JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" EARP - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 02/19/1925 - HFSID 286401
JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" EARP Very content-rich ALS to the man writing the manuscript of Wyatt Earp's autobiography, and mentioning help they are getting from Western actor William S. Hart. While urging author Flood to keep the story clean and to finish it soon, she reminds him of several more events in Wyatt's life he must include.
Sale Price $4,037.50
JOSEPHINE "JOSIE" EARP
Very content-rich ALS to the man writing the manuscript of Wyatt Earp's autobiography, and mentioning help they are getting from Western actor William S. Hart. While urging author Flood to keep the story clean and to finish it soon, she reminds him of several more events in Wyatt's life he must include.
Autograph Letter signed: "Your friends/Earps", 3 pages (12x8 integral leaf and 8x6 unattached page). Vidal, California, 1925 November 9. To John H. Flood, Jr., Los Angeles. In full: "Your letter came Monday. And I was glad to hear from you also good news. Although I am sure disappointed. And yet I still feel grateful to have them find the oil. I was in hope they would bring in a two or three hundred barrel well. But - as I said I must be satisfied as it could have been a bust too. I have been watching the oil news very closely but saw no account of it. I hope it will not be a mistake. Now when we get the story also picture we will then be ready to settle down. We had a very fine letter from Bill [friend and actor William S. Hart] and he is very anxious to get the story and he said in his letter to be very careful in whose hands we let the story fall in so by that I think he is very anxious. He also said that it must be published first in some good magazine, then in book form, which pleased me very much. And he too made mention that we would make a big piece of money out of it. He spoke of the Saturday Night Post and some other magazine I can't think of just now. And I am sure it will be no trouble in having it published in one of the high class books. With I think Bill's help will go a long way. So hurry up now like a good boy and finish it as soon as possible as they are all waiting for it. And above all things do make it a smooth running story and very historical as you can just as he said it should be. And the rest is easy. Don't forget to put all you can in the Dodge City part. Don't slight it also where Doheney said when he want to Wichita that Wyatt was at the head of the mounted police where he saved the girl and her mother in the Tombstone fire by carrying the mother from the hotel where she was sick in bed and her daughter would not leave her. So Wyatt took her out of the hotel by force. Let them see some of his good traits too. Also tell how he worked for old man Banning in the early days driving teams from San Bernardino to Salt Lake and don't overlook anything. And cut out you know what as we want a good clean story, and one that will be positive and yet will be the truth and lots of pep in it too. Have you got where his father and three of his brothers all fought in the war. His father Nicholas P. Earp, Virgil Earp, James C. Earp and Newton Earp. And Wyatt wanted to go too but was too young. And where Wyatt took the pay car during the big strike with the Southern Pacific to El Paso and paid off all the men from Sacramento - they started from Sacramento. And where he worked for Wells Fargo too. And where he was sheriff of some town in Ill. Don't overlook anything. All those things go toward making a good story. And when he went to Alaska and they were going to have [illegible word] in the boat. And were it not for Wyatt they would have had an awful time. It seemed like they were not giving the passengers enough to eat - and they were going to throw the captain overboard, so Wyatt told them he would advance the money to the Captain at Unalaska so the Captain could put in a supply of provisions so the passengers could have more to eat. As provisions were very scarce on account of very rough weather and it took a week longer to make the trip so everything in the line of eats got very scarce. So when the Brixam got to St. Michael's the government took full charge of the boat - settled with Wyatt. The captain's name was Emery. All this will help to fill in and make the story historical. I don't know if Wyatt has already told you about this. Don't forget Captain Emery and the boat Brixam - now it may be spelled Brixham. Anyway it was chartered by Anna Eva Fay's husband who was a brother of Governor Pringram. Anyway they had a gay old time getting up to Alaska. Now young man don't overlook anything as you want to make a success of your first attempt and I am sure you will. Only hurry up and please don't delay any longer as it is for your own interest. Just think - John H. Ford - put up on the screen. Well I guess I have told you all I can think of so don't overlook any of it. I hope you are well and are getting some of the floating [?]. Mr. E. is feeling almost the same, some days better than others. I don't know just how long we will stay. I may come to L.A. for a few days after we get strong. I have had just the one letter from you up to the present. Am glad Mr. Deitish [?] liked the things I found. What shall I do with it? It has been very warm here and the flies are simply awful and that accounts for this silly and miserable written letter. And I do hope you will be able to make it out. And do please pardon paper I have always told you that I am a poor letter writer so this one will prove what I say is right. So nothing of any interest to write - only story. So hurry and get through with it for all of our sakes. For the very best wishes sincerely". [signature] P.S. What do you think about the sixty barrel well? I have made many misspelled words. Will do better next time. Please seal your letter with wax - and don't forget. Many thanks for letters. Have sent them anyway. Am almost ashamed to send this." Toned and lightly creased. Left edge of unattached page ragged. Otherwise fine condition. Accompanied by transmittal envelope (6½x4) addressed in Josey's hand. Toned and lightly creased. Right edge ragged from opening. Wax seal on verso. Otherwise fine condition. 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, already a growing legend. She hastened on the scene after the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and in 1882 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.) He was part of the Alaska gold rush of 1897, as this letter notes. 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 negative reporting. 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. Wyatt Earp died in 1929. Josey 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. This doesn't mean that her stories recounted in this letter were wholly accurate. Recent research has revealed that Wyatt Earp was not a sheriff in Illinois (Peoria), but lived in and probably ran a brothel there, arrested more than once for this enterprise. 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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