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More than twenty years ago, the writer Helen Papashvilly, a long time friend of Rae’s, tried to coax an autobiography from Rae by asking her questions about her life in the voluminous correspondence they shared. What follows are lightly edited selections from those letters. In this fragment, Rae writes about her arrival in New York in the fall of 1929.

“Many years ago, my friend Ann Silver, fresh from Brooklyn Law School wrote me at my home in Harrisburg with her perennial question ‘When are you coming to New York to live?’ A question periodically answered by my mother's answer-which-was-a-question ‘Who, at your age (20) goes to New York to live?’ - and proceeded to rest her case! But a year or 2 later — and I'll never know what the catalyst was — I was stunned to hear her say ‘Well, if you think you can handle it, and I think you can, I'll be able to say yes, etc.’ My friend Ann was ecstatic and it was agreed I was to live with the Family in the Bronx — her mother, father, teen age brother and herself. Well. On November 1, 1929 — only a few days after the financial world went mad, people simply walking out of windows into eternity — I found myself in New York, wondering what fortune I was really seeking! I'd come armed with a month's worth of money before seriously looking for secretarial work — meanwhile to see if the city would look for me. The lawyer brother of a friend of ours from Reading had asked him to call me and when I returned to the Bronx that evening, was asked where, what and how, etc. and casually answered, ‘We had lunch at Sardi's,’ Ann simply screamed! Little did I know, as they say, how inextricable our lives, Ben's and mine, would be bound with Theatre and all the people therein. The Alex Gard caricatures, a whole wall of them of the Famous People, became very familiar in time - along with so much else, having to do with Theatre.”

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