Spectacular association copy of this lurid underworld memoir, the annotated copy of Henry John Nelson, Sharpe's attorney and author of the foreword, and signed by both Nelson and Sharpe.
Very good plus.
"To give the devil his due, prison did do me one good turn. It gave me time to read."
The autobiography of the bold and versatile confidence artist, who stole not for pleasure, but for "money or revenge." Born Mary Anne Duignan (or Beatrice Desmond) in 1871 (or 1876), Sharpe made her way from Ireland to America in her teens and promptly fell in with Dal Churchill of the Dalton Gang, who soon left her a widow after a botched train robbery. Sharpe achieved her epithet and her advanced criminal training in the midwest, where the 1893 World's Fair drew her with the promise of easy tourist targets for theft and her many confidence schemes: Though boasting of international ventures to London, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro, Sharpe calls herself with no small pride "a prize-graduate of the Chicago School of Crime." A close associate of – and wife to – several gangsters, Sharpe was an adamant "individualist" who took pains to emphasize that she owed neither her ill-gotten profits nor her notoriety to the men in her life. Published only a year before her death, CHICAGO MAY is forthright to the end: prison never reformed her, and going straight, she says, was a strictly business decision.
Already scarce signed (Sharpe died the year after publication), this copy is exceptional with her attorney's ownership stamp and annotations, mostly noting errors in the text with dismay.
New York: The Macaulay Company, (1928). 9'' x 6''. Original orange cloth with red lettering. Red topstain, fore-edge machine deckle. Portions of scarce original printed dust jacket laid in. 336 pages. Signed by Sharpe and Nelson in blue ink on front pastedown, along with Nelson's stamp. Nelson's unobtrusive pencil notes to front endpapers and throughout the text. Light soil and bumping to boards; light staining to spine. Toning to endpapers.
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