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Scholars Day 2005, Wednesday, April 13

A Dreadful Nuisance: The Strange Case of Ira Stout

On December 19, 1857, Ira Stout, a 23 year old college student, murdered his brother-in-law, Charles Littles in Rochester, NY. Stout’s fall down a cliff near High Falls resulting in broken limbs and the loss of key evidence while disposing of the body were just the beginning of the tragicomedy which entertained Rochester area readers over the next ten months. A variety of presented motives (incest, greed, spousal abuse, and alcoholism) for the crime sparked national attention. The resulting frequent newspaper coverage and Stout’s own prison poetry—reminiscent of the poetry of John Keats and Lord Byron—raised interest in his case. Rochester reformers—including Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and the Isaac Post family—united to save Stout. This presentation will raise an awareness of the short-lived writing career of Stout and how lessons learned during the Stout case came to positively impact the women’s rights, anti-slavery, and temperance campaigns.

Presenter: Rebekah Greene (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: English
Location: 120 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)