happen. After about a year, DeDe tried to separate them by exploiting Lucille's desire to be in show business. Despite the family's meager finances, she arranged for Lucille to attend the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts, in New York City
Hello, just curious if you are looking to sell. Thanks!
I am. But, that's the reason for seeking authentication. If validated, I'll probably post it on ebay to see what happens.
Breaking my rule of not giving opinions on this site anymore. I do not believe that the signature is of Lucille Ball the actress though I am the first to admit I have not seen her signature as early as this likely is. Lucille Ball (1908-1961) and Myrtle Rector (1909-) both resided in Pittsburgh Ward 18, in the 1920 Census. This Lucille Ball in the 1910 Census of Pittsburgh is shown as "Lucille R. Ball." Lucille R. Ball is listed as "Mulatto" (in another census as "black") and Myrtle Rector also as "Mulatto." Therefore I am sad to say I believe the book in question was from the native of Pennsylvania and not Jamestown, New York.
Excellent observations, Scott! Thanks for adding to the research. I have a feeling you might be onto something there.
You are certainly welcome. Perhaps a relative of one of the two ladies will sometime see this post. I suspect they would be very interested in the book.
Sherlock Holmes got nothing on you! Nice job.
Excellent research, Scott!