The Myth of Ephraim Tutt
Arthur Train and His Great Literary Hoax
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Let me begin by introducing myself: John Train, son of Arthur Train, and thus, as it were, stepbrother of Ephraim Tutt. When I was a boy, Eph Tutt practically lived in our house. He was always there, in that my father was usually thinking about the next Tutt story. He wrote them one after another, whereupon they reappeared ...
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This book would never have been written if it were not for Richard Hamm, who is responsible for introducing me to both Arthur Train and Ephraim Tutt. In addition to being a wonderful professor and instilling in me a lasting interest in the field of legal history, I will forever be grateful for his enthusiasm for this project and his assistance in tracking down the truth ...
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May 23, 1945, was a grueling day for the infantrymen of the Seventh Division. As “wind and rain lashed at the[ir] camou aged bodies,” they slowly advanced through mud and enemy fire to gain control of strategic hills on O kinawa Island, Japan. Servicemen stationed nearby reported trudging through a “stream of death,” as they faced some of the “fiercest fighting ...
1. Arthur Train
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On March 13, 1944, Atrhur Train was at the height of his literary career. His most recent book had become a best seller, and he could hardly believe the storm of publicity that surrounded it. Although his exact actions on that date have been lost to history, he likely followed his usual schedule and awoke early, dressed in his signature outfit—a dark blue pinstripe suit, ...
2. Yankee Lawyer: The Autobiography of Ephraim Tutt
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By the time Yankee Lawyer was finally published, America had been embroiled in World War II for two years. Those who remained at home were living in a world far different from the one that existed just years earlier. Rationing of common household goods was the norm—from meat, butter, canned vegetables, and sugar ...
3. The Cooperation of the Press
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One of the most outstanding characteristics of Arthur Train’s publication of Yankee Lawyer is that he somehow convinced major newspapers and other media across the United States to publish reviews that generally encouraged the idea that the book was written by Ephraim Tutt. In the realm of literary hoaxes, it is a rare occurrence for the media to know about a ...
4. Here We Go Again! [Includes Image Plates]
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Literary hoaxes have taken many appearances and have baffled society frequently enough to be considered “a dubious but at least time-honored human endeavor, probably as old as literature itself.” While one of the first is said to have taken place during the first century, when Philo Biblos manufactured sources for his history of Phoenicia, the appeal of publishing a “true” story ...
5. “As Popular as Pin-Up Girls”
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The confusion over Tutt’s existence proved a welcome distraction during the early 1940s as World War II was raging overseas, and Americans were prompted to actively join the hostilities after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a dire time, with a generation of Americans being sent across the globe to join the fight, meeting ruthless war tactics and conditions for ...
6. Mr. Tutt, the Celebrity
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By the 1940s Mr. Tutt, the fictional character, had become so famous that he was considered as popular, if not more so, than the celebrities of the day. Tutt was a household name, and his image was easily recognized because of the lifelike, practically photographic, sketches that accompanied Tutt stories. In 1945T rain surmised that “in all probability, Ephraim Tutt ...
7. Pygmalion and Frankenstein
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Six months after Yankee Lawyer was published, Arthur Train decided to issue a public statement addressing the bewilderment that plagued some of his readers. However, what response would be appropriate? To apologize would suggest that he intended to trick readers, but to take no responsibility for their confusion might cause even more agitation. Issuing any ...
8. Mr. Tutt’s Day in Court
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On March 2, 1943, before Yankee Lawyer was published, Train received a letter from the Albany Institute of History and Art, located in Albany, New York. At first blush, it appears the letter, from J. D. Hatch, the director of the institute, sought only to “complete our uncompleted business officially,” with respect to the sale ...
9. Life after Death
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While Train gamely dealt with all of the publicity and inquiries owing from Tutt’s autobiography, his health was quietly declining during the 1940s. At the time, Train was in his mid-sixties, and although he appeared to be robust and healthy, he suffered from intermittent illnesses. Perhaps these growing health concerns fueled his desire to complete a meticulous ...
10. Mr. Tutt at His Best
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The terrific publicity storm that burst forth with the publication of Yankee Lawyer and the resulting chaos over whether Tutt existed caused Tutt’s fame to continue to rise, even though Train was not around to continue writing about him. It did not seem to matter whether Tutt was real or not—people loved Tutt for the characteristics and ideals he represented. ...
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Several years ago, on a Sunday evening in the early summer, I walked at twilight to my friend’s home on West Sixty-Third Street. It was a gorgeous night. The temperature was mild and comfortable, and a breeze stirred the air every so often to diminish the heat that languished earlier in the day. As I approached the block on which my friend’s little brownstone was located, I noticed ...
Appendix: Arthur Train’s Books
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012