Saturday, June 24, 2006


6/24/06- THE PEOPLE VS. GILLETTE


I FIGURED THAT TODAY I WOULD TAKE A LITTLE BREAK FROM THE STORY EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT HAVE THAT MUCH FURTHER TO GO TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT. LAST NIGHT, I HAD THE PLEASURE OF VOLUNTEERING FOR THE PREMIERE OF THIS SUMMER'S TRIAL REENACTMENT, ENTITLED "THE PEOPLE VS. GILLETTE" AT HERKIMER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE RIGHT HERE IN HERKIMER. IT WAS PART OF THE THREE-DAY LITERARY CONFERENCE "CHESTER, GRACE, AND DREISER: THE BIRTH OF THE AMERICAN TRAGEDY," WHICH HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THURSDAY AND ENDS TODAY.

THEY ALSO HAD A DISPLAY ROOM WHICH HAD A WHOLE COLLECTION OF RARE ARTIFACTS FROM THE CASE, SOME OF WHICH HAD NOT BEEN SEEN SINCE 1906. MOST OF THE ARTIFACTS INCLUDED NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM 1906 AS WELL AS SIGNED STATEMENTS FROM CHESTER GILLETTE'S SPIRITUAL ADVISORS AFTER HIS EXECUTION IN 1908 AND A LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ATTENDED THE EXECUTION. THERE WERE ALSO LETTERS FROM GRACE BROWN, AS WELL AS CHESTER'S FINAL LETTER TO GRACE IN THE THREE-WEEK PERIOD LEADING UP TO HER DEATH, AND A LETTER FROM HARRIET BENEDICT ASKING CHESTER FOR A "POSTER."

BUT THE BIGGEST DRAW OF ALL HAD TO BE THE TENNIS RACKET WHICH CHESTER USED TO KILL GRACE WITH THAT DAY ON THE LAKE. IT WAS RECENTLY AUTHENTICIZED BECAUSE THEY FOUND AN EXHIBITION NUMBER ON IT. THIS ALSO MARKS THE FIRST TIME THAT THE MURDER WEAPON WAS PUT ON DISPLAY SINCE THE 1931 PREMIERE OF THE MOVIE "AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY," THE FIRST MOVIE BASED ON THEODORE DREISER'S NOVEL.

I WILL HAVE TO STOP NOW, BUT I WILL HAVE MORE ON THIS MONDAY.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Just found your blog. Nice job. Was pleased to see you mention my grandmother, Marjorie Carey, who heard Grace's cry. If you are coming up to Big Moose on the 11th be sure to stop at the Town of Webb Historical Assn in Old Forge to see their exhibit on the murder. Many pictures and I loaned them my grandmother's subpoena.
Frank Carey carey@well.com