Saturday, April 04, 2009


I've misplaced my copy of Robert Alcorn's Count of Gramercy Park. "Gentleman "Gerald Chapman has been mentioned in the last couple of books I read.
I guess he was the first 20th century celebrity criminal. My copy is old and moth eaten. I suffer from an allergy to dust mites so I figured I let it air out for awhile. Been over a year now, the book should be readable. If only I knew where it was.

Mr. Chapman was an extraordinary thief who escaped from federal custody (several times); while on the lam he committed a robbery in CT. A policeman was killed. Caught and sentenced to hang, the Gentleman's attorney argued that he could not be executed by a state because technically he was still a ward of the federal prison system. Lepke Buchalter's lawyer argued the same thing. It's surprising that Buchalter's attorney went that route. They hung Chapman and the public certainly liked him a lot more than they did Mr. Buchalter.

If I were to write a book, I think I would write it on Gentleman Gerald or someone like him. My understanding is that Alcorn's book isn't a definitive work. I haven't been able to find another bio on Chapman.