The Crane Archives have hundreds of advertisements for social and business papers from the last 100 years or so. It is a rare occasion that one pops up that I haven't seen. This was one such occasion, from the August 27, 1960 issue of The New Yorker:
Entitled "Cajole on Crane's," there follows a portion of a letter: "so you see, my dear Sir, how much the brownstone means to me. Surely, your impending skyscraper might fit in quite nicely elsewhere. Cordially, Agatha Winthrop."
The copy underneath reads, in part: "When it comes to getting your own way, a letter on Crane's paper is more influential than a Victorian turn of phrase. Miss Winthrop's letter was written on Crane's Greylawn paper with a tissue-lined envelope."
So, was this a real letter? Surely it must be! Google would prove otherwise. The only credible reference to Agatha Winthrop appeared in the October 1, 1960 issue of The New Yorker, under the heading of Fiction. Here's the abstract of the article:
ABSTRACT: A declaration of a certain Agatha Winthrop that appeared in an ad under the photograph of the author's house prompted this casual. The ad was for Crane's letter paper. The letter is quoted thus: "...so you see, my dear Sir, how much the brownstone means to me. Surely, your impending skyscraper might fit in quite nicely elsewhere. Cordially.. ." Mr. L.D. Hamilton owned and lived in the house (it appears to be at 239 E. 68 St.) until Dec. 15, 1959. He made an investigation to account for the existence of Agatha Winthrop and her attachment to his house. His conclusion was that Miss Agatha Winthrop is entirely fictitious and the creation of Madison Avenue and Massachusetts.
I paid the $5.95 to be able to read the entire piece by Mr. L.D. Hamilton. It's very well written and lots of fun, trading whimsey for whimsey. It will accompany the the ad in the Archives.
I wondered what 239 East 68th St. looked like today in New York. Here's a view from Google Earth. I'm not seeing any brownstones.....