‘Never before seen’ love letters from John Ford are among 99 lots going under the hammer, Conor tells Brian Moore
MAUREEN O’Hara’s grandson is putting a major selection of her memorabilia up for sale at an auction in New York, just over a year after the iconic movie star’s death.
The famous London auction house, Bonhams, will put 99 lots of personal effects and movie memorabilia under the hammer later this month.
The collection includes some of Maureen’s famous ball gowns, jewellery, studio photos, O’Hara family correspondence and letters, some of Maureen’s favourite books, and ‘never before seen’ love letters to Maureen from director John Ford.
The auction at Bonhams’ New York offices will take place on Tuesday November 29th, and the complete catalogue of lots is online.
The auction has already generated a lot of interest here with Margaret O’Shaughnessy of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum travelling to New York especially for the sale. ‘I am going out to attend the auction but have no idea of what we might bid for yet,’ the director of the museum told The Southern Star.
The Foynes museum recently took possession of Maureen’s Oscar and other international awards, some costumes and accessories from many of her films, as well as dresses and gowns she wore to major Hollywood events.
These valuable items were presented to the museum by Maureen’s grandson, Conor Beau Fitzsimons, whose mother Bronwyn, passed away at her home in Glengarriff last May. ‘This is a fantastic chance for fans and collectors to own a piece of movie history,’ said Conor. ‘It is an incredible collection of mementoes from the glamorous world of a beautiful woman and a true Hollywood legend. I want to share these memories with the fans around the world and especially in Ireland. That’s why we donated some much of my grandmother’s collection to the Foynes museum,’ he told The Southern Star this week from his home in Boise, Idaho where Maureen spent her last days before her death, at the age of 95, in October 2015.
Mr Fitzsimons also spoke of his love for Glengarriff and of the special place his grandmother held for the West Cork village in her heart.
‘I have kept many, many items that hold special memories for me from my childhood and I have sent a lot more to Foynes for their display,’ Conor said.
Conor also told The Southern Star of his surprise when he came across the love letters from John Ford to Maureen, written while she was filming The Quiet Man.
‘I found the letters in a shoe box, tied with a red ribbon. I don’t think anyone else, apart from my grandmother, John Ford or myself, has ever seen these letters before,’ Conor said.
The catalog for items from the Maureen O’Hara Collection can be viewed online at Bonhams.com.