Billie Holiday’s Last Autograph and Final Written Wordws
Billie Holiday was given the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, July 15, 1959. On Friday, July 17, 1959, less than 48 hours later she was gone. My godfather Rev. Norman Eddy states, “Maely took me up to see her. She was under guard, which was ridiculous-there was no way she could leap out of that hospital bed and escape. Maely and I were among the few friends who came to visit. Maely asked me to come because she recognized that Billie had a deep faith. A priest had visited her, and Maely wanted to bring a minister. I felt different because I didn’t know Billie Holiday, but I went.” “The first time I visited, Billie was fully conscious and we talked, but when she signed a paperback copy of her book for me, Lady Sings the Blues, she was so weak and out of it she couldn’t spell her name [it’s signed “Billie Holday”]. The next day she was in an oxygen tent and breathed in and out saying, ‘Oh God, oh God.’ Three or four days later people were lined up for three blocks at the funeral parlor, but she died alone.”
Rev. Norman Eddy was a highly righteous man who had driven ambulances in WWII and had mystical visions that led him to become a minister on East 100 St. in East Harlem in 1948. He met and worked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. several times starting in 1956, and would never have “asked” Billie Holiday for an autograph after she’d already been given “Last Rites”. She obviously liked him very much and this is why she wrote, “For Rev. Norman Eddy Stay as Wonderful as you are Billie Holday”. This would have been Wednesday, July 15, 1959.
He saw her a second time where she gasped for breath, and this would have been Thursday, July 16. She died at 3:20am Friday, July 17, 1959 and her funeral was Tuesday, July 21, 1959. There would have been no other strangers in her hospital room in these last hours whom she would have signed anything for even if she was capable, which she probably was not.
William Dufty, one of her actual real friends she trusted, was there until the very end states, “She was not unconscious, That was the official version of reality. She was just semi-comatose and resting: and she would maybe go into a period and come back and so it was like she was handling her energy… She was breathing with great difficulty…”
Norm’s account is given in Dan Wakefield’s, “New York in the 50’s”. William Dufty’s account is given in “Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday”, by Robert O’Meally. The account of when Last Rites were given is in “Billie’s Blues” by John Chilton, though I’ve seen it elsewhere in newspapers.
I inherited this book from my godfather Rev. Norman Eddy upon his death this past June, 2013. Information about him is easily available on the web. I am no autograph dealer, but just an ordinary individual who needs money at this time. This book really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they don’t buy things only take donations.
This is undoubtedly her last autograph, and the last words she ever wrote on paper in her life.
One dealer at a major auction house wrote me, “This is a very interesting item. From a personal standpoint, we accept your position, i.e. this is her final autograph, but we do not have the provenance needed to support the assertion to our collecting audience.” Another major auction house specialist said, “This is a just a little bit too morbid for me, I think I’ll take a pass.”
This is the reason I am offering this one of a kind piece of history on eBay. Professionals can argue that it is not proven beyond the shadow of the grave that these are her last written words, but any logical, thoughtful person can see that this is in fact her last autograph and the last thing she ever wrote. There were no other strangers there in her last hours she would have had any reason to write an autograph to and the friend or two and nurses who were there had no concern about any autograph.
“Stay as Wonderful as you are”, are not the words of a tragic, beaten woman, but rather show that she was a thoughtful, warm, idealistic person even in her last hours and this is marvelous that Lady Day’s last written words were “Stay as Wonderful as you are”.
There is a $4,900.00 Reserve price. This is far less than people are asking for other Billie Holiday items of far less historical value and importance than this completely unique item, but I need to sell. Billie’s final deathbed writing and signature are not pretty and elegant here, but like their author, are “real”.
I have a copy of the New York State Surrogate Court -“Satisfaction of Legacy”- from the Will, and will be glad to answer any questions and provide any information regarding this sale and piece of history.
Shipping is free in the U.S. or this can be done in person in Boston or New York City.
