The First Use of Sleepwalking as a Defense in a Murder Trial [Murder]. [Bickford, James, Compiler]. The Authentic Life of Mrs. Mary Ann Bickford, Who Was Murdered in the City of Boston, On the 27th of October, 1845. Comprising a Large Number of the Original Letters and Correspondence Never Before Published. Boston: Published by the Compiler, 1846. 48 pp. Octavo (7-1/2" x 4-3/4"). Disbound stab-stitched pamphlet, original pictorial wrappers retained (and securely affixed to text block). Light soiling and a few smudges and stains to wrappers, "20" in small hand to head of front wrapper, small library bookplate to its verso. Light toning to text, light foxing to a few leaves. $1,500. * Second edition, published the same year as the first. In 1845, Albert Jackson Tirrell [1824-1880] murdered Mary Ann Bickford [1824-1845], with whom he had a relationship, in the brothel where she lived. The case was scandalous and widely publicized, especially after Tirrell's lawyer, Rufus Choate [1799-1859], successfully argued that Tirrell was innocent because he had been sleepwalking during the killing. This was the first time a defense based on sleepwalking was used in a murder trial. The letters collected by her brother in the Authentic Life document Mary Ann's relationship with her husband, James Bickford, and her relationship with Tirrell, who is shown to have been abusive and manipulative. The OCLC listing for the second edition held by the New York Historical Society Library notes that "the color of the cover appears to be the only difference [between the two editions]." OCLC locates 16 copies of both editions, 3 in law libraries, which have the first edition (Harvard, Library of Congress, Yale). McDade, The Annals of Murder 986 (edition not stated). Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 13108.
Book number 71280