Abbreviated Project Statement:
On 1 February 1896, Pearl Bryan was seven months pregnant when she was murdered and decapitated in northern Kentucky by her lover with the assistance of his roommate. This crime was called “the crime of the century” and captured the imagination of the country – with daily coverage of the trial in the New York Times, and more than 25 popular folk songs.
Through a mixture of photographing the original sites and artifacts related to the crime, acquiring other historic ephemera related to the life and death of Pearl Bryan (including befriending a metal detectorist to scour the original site of the home of Ms. Bryan until a week before her death), using excerpts and woodcuts from contemporaneous books and newspaper accounts, and information gleaned from the original court transcripts of the crime, the story of Pearl Bryan is told visually.
I wish to thank the Ohio Arts Council for their generous financial support. Additionally, there have been dozens of librarians, historians, and archivists who have helped me with this project. In particular, I wish to thank Anthony (Tony) Barger (Putnam County Public Library), Paul Slade (journalist), Debbie Buckley (City of Fort Thomas), the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society, the Kenton County Public Library, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the University of Cincinnati Libraries, the Library of Congress (and many others) for generously sharing their time, knowledge and resources.