Chester sentenced to die in the electric chair

Grace Brown

Chester Gillette

Chester testifies at his trial in Herkimer NY

The Jury

The Cast of Characters
When he used the 1906 Chester Gillette case as the basis for his 1926 novel An American Tragedy,  author Theodore Dreiser changed the names of nearly all of the people and places.
  This chart is designed to help sort them out.

 
The Real Names Dreiser's Names
Chester Gillette Clyde Griffiths
Grace (Billy) Brown Roberta (Bobby) Alden
(A composite)  Sondra Finchley
George Ward (DA)  Orville Mason
Charles Thomas (lawyer)  Reuben Jephson
Albert Mills (lawyer)  Alvin Bishop
Irving Devendorf  (judge)  Frederick Oberwaltzer
Frank S. Gillette (father)  Asa Griffiths
Louisa Gillette (mother)  Elvira Griffiths
Noah H. Gillette (uncle) Samuel Griffiths
Harold Gillette (cousin)  Gilbert Griffiths
Frank B. Brown (father)  Titus Alden
Minerva Brown (mother)  Mrs. Alden
Isaac Coffin (coroner)  Fred Heit
Austin Klock (undersheriff)  Nicholas Kraut
Henry Macilvary (chaplain)  Duncan MacMillan
Charles Hughes (governor)  David Waltham
PLACES
Cortland Lycurgus
Herkimer Bridgeburg
Big Moose Lake  Big Bittern Lake
Tupper Lake Grass Lake
Eagle Bay Three Mile Bay
South Otselic  Biltz
Old Forge Sharon
Utica  Utica
Fourth Lake Twelfth Lake
Deruyter Fonda 




The 1931 movie "An American Tragedy" used Dreiser's names, but the 1951 re-make of the movie, "A Place in the Sun" used an entirely different set of names. In this version, Chester's name is George Eastman, Grace's name is Alice Tripp and the "other woman" is called Angela Vickers. The district attorney is called Frank Marlowe.