There was also particular interest in material which provided insight into the author’s personal life including a vast archive of correspondence from Steinbeck to his younger sister Mary discussing both personal and professional milestones which sold for $255,000. Elsewhere, Steinbeck’s personal journal from 1949 sold for $70,000, more than three times its estimate. The journal, which begins "I don’t suppose anyone ever so hated a year as I hated 1948… Wife, children, best friend all gone. But perhaps it toughened me. I hope so”, details his despair at the loss of his best friend Ed Ricketts, the end of his marriage to his second wife Gwen, and the long journey to writing again. Overall, the sale achieved $1 million.
Other highlights included:
- a previously unknown Steinbeck journal from February to March 1938 which provides a raw look at the writer's journey as he works his way toward his The Grapes of Wrath (sold for $32,000), and Steinbeck’s daybook journal from 1947 which was used as the raw material for his 1947 memoir, A Russian Journal (sold for $32,000)
- a letter from Steinbeck to his sister Mary detailing a serious fight with his wife Carol (sold for eight times its estimate at $24,000)
- a heartbreaking draft of a letter Steinbeck wrote to his sons dated January 5, 1949, discovered tucked into one of Steinbeck's journals from the same year which achieved six times its estimate when it sold for $19,000