In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nationit was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiance Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again. Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letterand her father's razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiance's throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jailincluding the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later. Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenespainting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world., In 1892, every major newspaper in America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation - it was her motivation, which was dismissed as insane far before the case ever came to trial. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell loved Freda Ward, but if she couldn't marry her seventeen-year-old fianc�, no one could. When Freda's sister discovered their love letters, she exposed the couple's plan to elope in Memphis and live in St. Louis, where Alice would pass as a man support them. Intimate female friendships were commonplace at the turn-of-the-century, but forty years before the term "lesbian" would emerge, same-sex love was virtually unknown in America. Alice and Freda's scheme was therefore dismissed as a schoolgirl fantasy taken too far. The fathers were to be kept out of this affair entirely, and yet, just to be sure, the two families' matriarchs handed down a definitive sentence: Alice and Freda were never to speak again. Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned Alice, leaving her heartbroken and isolated. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter - and her father's razor soon went missing. On January 25th, Alice slashed her ex-fianc�'s throat, but a crowd formed before she could take her own life. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her own father that very night, and every expert in the state of Tennessee agreed with the retired businessman: this kind of perversion was dangerous and incurable. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national and local interest, Alice spent months in jail - including the night the KKK lynched three of her fellow prisoners, a case that captured the attention of Memphian Ida B. Wells. Alice's lunacy inquisition was over in just 10 days. She was sentenced to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances a few years later. Alice + Freda Forever tells tragic, real-life love story with the aid of over 100 illustrated newspaper clippings, love letters, legal correspondence, and re-imagined courtroom scenes. Their names may not be familiar now, but Alice and Freda's story became a national case study for same-sex love, perpetuated as strange and dangerous in a wide-array of literature, from medical texts to works of fiction. This sensational crime occurred well over a hundred years ago, but this world will prove sadly familiar to the modern reader., On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancee's throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed. This book recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes., On a cold winter's day in 1892, nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell slashed the throat of her seventeen-year-old ex-fianc�e, Freda Ward. The two young women had, until recently, been madly in love, but after being found out and forced to separate, Alice's behavior became erratic. If Alice could not have Freda, no one could. The passion and intrigue of this affair, and of course, its aftermath, turned the trial of these lovers in Memphis, Tennessee, into a national sensation. It was covered rabidly by local, national, and international newspapers, and widely referenced in medical and scientific publications of the time (not to mention books and plays). Their story had such an impact, in fact, that it has colored the scientific and media response to gay women in America ever since. It is now time for a reckoning with this strange (and strangely decisive) moment in American history. This story is, first and foremost, a love story, replete with ardent letters (which will be reproduced here) and a secret engagement. But Alice and Freda Forever will combine a narrative history with artwork, manuscripts, news clippings, artifacts, and other ephemera, in order to give a full and many-hued picture of these two young women, their relationship, and the world that surrounded them. And in the end, it is a world that is strangely recognizable.
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