Alice + Freda Forever (Hardcover)

A Murder in Memphis

By Alexis Coe

Pulp, 9781936976607, 208pp.

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation - it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiance Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again. 

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter - and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiance’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion.

As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail - including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells).

After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later. Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes - painting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.


About the Author

Alexis Coe is a columnist at The Awl, SF Weekly, and The Toast. She has contributed to The Atlantic, Slate, The Millions, The Hairpin, LA Weekly, The Bay Citizen, Mission at Tenth, The Paris Review Daily, and other publications. She has participated in panels at the Commonwealth Club of California, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, and Sarah Lawrence College. In 2012, she received a Creative Capacity Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. Before moving to San Francisco, she was a research curator at the New York Public Library, where she co-curated the most popular exhibition in the library's 101 years, and a project-based oral historian at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Alexis holds an MA in history from Sarah Lawrence College and graduated from the honors college at the University of California, Santa Barbara.



Praise For Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis

"Alice and Freda's tragic story gives a fascinating glimpse of 19th Century America's attempts to comprehend passion it has no language to acknowledge. Hauntingly enhanced by Sally Klann's illustrations, Alexis Coe's skillful research and documentation never distract from her heartbreaking narrative." —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity
 
"Though the history recounted in Alexis Coe's Alice + Freda Forever is captivating in its own right, Coe also provides a larger context for it, elevating this to the level of a societal indictment. This story of a star-crossed love with a violent ending at times reads like a microcosm of Memphis at the end of the 19th century. As Coe's narrative delves into perceptions of sexuality and the ways in which the case touched on different aspects of daily life, it never loses sight of the tragic romance at its core." —Tobias Carroll, Managing Editor, Vol.1 Brooklyn
 
“With prose that simmers with intellect and longing, conscience and sly eloquence, Alexis Coe has finally granted Alice and Freda the one thing they so desperately lacked in life: the grace of a story beautifully told.” —Avi Steinberg, author of Running the Books
 
"Alexis Coe rescues a buried but extraordinarily telling episode from the 1890's that resonates in all sorts of ways with today. That in itself would be an accomplishment. But this is a book that is truly riveting, a narrative that gallops. Lizzy Borden eat your heart out. Here's a real crime of passion. Or was it? "And so Alice carried the razor around every day in her dress pocket, just in case Freda came to town…" I dare you to pick this one up and try, just try to put it down." —Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge and Esther Stories
 


“With prose that simmers with intellect and longing, conscience and sly eloquence, Alexis Coe has finally granted Alice and Freda the one thing they so desperately lacked in life: the grace of a story beautifully told.” —Avi Steinberg, author of Running the Books


“(A) lively, provocative history….a well-written effort that makes the most of its source material on two levels, both as true crime and as social commentary” —Publishers Weekly

"Alice and Freda's tragic story gives a fascinating glimpse of 19th Century America's attempts to comprehend passion it has no language to acknowledge. Hauntingly enhanced by Sally Klann's illustrations, Alexis Coe's skillful research and documentation never distract from her heartbreaking narrative." —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity
 
"Though the history recounted in Alexis Coe's Alice + Freda Forever is captivating in its own right, Coe also provides a larger context for it, elevating this to the level of a societal indictment. This story of a star-crossed love with a violent ending at times reads like a microcosm of Memphis at the end of the 19th century. As Coe's narrative delves into perceptions of sexuality and the ways in which the case touched on different aspects of daily life, it never loses sight of the tragic romance at its core." —Tobias Carroll, Managing Editor, Vol.1 Brooklyn
 
“With prose that simmers with intellect and longing, conscience and sly eloquence, Alexis Coe has finally granted Alice and Freda the one thing they so desperately lacked in life: the grace of a story beautifully told.” —Avi Steinberg, author of Running the Books
 
"Alexis Coe rescues a buried but extraordinarily telling episode from the 1890's that resonates in all sorts of ways with today. That in itself would be an accomplishment. But this is a book that is truly riveting, a narrative that gallops. Lizzy Borden eat your heart out. Here's a real crime of passion. Or was it? "And so Alice carried the razor around every day in her dress pocket, just in case Freda came to town…" I dare you to pick this one up and try, just try to put it down." —Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge and Esther Stories