Audrey Baxter and I never met, although we would have had some enthusiasms in common. She had good taste in music and encountered artists I admire, leaving behind a few precious relics. Taking a chance on Google, I found these possibly incorrect shards of evidence from the 1940 United States Census. I say incorrect because hers is a common name, but on April 1, an Audrey Baxter was about 27 years old and was living with her brother Don Haney and his wife Edna on Monteith Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio. The census-taker noted she was “Female,” “White,” and had been born in Ohio.
The reason for my new fascination with Audrey Baxter is that she collected autographs from bands and musicians from the Thirties to the Fifties, and a few delights have turned up for sale on eBay. The signatures look genuine to me, and Audrey dated the back of the photographs, presumably noting when she got the autograph and inscription.
Here are a few delicacies:
Gene Krupa, October 1, 1939:
I think she thumbtacked Gene to the wall — anathema to collectors, but to me those loving damages are an indication of how eager and enthusiastic she was about the subjects, their music, and her brief connection with them.
Ray Noble, with terriers and calligraphy sublime, March 18, 1941:
and what is to me the absolute prize, Eddie Condon, Oct. 21, 1946. The photograph is beyond my budget but I love it seriously:
When we die, the fate of our physical selves is fairly clear, no matter what plans we may have made. Will our precious possessions end up on eBay? That is another question entirely.
Thank you, Audrey, for being such an enthusiastic Swing fan.
May your happiness increase!