An Outlaw’s Scribblings

Joe Nickell

in Real or Fake

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125343
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135229 | DOI:
An Outlaw’s Scribblings

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This chapter examines the authenticity of a jail notebook containing the purported writings of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid and his nemesis Pat Garrett. Conflicting stories as to provenance represents grounds for suspicion, but they do not by themselves constitute proof of theft or forgery. Another controversy involved an album containing alleged writing by Billy, Garrett, and others, as well as a framed page with a letter signed “WH Bonney.” Taken together, the various findings with regard to provenance, ink, and handwriting show unmistakably forgery — and a rather unskilful forgery at that.

Keywords: Billy the Kid; outlaw; Pat Garrett; provenance; WH Bonney; forgery

Chapter.  3010 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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