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Event spotlights the true, not-so-true stories of infamous gunfight

October 01, 2013

To spotlight the anniversary of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (October 26, 1881), the ASU Libraries is organizing a special event featuring a panel of experts, including author Ann Kirschner, ASU history professor Eduardo Pagán and Arizona Historical Society historian Bruce Dinges. 

Kirschner’s recently published book about Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife, Josephine Marcus Earp, provided the opportunity for ASU Libraries to develop this public program. Kirschner’s previous visit to ASU Libraries in 2007 was one of the most popular programs hosted at Hayden Library on the Tempe campus. An audio recording of this 2007 event is available online through the libraries' website. This time, two other distinguished speakers join the program.

Eduardo Pagán, the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at ASU, is an expert on American West who also serves as co-host for PBS’s popular program, "History Detectives." Bruce Dinges of the Arizona Historical Society, a longtime panelist for the Pima County Public Library’s Southwest Books of the Year, is editor-in-chief of The Journal of Arizona History.

Numerous books and movies were produced about the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral during the decades, but how realistically have the main characters been portrayed? Based on original documents preserved in libraries and archives, the speakers will revisit the events of this iconic episode in Arizona history and illustrate the actual lives of the frontiersmen and women. The life of Josephine Marcus Earp, the Jewish girl from New York who was romantically involved with two of the gunfight celebrities, will be at the center of the evening. A book signing will follow the panel discussion.

The event, True Stories and Tall Tales in the Old West: the Earps à la Bitter Herbs, is set to take place at 7 p.m., Oct. 8, at the beautifully restored historical building of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society in downtown Phoenix. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Free parking is available, and the Central and McDowell light rail stop is just a few yards from the event location.

The event is co-sponsored by ASU Libraries, the Arizona Jewish Historical Society and ASU’s Center for Jewish Studies.

RSVP online at

For more information, contact Rachel Leket-Mor of ASU Libraries at