More Works from Film, Literature and History from James Pepper Rare Books
Item 118 is the story of a sensational killing by the killer himself. The work is The Traitor. Being the Untampered with, Unrevised Account of the Trial and All that Led to It, by Harry K. Thaw. Thaw was the son of a coal and railroad magnate with serious mental issues. His family wealth enabled him to survive youth and even attend Harvard despite his social problems. After what education he completed, he went to New York, where he studied chorus girls. This brought him into contact with one Evelyn Nesbit, a beautiful young lady. Young Evelyn was the support of her very poor family, her income potential based on her appearance. As a result, her mother was encouraging when the 16-year-old girl took up with noted architect Stanford White, then 47. White, who seduced many such young women, and moved on after the conquest, had moved along when Thaw discovered her and became obsessed. Eventually, he managed to convince Evelyn to marry him, despite his abusive behavior, but became incensed when she admitted that White had been the first. One night in 1906, Thaw went to the theater, found White, and shot him three times in the head. There were two trials. The first ended with a hung jury, and in the second, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Thaw would spend a few years in an asylum and eventually lived his life out as an "eccentric," while Nesbit got a divorce and attempted suicide several times, but lived in obscurity until age 82 (she died in 1967). The E.L. Doctorow book and film "Ragtime" as well as the 1955 film "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" are based on this story. Thaw's book was published in 1926. $30.
Item 63 is an odd title from master magician Harry Houdini: Houdini's Paper Magic. The Whole Art of Performing with Paper, Including Paper Tearing, Paper Folding, and Paper Puzzles, published in 1922. I knew that Houdini was into all sorts of spectacular tricks, such as freeing himself from chains while placed in a tank underwater, but who knew he was into origami? $550.
The website for James Pepper Rare Books is www.JamesPepperBooks.com, telephone 805-963-1025.