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Notorious woman : the celebrated case of Myra Clark Gaines

Author: Elizabeth Urban Alexander
Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, ©2001.
Series: Southern biography series.
Edition/Format:   Print book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"The Legal Crusade of Myra Clark Gaines (1804?-1885) has all the trappings of classic melodrama - a lost heir, a missing will, an illicit relationship, a questionable marriage, a bigamous husband, and a murder. For a half century the daughter of New Orleans millionaire Daniel Clark struggled to justify her claim to his enormous fortune in a case that captivated the nineteenth-century public, providing fodder for
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Genre/Form: Trials, litigation, etc
Named Person: Daniel Clark, Jr.; Myra Clark Gaines; Daniel Clark, Jr.; Myra Clark Gaines
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth Urban Alexander
ISBN: 0807126985 9780807126981 0807130249 9780807130247
OCLC Number: 47023388
Description: xiv, 301 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Contents: Introduction: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines --
A Journey of Discovery --
The City by the River --
"A Pair of Unscrupulous Adventurers" --
A Man of "Energy, Intelligence, and Pliability" --
A Life of Intrigue --
A Romance in Real Life --
A Most Unusual Woman --
A "Prolonged and Interesting Lawsuit" --
The Supreme Court Changes Its Mind --
Victory at Last --
Conclusion: "The Most Remarkable Case."
Series Title: Southern biography series.
Responsibility: Elizabeth Urban Alexander.

Abstract:

"The Legal Crusade of Myra Clark Gaines (1804?-1885) has all the trappings of classic melodrama - a lost heir, a missing will, an illicit relationship, a questionable marriage, a bigamous husband, and a murder. For a half century the daughter of New Orleans millionaire Daniel Clark struggled to justify her claim to his enormous fortune in a case that captivated the nineteenth-century public, providing fodder for gossips, sensational headlines for newspapers, and employment for generations of lawyers. Elizabeth Urban Alexander taps voluminous court records and letters never before utilized by historians to unravel the twists and turns of Gaines's litigation and reveal the truth behind the mysterious saga of this notorious woman."

"The Great Gaines Case wound its tortuous path through the United States legal system from 1834 until 1891, pursued even after Gaines's death by lawyers trying to recoup fees. It was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court seventeen times. By courageously bringing her case to the courtroom and doggedly keeping it there, Alexander asserts, Gaines helped instigate a new type of family law that provided special protection of women, children, and marriages. Her lawyers skillfully wove together the strands of this emerging domestic relations law and the popularity of nineteenth-century sentimental fiction to fabricate a true-life romance, manipulating both the courtroom and public opinion with common stereotypes."

"Though Gaines never recovered more than a tiny fraction of the rumored millions, this riveting chronicle of her struggle for legitimacy and legacy is a gold mine for anyone interested in legal history, women's studies, or a good yarn superbly spun."--Jacket.

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