The author of the acclaimed Sala's Gift delivers the definitive biography of Josephine Marcus Earp, a Jewish woman from New York who became the common-law wife of famed lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp.
For nearly fifty years, she lived with the most famous lawman of the Old West. Yet Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp has nearly been erased from Western lore. In this fascinating biography, Ann Kirschner brings Josephine out of the shadows of history to tell her full story--a spirited and colorful tale of ambition, adventure, selfinvention, and romance reflective of America itself, from the post-Civil War years to World War II.
How did this aspiring actress and dancer--a flamboyant, curvaceous Jewish girl with a persistent New York accent--land in Tombstone, Arizona, and steal the heart of Wyatt Earp? What inspired five decades of adventure-seeking that led from the Arizona Territory to Alaska to Hollywood? And what sustained her lifelong partnership with a man of uncommon charisma and complex heroism?
Answering these questions, Kirschner offers a rare look at a woman's life on the frontier and sheds new light on the iconic gunfight that made Wyatt Earp a legend, revealing Josephine's place at its center. Lady at the O.K. Corral introduces a vivacious woman with a magnetic personality who was equally at home in the deserts of the American Southwest and the boomtowns of the Alaskan Gold Rush; in the opulent hotels of San Diego and San Francisco in the Gay Nineties; in rough mining camps, gaudy gambling casinos, racetracks, and boxing arenas; as on Hollywood back lots visiting Cecil B. DeMille and Samuel Goldwyn.
Spanning more than half a century, this engaging narrative biography brings Josephine to the forefront of her own story and offers a fresh look at a remarkable era in American history.
About the Author
Ann Kirschner is university dean of Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. She began her career as a lecturer in Victorian literature at Princeton University, where she earned her PhD. A writer of wide-ranging interests, she is the author of Sala's Gift and an innovator in education, media, and technology. She lives in New York City with her family.
“An admiring and vivacious biography. . . . Kirschner’s fascinating profile captures the restless spirit of the frontier as deftly as it does Josephine’s energy, affection, and limitless appetite for adventure.”
“With vividness and certainty, Kirschner lays her story to rest at last. Tragedy, adventure, romance and scholarly investigation come together like pioneers to a boomtown, with something for Earp worshipers and casual readers alike.”
“Ann Kirschner brings a fresh, lively perspective to one of the great stories of the American frontier. Lady at the OK Corral reveals a fascinating intersection of Jewish history and the Wild West; its engaging narrative both celebrates and demystifies a legendary time and place.”
-Julie Salamon, author of Wendy and the Lost Boys
“The story of Josephine Earp proves that even the best lawman in the Wild West needed a good woman to stand beside him, as improbable as their romance was, and as riveting a read as this book most certainly is.”
-Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham and Payback: The Case for Revenge
“Thanks to Ann Kirschner’s brilliant Lady at the O.K. Corral, we finally have the definitive story of Josie Earp. . . . This is a must-read book for anyone who loves narrative nonfiction, or simply enjoys a hellaciously well-told tale.”
-Jeff Guinn, author of The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral - And How It Changed the American West
“In this remarkable feat of historical sleuthing, Lady at the O.K. Corral paints a vibrant portrait of an uncommon couple whose love for one another and shared thirst for adventure took them to the farthest reaches of the Wild West during its blustery boom times.”
-Bruce J. Dinges, Arizona Historical Society
“A tour de force in the detective work of biography Ann Kirschner writes Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp back into American history. . . . A thoughtful and entertaining addition to the history of the American West, Jews in America, and the role of women in society.”
-David S. Ferriero, Former Director of the New York Public Libraries
“Engrossing. . . . The life of Josephine that unfolds so vividly in these pages is as colorful and complicated as that of Wyatt and hers, the reader will discover, was the more remarkable journey.”
-Stephen Aron, UCLA and Autry National Center