(too old to reply)
2007-12-05 04:52:18 UTC
You Can Check Out The Letter At:
Colin D. MacDonald
2007-12-05 09:12:43 UTC
An article by Editor Lewis Motisher on this letter appears in the November,
2007 edition of the Sacramento Ragtime Society Newsletter. An article on
the letter had previously appeared in a small paragraph-long article in
Ragtime News, the newsletter of the Classic Ragtime Society of Indiana.

The conclusion is that the letter is a fraud. A lady found the letter in an
armoire that she purchased from a furniture rental store. She had the letter
inspected by Jack de Verona, founder of Academy of Manuscripts and
Autographs, LLC [www.AutographAuthentication.com, 409-283-2232, Fax

Mr. de Verona concluded that the letter was a fraud and cited the following

(1) The paper itself was blue lined paper which was not made until the
mid-to-late 1930's.
(2) He compared the letter with a known copy of Joplin's handwriting and
concluded that the 1916 letter failed in several characteristics used by
experts in authenticating writing.
(3) By 1916, Joplin was suffering from the physical effects of tertiary
syphilis and would have made his handwriting unbalanced and uneven.

I took a look at Mr. de Verona's website and could not find information on
his business and it appears that the site is merely a collection of links to
other autograph sites.

A copy of the letter also appears in the Sacramento Ragtime Society

Keep on looking, we still may find Joplin's lost opera.
Post by s***@sheetmusiccenter.com
Colin D. MacDonald
2007-12-05 10:08:24 UTC
A better URL is the following:
Bill Edwards
2007-12-05 21:58:51 UTC
I was also contacted for authentication of the letter, which took me
about 1 minute to dispense. There were other points not covered here
that also are highly suspicious or ridiculous.

If the recipient is such a dear friend, why sign the full name?

The paper, as mentioned, was not produced then, and not in that size.
I did that research through a paper company after the fact. Would he
not have used stationery? That was more like the Joplin way, I

It mentions recording more piano rolls, yet the date is outside of the
dates that he had his piano roll sessions.

Note that almost everything in that letter mentions a benchmark in his
life, yet they are so far apart. Why group it all in this
correspondence? And hadn't the opera been done by maybe three to four
years at this time? And had not the staging and subsequent failed
efforts already happened? Why "finish" something already done?

The forensics speak for themselves, but other factors speak just as
loudly. Ed Berlin, I believe, also dismissed it. I'm not sure, but I
think this site owner has been looking around for some sort of
authentication, just to be able to say it has been authenticated for
sale. I hope I am wrong, and don't have enough evidence to support
this contention, but if an expert as notable as Ed Berlin makes it
clear, and perhaps down the line (I know I'm not at the top of the
list as I'm not as much a Joplin expert) why keep going? That is what
raises my suspicions.

Now anybody who searches for more on it will at least have these
entries to look for. This is almost as bad as the oven-baked "first
edition" Maple Leaf that was on eBay a few years ago (actually sold),
which we believe was really a 1975 reprint from Sedalia that was
artificially aged.

Glad this was brought out. Thanks Joel