THE SAD CASE OF MRS. KATE SOUTHERN! The Beautiful, Virtuous Georgia Wife, Who, Being Maddened to Insanity by the Outrageous Taunts of a Bad Woman Who Had Enticed Her Husband Away, Killed Her...

THE SAD CASE OF MRS. KATE SOUTHERN! The Beautiful, Virtuous Georgia Wife, Who, Being Maddened to Insanity by the Outrageous Taunts of a Bad Woman Who Had Enticed Her Husband Away, Killed Her...

Philadelphia: The Old Franklin Publishing House, 1878. Wraps. 31 p. with four plates. Original pictorial lavender paper wrappers. This example is in uncommonly nice condition with only some light soiling to the front panel. Works like this one were popular in 19th America, akin to the tabloids of today. Publishers understood sensationalism sells and murder trials provided particularly fertile ground, especially when women were the victims or the accused. Thomas McDade’s Annals of Murder lists 1,055 murder trial publications from the 19th century, including this piece, which he says is a work of fact and fiction, arising from the murder of Narcissa Canart in Picken, Georgia. Public sentiment was unusually high and favored the defendant in this case, which is mirrored in this pamphlet. Printed along the bottom edge of the front panel is the sentiment: “The Unfortunate Wife is Dying in Prison!” Southern, the epitome of a white, rural housewife, was pregnant with her second child when she stabbed Canart to death with a penknife during festivities at her father’s home. The women had been arguing over scandalous rumors of Canart’s affair with Southern’s husband. Following the murder, Southern and her husband fled but she was ultimately arrested and convicted, sentenced by judge and all-male jury in April 1878 to hang. According to David Baker’s “Women and Capital Punishment in the United States” her case sparked debate throughout the South about the treatment of women in the criminal justice system. “Her sympathizers argued that if a man had committed the same crime, he likely would have been acquitted under the theory it was justifiable homicide to kill the seducer of an adulterous women,” Baker wrote. The Governor commuted the death sentence to 10 years and then ultimately pardoned Southern under pressure from the state legislature. Very good. Item #68846

Price: $750.00

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