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Hidden Treasure

A relic discovered and displayed at Eugene O'Neill's Tao House


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Fans of legendary playwright Eugene O’Neill gasped in disbelief when an artifact from O’Neill’s East Bay days appeared earlier this year. Going through a box of anonymously donated books, a volunteer with Friends of the Walnut Creek Library found a copy of Six Plays by Eugene O’Neill. Not only was the volume signed by O’Neill, it held, tucked in its pages, a handwritten note from his wife, Carlotta.

The book and note were addressed to “Mrs. Jackson.” She is believed to have been the head of nursing at Oakland’s Merritt Hospital who cared for O’Neill when he was hospitalized with appendicitis in 1937. O’Neill was at Merritt, when he received his Nobel Prize for Literature. After his recovery, the O’Neills moved to Danville and lived in Tao House, which is now a National Historic Site.

The letter and book will be on display at Tao House during the Eugene O’Neill Festival, September 24–27. The fest will also feature a new production of A Moon for the Misbegotten, directed by Michael Uppendahl (a director on TV’s Mad Men), which will be staged at Tao House.

For information, go to eugeneoneill.org.

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