Chester sentenced to die in the electric chair

Grace Brown

Chester Gillette

Chester testifies at his trial in Herkimer NY

The Jury

The Lecture Tour
Using photos, video and recorded music, Craig Brandon has been bringing the "American Tragedy" murder case to life for libraries, historical societies and middle and high school readers and college classrooms since 1986. The case was the basis for Jennifer Donnelly's 2003 novel "A Northern Light, Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" and the award-winning movie "A Place in the Sun" with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. 

Starting with the case that attracted the attention of millions in 1906, Brandon shows how the story was transformed into legend through fictional accounts, movies, television shows and folk songs. He uses photographs and court room drawings from 1906-1908 to tell the original story, then uses video excerpts to show how the story was transformed.

Craig is the acknowledged expert on the case and has been interviewed about it by the New York Times, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, the History Channel and "Unsolved Mysteries."

This lecture often attracts sold-out crowds. In July 1998 spectators sat on the floor of the Inlet, New York Community Center after all the seats were taken. The Herkimer County Historical Society had to schedule a second performance after the first one sold out. At the Sagamore Institute visitors spend an entire weekend talking about the case.

Among the hundreds of organizations that have sponsored this lecture are: 

The New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown. The Adirondack Museum, Adirondack Discovery, State University College at Brockport , Glens Falls Public Library, Shenendehowah Public Library, Canastota Central School District, Herkimer County Historical Society, Oneida County Historical Society, Old Forge Public Library, Inlet Chamber of Commerce, Cazenovia Public Library, Sagamore Institute, Bethlehem Public Library, Utica College, Cortland Historical Society 
 Brandon has also served as an on-air expert on this case in several television documentaries including "Murder at Big Moose" (PBS), "Unsolved Mysteries" and "Crimes in Time" (The History Channel.)  The lectures are inexpensive and take about an hour, plus additionat time for questions from the audience.
To schedule a lecture for your group, send e-mail here
Or write to: Craig Brandon Surry Cottage Books 25 Roxbury Street, Keene NH 03431

Or call (603) 499-6500