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Alice + Freda Forever
Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis | Alexis Coe
17 posts | 18 read | 33 to read
In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nationit 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 letterand her fathers razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiances 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 jailincluding 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+ Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenespainting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.
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Lauranahe
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Pickpick

This was super interesting, tho possibly the shortest true-crime book I‘ve ever read. Alice is a young woman in Victorian-era Memphis, TN, who murders her ex-fiancée Freda out of love and jealousy. Their story as lovers and the political/social beliefs of the time were fascinating, and being from Memphis, it was fun to read about local history.

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Travelinglibrarian
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Nineteenth century teenage love story becomes American tragedy. The case against Alice Mitchell killing her fiancé Freda Ward in the courts eyes was not about murderous revenge but the act of two women being in love is seen as unnatural, immoral and indecent!!! #herstory #aliceandfreda #rebelgirls #bookclub #bookshelf #bookoftheday #history #ilovemyjob #somanybookssolittletime #whatareyoureading

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SoniaC
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Pickpick

This book is so heartbreaking. It‘s hard to believe this actually happened. Well worth reading. The lunch and pie was a nice addition as well.

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Lindy
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An astonishing true crime story that began with a plan between two young women to marry and live as husband and wife in Tennessee in 1891. Instead, 19-year-old Alice murdered her 17-year-old ex-fiancé, Freda, in front of witnesses. She also confessed, but what she wanted to do (marry a woman) was so outlandish that she was considered insane. Love letters and other historical documents, as well as charming line drawings, are a bonus. #LGBTQ

Reviewsbylola Totally grabbing this from the library tomorrow. Sounds great! 2y
LitLogophile I‘ve seen a posts about this book before and I never knew the story was so interesting! Also, I love Alexis Coe! Thanks 😁 2y
LeahBergen This sounds fascinating. 2y
45 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Lindy
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Oh dear. 19th-century medical doctors believed that “excessive work on sewing machines” was partly to blame for the rise in “forbidden friendships” between women. Frequent nosebleeds were diagnosed as “vicarious menstruation” and was bodily proof that a woman had transgressed gender boundaries. 😳

RachelO 😶Ummm... 2y
LeahBergen All you quilters out there ... take note. 😉 2y
Andrea4 Vicarious menstruation 😂😂😂😂😂😂 2y
See All 7 Comments
Lindy @LeahBergen Do you think this might refer to the vibrations of electric sewing machines? 2y
Lindy @RachelO @Andrea4 Methinks the insanity lies with the doctors. 🙃 2y
batsy I cannot get over "vicarious menstruation" ? Are they so afraid of women's bodies that they'd come up with any damn thing ? 2y
Lindy @batsy I think you are on the right track: fear. 2y
44 likes7 comments
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Lindy
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The kind of violence Alice had displayed with her father‘s razor was a ‘masculine‘ act as much as it was a privilege of white men. If anyone else was seizing it for themselves—as the nascent suffrage movement, demands for broader political enfranchisement, calls for fair wages and greater opportunities suggested—the traditional power base of white America was in peril.

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Lindy
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In addition to Alice Mitchell, Ida B Wells was the only other woman in 1892 Memphis whose story was circulated around the country. Both women undermined, challenged & disregarded white male authority—& the treatment they received had far more to do with their respective races than the transgression itself. White men threatened to kill Wells for what she wrote, whereas no one wanted to see Alice, who actually committed murder, hanged for her crime.

Reviewsbylola This is on my TBR! 2y
29 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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No juror who called himself a Southern gentleman, declared the Commercial, would indict a young white lady from a good family. Even though the evidence was substantial and Alice‘s guilt ‘indisputable,‘ the Commercial bemoaned the possibility of any judgement against this poor young woman of good standing. If there was one thing the nation should know about the men of Shelby County, it was that ‘their chivalry exceeds their sense of justice.‘

DivineDiana This is an amazing story! 2y
Lindy @DivineDiana There‘s one astonishing thing after another in this true story. If it were a novel, I would say the author is stretching my willingness to suspend disbelief too far. 2y
35 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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Lindy
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“But to Americans in 1892, Alice Mitchell‘s insistence on loving and wishing to marry and support a woman were, in and of themselves, clear signs of lunacy, and there was no shortage of physicians willing to corroborate that assumption.”
Book synchronicity: I‘m reminded of one of the tragic incidents in The Heart‘s Invisible Furies.

Cinfhen Oh no!!!! I'm not up to there yet 😱 2y
Lindy @Cinfhen The incident I‘m thinking about happens in the first chapter of 2y
Cinfhen I've read passed chapter one, but there have been so many incidents already not sure to which you are referring 2y
Lindy @Cinfhen The one connecting homosexuality with insanity. 😞 2y
37 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Clare-Dragonfly
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Pickpick

I wasn't entirely satisfied with this book, particularly the way the information was organized. However, I'm really glad to have learned a lot more about the awful and tragic case of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward. I think anyone interested in the legal and psychological history of homosexuality in America should read this book.

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Clare-Dragonfly
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My current read has a list of the main characters and their #family in the front! I think that's very promising for an interesting, detailed read. #jubilantjuly

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Clare-Dragonfly
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Chocamanda
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I can't get over the name of this chapter, you guys. This book is a great for teens learning about feminist and gender political history.

Liberty I love this book sooooooo much - and it's going to be a movie! 💗 3y
Chocamanda It turns out this doesn't mean what I wanted it to. What they mean Alice, the murderess had chronic nosebleeds 🙄 3y
Chocamanda @Liberty a movie?! That's so exciting! In the ensuing days of Trumpnation this will be an important film for girls. So exciting! 3y
17 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Chocamanda
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A YA true crime novel for $1.99? Yes please!

Liberty That's a grown-up nonfiction book, and it is 💯! 3y
Chocamanda The description on Amazon has a blurb from Scholastic saying it's for grades 9 and up. You know what happens when one assumes 🐴🙈😳 3y
6 likes2 comments
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KrisConstantReader
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This is a different sort of true-crime book, Ebook is on sale today.

Reviewsbylola This definitely sounds interesting. 3y
MrsV I read this about a year ago. It was definitely a lesson on what was thought about women at the time. I felt so sad for Alice. 3y
KrisConstantReader @MrsV it looks good, I jumped on this offer, looking forward to reading this one. 3y
LadyBrik The Catapult podcast has an episode where the author reads an excerpt from this. It definitely made me buy it! Good stuff. 3y
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bookwrm526
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Pickpick

I'm on a roll, this is the third book I finished today! All started earlier in the month, but I've just been reading slowly for some reason. This one is the heartbreaking true story of a murder in Tennessee, at the time (1890s) put down to the fact that a woman who passionately loved another woman could only be insane. Makes me feel pretty good about how far we've come until I realize how far we still have to go.

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mrldg
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A well told story about Alice and Freda, and their doomed love, in 1892 Memphis. I love finding these fairly obscure illuminating stories. This book was sad, but am glad to have read this tribute to those two young women.