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    Lloyd Barker writes to Ma from Leavenworth

    Lloyd "Red" Barker Autograph Letter Signed. One page, two sided, on lined Leavenworth State Prison letterhead, Kansas, 8.5" x 11", January 3, 1931. Excellent content in this letter written to the notorious Ma Barker, from her second son Lloyd, who was serving twenty-five years in Leavenworth for a 1921 mail robbery. Lloyd's remaining brothers (Herman committed suicide in 1927 following a robbery), Arthur ("Doc") and Freddie were also imprisoned at the time this letter was written, but both would very shortly be released, along with a prison buddy, Alvin Karpis, to embark on a series of daring bank robberies, kidnappings, and murders that made the Barkers a household word.

    Letter reads, in part: "I am in hopes of eating next Christmas dinner with you and if everything turns out alright [sic] I will... A friend of mine is going to stake me enough money for me to go into a café at Oklahoma City and another friend has a nice building he will rent me or go into business with me. He may come to see you he sure is a nice fellow..." This is almost certainly a reference to Alvin Karpis, who did indeed visit Ma after his release from prison. Although Ma Barker is generally considered the head of the crime gang eventually formed by her family members and their friends, Alvin Karpis was the real criminal mastermind behind the gang. Once Doc, Freddie, and Alvin joined up after release from prison, they immediately put together the Karpis-Barker gang and began a four-year crime spree that captivated the nation's attention. Letter is written in pencil and signed "As ever, Lloyd 17243 [his prisoner number]." It bears the usual folds, one tiny chip along the upper edge, and two one-inch sections of fold separation at center fold. Light discolorations on verso appear to be bleed through of censor stamp ink from the envelope. Generally fine condition, and an outstanding addition to any criminal collection!

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    17th-18th Friday-Saturday
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