The new Firefox mobile phone is soon to arrive in its first markets around the world. The month of June has been mentioned by a number of people connected with the launch, but whether or not this target date is met remains to be seen.
Madrid based GeeksPhone has released its two models Keon and Peak as of mid-April, but these are “developer models” which are stripped down frameworks still requiring apps in order to be brought up to market readiness for the buying public. The speed which the thousand they sold out bodes well for the general public launch to come, but as to whether the apps development will have been completed and manufacturers can implement these new creations into the designs in time for a June deadline is still the outstanding wild card.
There is a great deal of anticipation in a number of quarters for this new Firefox mobile. The Html5 base has the advantage of opening up the app development process to thousands more developers who are engaged in this process as we write and this move to a pure Html5 base is what backers are hoping will prove to be a game-changer in the mobile phone market which Google and iPhone utterly dominate at this time.
Market analysts predict that the new Firefox phone will garner a mere 1% of the world market in 2013, but backers such as Telefonica of Spain are eager to gain access to the hundreds of millions of potential customers who are not yet smartphone users and the new Firefox mobile seems to be the best chance they have to break into this market. It would appear that Mozilla as an open source non-profit company that has one third of the world market with its browser is just the right player to help make all this happen given its visibility and credibility.
It is unlikely the new Firefox mobile will make much of an impact in the United States in the near future given the sophisticated nature of the smartphone consumer base, but this is not the market share being targeted. The Spanish speaking Americas where the public is getting more and more sophisticated every day in its use of online web-based technology is where this new Firefox phone hopes to find its home,….and this will be a World changer if it happens.
El nuevo teléfono móvil de Firefox pronto llegara a sus primeros mercados de todo el mundo. El mes de junio ha sido mencionado por una serie de personas relacionadas con la puesta en marcha, pero si esta fecha límite se cumple aún está por verse.
GeeksPhone madrid ha lanzado su dos modelos Keon y pico a mediados de abril, pero se trata de “modelos de desarrollador”, que son despojados por los marcos que aún requieren aplicaciones con el fin de ser educados a la preparación del mercado para el público comprador. La velocidad que los miles que se agotó es un buen augurio para el lanzamiento público en general a venir, pero si el desarrollo de aplicaciones se han completado y los fabricantes pueden aplicar estas nuevas creaciones en los diseños a tiempo para una fecha límite de junio sigue siendo la pendiente natural tarjeta.
Hay una gran cantidad de anticipación en un número de cuartos de este nuevo Firefox móvil. La base de HTML5 tiene la ventaja de abrir el proceso de desarrollo de aplicaciones a miles de desarrolladores que se dedican a este proceso como se escribe y este movimiento a una base de HTML5 puro es lo que los partidarios esperan que resultará ser un cambio de juego en el mercado de los teléfonos móvil que Google y el iPhone dominan completamente en este momento.
Los analistas del mercado prevén que el nuevo teléfono Firefox va a obtener un mero 1% del mercado mundial en 2013, pero los partidarios como Telefónica de España están dispuestos a acceder a los cientos de millones de clientes potenciales que aún no son usuarios de teléfonos inteligentes y la nueva Firefox móvil parece ser la mejor oportunidad que tienen para entrar en este mercado. Al parecer, Mozilla como una empresa sin fines de lucro de código abierto que tiene un tercio del mercado mundial con su navegador es sólo el jugador de la derecha para ayudar a que todo esto suceda, dada su visibilidad y credibilidad.
Es poco probable que el nuevo Firefox móvil hará un gran impacto en los Estados Unidos en un futuro próximo, dada la naturaleza sofisticada de la base de consumidores de teléfonos inteligentes, pero esto no es la cuota de mercado que se intenta llegar. América Latina, donde el público es cada vez más sofisticados cada día en su uso de la tecnología basada en la web en línea es que este nuevo teléfono Firefox espera encontrar su casa, …. y esto va a ser un cambio mundial si se produce.