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, self-invention, 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.
Vinnolia Ackerman and Josephine in Earp, CA in February 1937
Josephine in Tombstone, February 1937, her visit back since she left in 1881.