Family wants manuscript back from Earp author
Following Glenn Boyer's example, the Cason family has requested the Cason Manuscript - the only undisputed source in "I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp," - back from the author.
On Jan. 29, Boyer posted his intention on Amazon.com to take back the rights to his book and allow it to go out of print.
The book has created much controversy based on Boyer's difficulty in producing the Clum manuscript, one of two primary sources the book is based on.
The other source is the Cason manuscript.
Recently, the University of Arizona Press considered changing writing credits from Josephine Earp to Boyer, who was originally listed as collector and editor.
In addition to a change in writing credits, the publishing company also wanted the book listed as historical fiction rather than its original listing as a piece of non-fiction.
These proposed alterations to the book might have been the cause of the Cason family's request.
"He has always led our family to believe it was a true account and memoir of Josephine Earp," wrote Laura Cason in a prepared statement.
Laura Cason is the granddaughter of Mable Earp Cason, the author the Cason Manuscript.
In the past, Boyer has said he always intended to be listed as the author but the press wanted to list him as editor.
UA Press Director Christine Szuter declined comment yesterday and UA Attorney Mike Proctor in the past has repeatedly declined comment.
Boyer has often used a notarized statement signed by Jeanne Cason Laing - Laura Cason's mother - that confirms the authenticity of Boyer's work. The statement has never mentioned the existence of a Clum manuscript.
"I believe the book edited by Mr. Boyer is bona fide in its entirety and is remarkably accurate in its portrayal of Mrs. Earp's character and personality," said the Sept. 21, 1983 statement.
Losing the support and the source material from the Cason family could be a closing chapter in the Boyer-Earp saga.
"I think that's almost like the coup de grace for this story," said Gary Roberts, a Western historian and Boyer critic.
Aside from requesting the return of the source materials, Laura Cason's statement indicates the Cason family's disappointment with Boyer.
"We are saddened to learn that Mr. Boyer has seemingly manipulated Cason family members over the years in an apparent effort to provide authentication when questions arose," she stated.
Boyer has not announced what he will do in response to the Cason request, but no matter what follows, Roberts said he thinks the entire situation is sad.
"History is what's suffered the most," Roberts said. "It's all kind of tragic really."