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(Lucretia P. Cannon). Narrative and confessions of Lucretia P. Cannon, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hung at Georgetown, Delaware, with two of her accomplices. New York: Pr. for the publishers (Erastus E. Barclay & Clinton Jackson), 1841. 8vo (21.7 cm, 8.54"). Frontis., , –24 pp. $450.00
Every sentence of this description could be highlighted as striking and significant: "Patty" Cannon (1760–1829), said to be a beauty so fascinating that no man could resist her wiles, was also the legendarily cruel, violent co-leader of the Cannon-Johnson Gang, which specialized in => kidnapping free African-Americans in Delaware and Maryland and selling them into slavery. According to the present pamphlet, she confessed to a long list of murders including her husband, a slave trader, several travellers she robbed while disguised in men's attire, an unknown number of her captives and their children, and one of her own infants. In 1829, she died in prison while awaiting trial — with this account claiming that she took poison and suffered horribly before succumbing.
=> This is the uncommon first edition of this much-sensationalized true crime story, and the first publication to assign the name "Lucretia" to Cannon (née Martha Hanly), who does not seem to have used it during her lifetime. The wood-engraved title-page vignette depicts Cannon in the midst of one of the most horrific acts of which she was accused: burning a five-year-old to death in her fireplace. The frontispiece, captioned "Lucretia P. Cannon and her gang firing at the Slave Dealers," centers on the dealers rather than the gang members, with Cannon appearing disguised as => a sketchy figure in masculine dress.
Provenance: From the chapbook collection of Albert A. Howard, sans indicia.
American Imprints 41-3679; Wright, I, 1942. Removed from a nonce volume, sewing loosening with frontispiece separated; edges and top corners waterstained, spots of foxing, frontispiece with short tear from outer edge without loss and with some chipping to inner and upper edges. => Scarce 19th-century American "true crime" that highlights crimes of particularly American, particularly horrible sorts. (41211) Please RESHELVE This.
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