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JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" EARP - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/19/1925 - HFSID 286400

Rich-content ALS from Wyatt Earp's wife to the man drafting the manuscript of Wyatt's autobiography, warning him that others may try to steal his material. She also fears - correctly - that "Wyatt ... is not long for this world."

Sale Price $10,200.00

Reg. $12,000.00

Condition: lightly creased, otherwise fine condition
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JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" EARP
Rich-content ALS from Wyatt Earp's wife to the man drafting the manuscript of Wyatt's autobiography, warning him that others may try to steal his material. She also fears - correctly - that "Wyatt ... is not long for this world."
Autograph Letter signed: "Josie Earp", 3 pages (integral leaf), 6x8 folded, 12x8 open. Also signed "W. Earp" [by Josey] in the envelope return address. Vidal, California, 1925 February 19. To John H. Flood, Jr., Los Angeles. In full: "Your kind and always welcome letter came yesterday. Mr. E and I were very glad to hear from you again. And glad too that you at last got hold of some of the [2 words illegible] and sincerely hope that you will keep on getting it. I am also very happy to know that you have the story [Earp's autobiography] finished at last, for your sake and ours too. I know just how glad you must be to have it all done with, as I know Mr. Flood it has taken up so much of your time. But I think it will pay us well for all of the lost time. And we both wish to thank you for all of the trouble it has caused you. And we surely do appreciate all and everything you have done for us both. In your letter you said that the article you saw was so much worse than the one Scanlon wrote. I can't imagine anything to be worse than that was. But you of course understand that McClin. was with the other side. Mrs. Hooker saw it and told us all about it. And she just begged Mr. E to go and see it and have a talk with the head man of the Public Libraries. He wanted to have a talk with Wyatt as he knew Mr. McClintock very well. I think he is living at Phoenix Arizona at present. Please don't send article here. Keep it until we come to L.A., which will be very soon. And be careful what you say in your letter in regards to story or any write-up. I will explain when I see you. Wyatt is not so well the last week. I am afraid that he is not long for this world - is getting very weak and eats so little. I am enclosing letter I received from Mrs. Robbins [Item not included] where I lived. I hope you called on her and was able to make a deal. I would like you to get the money even if it is not much. As you say every little helps. Hoping this finds you well and enjoying yourself. We are having delightful weather here. Will move to Vidal on the second of March and we'll write to you and tell you when we will be in L.A. So be careful what you write. Very best of wishes to all. Sincerely". One vertical 1 horizontal fold creases. Lightly toned. Otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by 7½x4 transmittal envelope, addressed to Flood in her hand. Toned. Edges and corners lightly creased. Right edge ragged from opening. Wax seal on verso. Josephine Marcus (1861-1944), who became Josie Earp was a dancer and actress who moved to Tombstone, Arizona in 1879. At first she was mistress of Sheriff Johnny Behan, an enemy of Wyatt Earp, and was also a prostitute. (Her license for that trade survives.) In 1881, she became enamored with Wyatt Earp, and the following year began calling herself Josephine Earp. (Wyatt and Josie were together until his death, in what was probably a common law marriage. Wyatt abandoned his law enforcement career, traveling around the West with Josie, often gambling and sometimes operating a saloon.) In their senior years, the Earps became quite concerned about their image/reputation, as this letter shows. Wyatt was uncomfortable with some of the exaggerated claims made for him, but angry at some of the negative reporting, including the J. M. Scanland article in the L.A. Times referenced by Josey in this letter. Earp resolved to write an autobiography setting the record straight, encouraged in this by his close friend, Western actor William S. Hart. Unwisely, he chose his personal secretary, John H. Flood, Jr., to write the manuscript. The Earp's hopes were dashed when Flood's text, accurate but sadly lacking in literary style, was rejected by publisher after publisher. Though never published, Flood's text survives, and might have enriched public understanding of Wyatt Earp if a good editor had been found to revise the manuscript. Josey's fears for Wyatt's health were justified. He died in 1929. She survived 15 more years, devoting much time to trying to refute or prevent publication of biographies and films unflattering to her husband and to herself. Josey Earp's urgings of caution to Flood were surely prompted by reports she received from Hart and others that competing, unauthorized biographies were in the offing. Vidal, California, is a small town on the Arizona border where Wyatt Earp spent his final years, working nearby claims of copper and gold. Two items.

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