Philadelphia: Barclay & Co., 1883. McDade #718 calls this the second edition.“The Dukes-Nutt affair was an internationally famous murder case of romance, betrayal and honor. What started out as a small dispute and an unwanted engagement led to multiple murders…[T]he passion and recognition of this grandiose affair…at times seems fictitious, due to its many plot twists and scandals,” (Uniontown Public Library website). With seven-full page illustrations. Some chipping and soiling. Back cover illustrated with an imagining of the murder. Some dustsoiling to leaves, mostly to pp. 61-62. A very good copy of a fragile item. Publisher’s pale blue pictorial paper wrappers. 6 x 9 in. , 19-64 pp. Item #17446
In 1882, when Lizzie Nutt was in her early twenties, she was engaged to aspiring Democratic politician Nicholas Lyman Dukes (b. 1851). Their engagement was tumultuous, and Dukes sought to end the relationship by sending a letter (reproduced in the present item) to Nutt’s father, Captain Nutt. In the letter, Dukes alleged that Nutt had been unfaithful and promiscuous, and claimed there were rumors of her behavior going around the city of Uniontown. Captain Nutt reacted poorly, and he and Dukes exchanged hostile correspondence until Captain Nutt took matters into his own hands and confronted Dukes at his home on Christmas Eve of 1882. After a fight between the two men, Dukes shot Captain Nutt. In March of 1883, Dukes was tried for the murder of Captain Nutt and found not guilty. Controversy surrounded the trial due to what many saw as an unjust verdict.
In the aftermath of the killing and the trial, Lizzie Nutt’s reputation was destroyed. During the trial, Dukes alleged that Nutt was pregnant by another man, and that he had pressed her to get an abortion. The claim of her pregnancy was never verified, and it was later revealed that Dukes’ motive for ending the relationship was likely his affair with another local woman.