Posted by: Ann Myers | June 15, 2010

Other People’s Letters, Final Installment

On April 8, 2010, SCRC hosted a dramatic reading of a selection of letters from our collections. The event was planned and emceed by Abigail Wheetley, and we thank everyone who was able to attend. For those who were unable to attend, and for those who would like to revisit something they heard that evening, we have been posting transcriptions of the letters and introductions to them over the past few weeks.

We conclude this series with a letter by humorist H. Allen Smith.

Rear Admiral

H.Allen Smith Collection

We’re ending this evening on a high note, or on a very low note, depending on how you react to the following letter. It’s obscene and delightful. Harry Allen Smith was born December 19, 1907, in McLeansboro, Illinois, and his book “Lo, The Former Egyptian” gives a humor-based account of his return to the region in the 1940’s. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, Smith published about a book a year, plus hundreds of articles for such magazines as Reader’s Digest, Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, and Esquire. Smith died in February of 1976 while in San Francisco gathering material for articles and books. Smith, among other things, was a grumpy, funny, inappropriate man, and this letter to his proctologist, Aubrey Wilcox, thanking him for a Christmas gift is typical of his correspondence.

H Allen Smith letter

December 26, 1975

Dear Rear Admiral,

How appropriate—the candle with index finger extended, for use in massaging my prostate (while lit). I got two candles for Christmas—one from an Aubrey and one from Audrey Christie, the oldtime musical comedy star and one of our ancient friends. Yours, with the courtin’ fingers at the ready, was by far the more impressive.

Did I tell you about some son of a bitch sending me a tube of Preparation H, neatly fixed up to read “Preparation H. Allen Smith” ? I don’t happen to have the piles, and I simply can’t throw anything like that away, so I have been assiduously searching for some friend who could use the goozlum. I can’t find a single god damn human being who’ll admit to having the screeching hemorrhoids.

I’ll just hold onto it and use it the next time I get a nosebleed.




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