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PAUL DRAPER The tap dancer, blacklisted on suspicion of communist leanings, attempts to explain his philosophy to entertainment columnist Louis Sobol. Autograph Letter Double Signed: "Paul Draper", "P D", 6 pages, 6x8. The Plaza, New York City, "Monday", no date.

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The tap dancer, blacklisted on suspicion of communist leanings, attempts to explain his philosophy to entertainment columnist Louis Sobol.
Autograph Letter Double Signed: "Paul Draper", "P D", 6 pages, 6x8. The Plaza, New York City, "Monday", no date. To "Dear Louis" [Sobol], in full: "I said I had written you a letter concerning what I thought could and could not be destroyed. I indeed had but hadn't sent it - this is a copy of it. Naturally I do not mind being misquoted in your able words and this is merely for the purpose of reaffirming my own conscience. The story you quoted was a nice one. My reactions would have been first that no city is indestructible, secondly that the term 'soul' is too ambiguous for serious use and lastly that Paris is a poor symbol for any interpretation of that term. (Literally speaking the destruction of Paris seems distinctly and sadly possible.) I do believe that there is only one manifestation of living on this earth which cannot be destroyed. That is mankind's desire for survival and his ability to do so in face of tremendous obstacles. (This in keen consciousness and apart from adherence to any of the 'abstract values' with which 'soul' is generally associated.) I should like to name some of those obstacles. I would name the confused and confusing of words as well as soul, already spoken of, such as justice, spirit, religion, law, freedom, liberty, equality and others like them, all the isms, etc. I would name the tremendous conflict arising from fulfilling such words in one's mouth and fulfilling them in one's deeds. I would name all aborted practices of democracy - all aborted practices of capitalism. I would name all tyrannical subjugations be they civil, political or religious, examples of which are legion not alone in the aggressive dictatorships. I would name all superstitions and all adherence to outworn idealisms and traditions. Mankind has found the power to survive those obstacles and it is that power which I should call 'indestructible'. I would not feel that Paris represented that power - nor any city. Nor do I feel that substituting 'soul' for 'Paris' makes the truth of survival much clearer. (Alexandria, in 99 B.C., certainly came closer than Paris to representing man's best efforts. It indeed was destroyed but fortunately, though its fall prefaced the dark ages in immediate Europe, its indestructible qualities traveled to Persia, Arabia, down along the north coast of Africa through the Moors, into Spain, and so to the Renaissance in spite of the Catholic Church.) Perhaps, Louis, a yet unbuilt city will one day fulfill your story's aim. A city erected in sweat and love and eagerness to discover a way of rising all of the earth's energies towards man's ever increasing health and happiness. That city will be so full of human deed and action that I doubt it will need the word 'soul'. I guess it's our ever nearing job to start building it. I hope I work strongly and well toward it. Very sincerely [signature] P.S. I hope this makes some sense - I do mean it. My love to the queen and yourself. [initials]. Paul Draper (1909-1996), born in Italy, was a very popular tap dancer of the 1930s and 1940s, performing in nightclubs and other venues in New York, including Carnegie Hall. He introduced new dance techniques, in a unique style sometimes called ballet-tap. As a choreographer and teacher, he worked to securing tap's acceptance as a legitimate form of artistic dance. From 1940, he formed a popular performing duet with harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler. Draper married ballerina Heidi Vosseler in 1941. In the 1950s, Draper's career foundered on accusations of communist sympathies. Although the "blacklist" was not as powerful in stage and television as in motion pictures, Draper's career suffered, and he had difficulty securing bookings. He moved to Europe for three years, living mostly in Paris, but never regained his previous popularity when he returned to the US. Multiple mailing folds. Lightly worn at corners and center left edge. Crease at center left edge page one. Otherwise, fine condition.

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