1889 · [New York]
by BAILEY, Samuel A.
[New York]: Published by the Author, 1889. First edition, small octavo (19cm.); original brown decorative cloth stamped in gilt and black; 150pp.; engraved author portrait frontispiece; small losses to spine ends, textblock edges dampstained; still, Very Good and sound. Written during the author's 5-year sentence in Clinton Prison, New York, and self-published in the hopes that "If I can sell enough of my books to earn a living, the temptation that sometimes drives ex-convicts back to crime will, in my case at least, be removed, and I will again have a new start in life" (from the Introduction, p. 8). Describes Bailey's experiences in a gang of forgers and his multiple stays in prison. Also valuable for the writing's generous use of underworld and criminal slang: "I told him I had the boodle in my pocket, and I turned it over to him...I was very much afraid that Billy was going to 'do me dirt' by giving me the slip after I had got the boodle; and I was also afraid that 'Yaller' would punch me for not turning the dust over to him...However, I kept my 'lamps' pretty well peeled on both of them..." (p. 18). (Inventory #: 21473)