April 17, 2012The excitement and controversy over the new Wyatt Earp photo, continues. If you just joined us, Nicholas Narog shared with me a photo he has recently purchased that is allegedly of Wyatt Earp. According to Nick, the original owner of the photo supposedly lived in Bisbee at the time Earp was in Cochise County and the previous owner claimed the photo came out of the short-lived Wyatt Earp Museum in Tombstone which was owned and curated by John Gilchriese in the early 1970s. The photo allegedly came out of the John Flood collection. John Flood being the mining engineer and friend of Earp who tried to write a successful book on Wyatt's life in the 1920s.
Here is long time photo collector and publisher emeritus of True West magazine, Robert G. McCubbin:
Bob McCubbin Weighs In
It is hard for me to accept the Gilchriese Museum story. I was there at its grand opening and I visited Gilchriese many times in Tucson and never saw this photo. I know that does not prove he did not have it, but it is an important fact to me. The story that it came from the Gilchriese collection (or from John Flood) is often used as provenance, but with nothing to back that up.
When I first saw the photo, I thought "the head is too big for the body to be Wyatt". Then I clicked on your site and your drawing is even that way. Then I looked at what should be a very comparable photo, the full standing profile of Wyatt near the Colorado River (p. 116 in your book on Wyatt, 4th edition), and it becomes even more evident. Again, the photo you sent does not have enough clarity to see his face, which can only be seen in profile, to make a judgement.
Now that I have seen a clearer copy of the photo, I find that his face is all in shadow! The entire identification is based on his ear! We have many photos of Wyatt's ear, and it doesn't even look right to me. His head is forward and down so much, I don't see how one can see his jaw line.
As I have said before in no way do I object to new photos being found. I love it when they are. But I want them to be authentic, not wishful thinking.
"A bad review hurts more than any good review feels good."
—Michael Ian Black, who's appearing at Changing Hands Bookstore tonight at 7 p.m.