CONCORD, N.H. Truman Capotes 1958 typed manuscript of Breakfast at Tiffanys is rife with the authors handwritten edits most notably changing the femme fatales name from Connie Gustafson to the now-iconic Holly Golightly.
Its plot built around a young woman who supports herself through trysts with various wealthy lovers was controversial. Harpers Bazaar bought serialization rights for $2,000, then balked at its explicit content and profuse profanity. Esquire magazine purchased it from Harpers and launched it toward its 1961 silver screen adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn.
The manuscript is being offered for sale by a New Hampshire auction house and is expected to net at least $250,000 later this month.
It is the centerpiece of hundreds of Hollywood-themed items offered by RR Auctions in its online auction April 18-25. Other items include memorabilia autographed by James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Judy Garland and Lucille Ball. Also offered is an 8 mm film of Marilyn Monroe visiting Army troops in South Korea in February 1954, shot by a lieutenant with the 24th Infantry Division.
Its obviously quite a treasure, quite a find for us, RR Auctions vice president Bobby Livingston said of the Capote manuscript. He said the source of the manuscript wants to remain anonymous, but linked it to the estate of a very famous Madison Avenue autograph collector.
Livingston said Capote made changes throughout the 86-page manuscript, including crossing out every reference to Connie Gustafson and replacing them with Holly Golightly. On the first page of the manuscript he handwrote the title.
He was about to turn it in (to Random House) and he was inspired to change that name, Livingston said.
Livingston said the auction was not timed to a new Broadway adaption of Breakfast at Tiffanys now playing at New York Citys Cort Theater, saying that was just serendipitous.
Capote in creating his Holly Golightly character is said to have found inspiration in his close friendships with designer Gloria Vanderbilt and Oona ONeill, daughter of playwright Eugene ONeill.
Breakfast at Tiffanys was not Capotes debut. He had received critical acclaim for his novel Other Voices, Other Rooms, a decade earlier.
But when Breakfast at Tiffanys was published, Norman Mailer wrote that he didnt know Capote well but thought of him as the most perfect writer of my generation. ... I would not have changed two words in Breakfast at Tiffanys.