Lot 243 of 627:
Letter from murderer to W.C. Ralston  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$180
$300 - $500

Letter from Laura D. Fair, convicted murderer whose sentence was overturned, to William Chapman Ralston

Fair, Laura D.

San Francisco


March 9th, 1873


Autograph letter signed by Laura D. Fair. 16 lines, in ink, on small sheet of lined paper. 

Laura D. Fair, the defendant in a spectacular murder trial, writes to San Francisco banker and financier William Chapman Ralston: "...It being necessary that I should see you upon important business, (to myself at least), I desire to know whether you will call to see me, or whether you would prefer I should call at the Bank. I am at the Yosemite House, on Geary Street, No. 40½, Room 19, second floor from the street. If you call please come on Monday afternoon or night..." The thrice-married Fair (a bride at 16 and a widow at 17, she abandoned her second husband, and her third committed suicide), took up with a married man when she was 26, being assured by her paramour would soon divorce his wife. Learning that they had reconciled, she shot him in the heart on the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco. Her defense that the shooting was the result of temporary insanity caused by a severely painful menstrual cycle, was insufficient, and she was sentenced to hang. The verdict was appealed, with support from suffragettes, and overturned. The details of the lengthy affair, the murder, the trial, the conviction and the appeal were prime fodder for the newspapers of the day.

Lot Amendments

Very good condition.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail.  For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.