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The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette

Sherman, Jack and Brandon, Craig ( Editors )

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ISBN 10: 097964481X / ISBN 13: 9780979644818
Published by Couper Press, Clinton,NY, 2007
Condition: Very Good Soft cover
From Concordia Books (Rensselaer Falls, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition, Pb., vii, 192 pp., numerous illustrations, appendices, clean, unmarked copy with light general wear, signed by Jack Serman and Craig Brandon on the title-page. Bookseller Inventory # 022030

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester ...

Publisher: Couper Press, Clinton,NY

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Very Good

Signed: Signed by Editor

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Chester Gillette was executed on March 30, 1908, for the murder of Grace Brown, who was pregnant with his child. The trial was a sensation at the time and the case became the basis for Theodore Dreiser's classic novel An American Tragedy, the 1951 Academy award-winning movie A Place in the Sun, and a 2006 opera. Revealed here, for the first time in nearly a century, are Chester's private thoughts in his final months.

The diary was kept private by the Gillette family for ninety-nine years and only came to light in 2007 when Marlynn McWade-Murray, the grandniece of Chester Gillette, donated it to the Hamilton College Library. Along with the diary, this volume contains twelve letters Chester wrote from prison while awaiting his execution. Eleven of the letters are to Bernice Ferrin, a young friend of the Gillette family for whom Chester seemed to have romantic feelings. The twelfth letter was written to his sister Hazel the day before his execution.

This work includes a synopsis of the events surrounding the murder and trial by Craig Brandon, the leading scholar on the Gillette case. Jack Sherman provides an introduction to the diary along with headnotes to each entry and explanations of Chester's many obscure references.

About the Author:

Jack Sherman is the Tompkins County Judge in Ithaca, New York. He received a B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard and a J.D. from Syracuse University. Jack has studied and written on the Gillette case for over thirty years. He began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Herkimer County, where in 1977 he wrote and directed the first re-enactment of the Gillette murder trial. In 2006 he wrote and directed a new version of the re-enactment, entitled "The People vs. Gillette," as well as a performance piece based upon the Brown-Gillette correspondence entitled "My Dear Chester."

Craig Brandon is the author of four books of popular history: Monadnock: More than a Mountain, Murder in the Adirondacks: An American Tragedy Revisited, The Electric Chair, and Grace Brown s Love Letters. He has served as an expert and technical advisor for a segment of the "Unsolved Mysteries" television program on the Gillette case and has appeared a number of times on the History Channel, the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. His writing has won national, state and local awards. Craig spent 20 years as a reporter, columnist, and editor at newspapers in upstate New York.

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