Tea and Sympathy
New York: Random House, 1953. From the Bart Auerbach Collection. 8vo. Photographs by Slim Aarons. Original cloth; pictorial dust jacket by Clifford Strohl Associates. Jacket with a trifle of soiling. A fine copy. Item #409234
First edition. Inscribed on the front free endpaper to Alan and Phyllis Sues: "For Alan & Phyllis – Two more loyal supporters a playwright never had. I am always touched by your kindness and enthusiasm. Affectionately Bob." Anderson's play stems from his experience of falling in love with an older woman while attending Phillips Exeter Academy. The male private school student, Tom Lee, faces accusations of homosexuality and the woman, Laura, opposes his shaming and romantically pursues him so he can prove his heterosexuality. The play's final line, "Years from now, when you speak of this, and you will, be kind," is one of the most quoted curtain lines in stage history. Alan Sues played the role of Ralph in the play (his Broadway debut). He and the actor/dancer Phyllis Sues married in 1953 and divorced in 1958. This could be confused for a dedication copy, as it was dedicated to another Phyllis: the playwright's wife, Phyllis Stohl.