JOSIE EARP ALS to husband Wyatt's personal secretary, John Flood, who was trying unsuccessfully to write an authorized biography of the famous lawman. Frequent mention of actor William S. Hart ("Bill"), a close friend of Wyatt Earp.
Autograph Letter signed: "E", 3 pages (front and verso), 6½x10½. Vidal (California), 1927 March 15. In full: Very glad to get your nice letter and clippings. I was just thinking what had happened to you. Weather windy not very nice for the last two weeks.
Lots of surveyors here for the L. Fill a barn just now. I have never seen so many people here at one time before.
Well, now about our little affair. Will you please call up or write to Bill. Yes I think it is better to write to him. Tell him what I think - what I mean by I, all of us think it just the right thing to do to hold it back until we can get together and talk it over. And please keep them until we come to L.
Seal them in an envelope, stamp them and you will know then that they are safe. I don't care to have anyone see them.
We have had a long letter from Burns. He wrote to our Oakland address.Wants to know several things. Writing Doc's life and is going to give Mr. I will save the letter for you.
Don't care to leave it out of my hands in case it will get lost. Now please do as I ask of you. Tell him just what we thought would be good, the same as he said. Makes me crazy to write his life and yet can't do anything with it.
Tell him so many people have been after him to write the [phrase illegible]. Please just find Matt and write address to W. Fl and same for your self. 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 Josey 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. He resolved to write an autobiography setting the record straight, encouraged in this by his close friend, Western actor William S. Hart, the "Bill" mentioned repeatedly in this letter. Unwisely, he chose his personal secretary, JOHN H. The Earp's hopes were dashed when Flood's text, accurate but sadly lacking in literary style, was rejected by publisher after publisher. Walter Burns, mentioned in the letter, would anger Wyatt's with the publication of Tombstone: Iliad of the Southwest - Earp was unimpressed with Burns' fact-checking and ended any further collaboration with the author.
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. Her repeated cautions about letter security were prompted by wll justified concerns that competing biographies were being written. 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.Vidal, California, is a small town on the Arizona border where Wyatt Earp spent his final years, working nearby claims of copper and gold. See more material from these signers. See more listings in our EXPLORERS & WESTERN AMERICANA (352).
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