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Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(CRIME.) Triplett, Frank. The Life, Times and Treacherous Death of Jesse James. 27 plates plus two full-page frontispiece illustrations. 425 pages. 12mo, publisher's gilt pictorial cloth, minor wear; inked notes on four pages, part of modern address label on front free endpaper, related May 1882 clipping on James laid in. Chicago: J.H. Chambers, 1882
first edition, third and most complete state. Just three days after the 3 April shooting of Jesse James, the outlaw's mother and widow allegedly signed a contract with publisher J.H. Chambers to dictate their story. Frank Triplett's assignment was to transcribe their reminiscences. The book was off to the presses within the month, promising "full particulars of each and every dark and desperate deed in the career of this most noted outlaw of any time or nation." On 1 May, before the book was even released, the outlaw's widow renounced the entire project, claiming that she had no involvement whatsoever. Supposedly, she backed out when the publisher did not allow her the opportunity to see an advance draft of the entire work. The book accuses Missouri governor Thomas Crittenden of arranging the murder of Jesse James; he supposedly ordered the destruction of all copies that could be found. The widow James also sued the publisher, and Frank James offered his own objections. The publishers nevertheless sent three issues through the presses, all in 1882. This copy seems to be composed of the first-issue sheets (including the "Jesse James Return Home After a Raid" frontispiece) with the third-issue 9-page appendix on the capture of Frank James and additional plate bound in by the publisher. "Exceedingly rare. . . . The few copies in existence are usually in poor condition"--Adams, Six Guns 2245. Howes T355a ("b").