THE FIRST "TRIAL OF THE CENTURY," CLARENCE DARROW’S FAMED DEFENSE OF LEOPOLD AND LOEB, 1924, A MEMORABLE PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION BY CLARENCE DARROW
DARROW, Clarence. Plea of Clarence Darrow, August 22nd, 23rd & 25th, 1924, In Defense of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. on Trial for Murder. Chicago: Ralph Fletcher Seymour, . Octavo, original red- and black-printed front wrapper, plain rear wrapper. $6500.
First edition, “authorized and revised” by Darrow from the trial speech, of his passionate defense of teenage murderers Leopold and Loeb, a presentation copy inscribed in the year of publication by him to the widow of his friend and legal colleague famed for a plan on permanent government ownership of the rails, "To Marie Plumb from a long time friend and admirer of her and her husband Glenn Plumb with the best wishes of Clarence Darrow Oct 9, 1924," in fragile wrappers.
"A tragedy of three young lost lives, a dead 14-year-old victim and the imprisonment of two teenage killers, unfolded in Chicago in 1924. The murder trial of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold that shocked the nation is best remembered decades later for the 12-hour long plea of Clarence Darrow to save his young clients from the gallows. His summation… stands as one of the most eloquent attacks on the death penalty ever delivered in an American courtroom. Mixing poetry and prose, science and emotion, a world-weary cynicism and a dedication to his cause, hatred of bloodlust and love of man, Darrow takes his audience on an oratorical ride that would be unimaginable in a criminal trial today. Even without Darrow in his prime, the Leopold and Loeb trial has the elements to justify its billing as the first 'trial of the century'" (Linder, Leopold and Loeb Trial). First edition, first issue: with "Price 35c" on front wrapper, as issued without frontispiece, which did not appear until the second issue containing price of "50c" and title page with: "this book is distributed exclusively by Geo. M. Stutz 1230 First National Bank Building, Detroit Mich." This presentation copy is inscribed in the year of publication to Marie Coyle Plumb after the death of her husband Glenn Plumb who, in 1905, served as "counsel for the City of Chicago" and later president of Calumet & South Chicago Railway Company. He and Darrow early worked together in Chicago's legal department and they remained friends and colleagues. It was out of "years of law practice and practical experience in all phases or railway business" that Plumb developed his plan for cooperative, permanent government ownership of the rails (Gurney, Glenn E. Plumb). Rail unions "rallied around the Plumb Plan" but it never won sufficient support in Congress (Field, Political Currents, 23).
Interior fresh with mild foxing to early leaves, touch of expert paper repair to fragile original wrappers. Near-fine.