Lot 65: DARROW, CLARENCE. Typed Letter Signed, to attorney Frank Spurlock, inviting him to join his defense team.
November 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: DARROW INVITES ATTORNEY TO HELP APPEAL VERDICT OF "SCOPES MONKEY TRIAL" DARROW, CLARENCE. Typed Letter Signed, to attorney Frank Spurlock, inviting him to join his defense team. 1 page, oblong 8vo, "Darrow, Smith, Cronson & Smith" stationery; folds touching signature (without loss), minor smudging to initial "C" of signature. (MRS) Chicago, 15 May 1926
"The argument in the Scoopes case has been [set] for the 31st. Can't you help? We can give you an hour for any place in you[r] argument that you want. We are to have three and a half hours on the side and of course I am very anxious to have you in as I always have been."
In January of 1925, Representative John Washington Butler introduced a bill to the TN House prohibiting the teaching of theories arguing that humans are descended from simpler creatures. Soon after the Butler bill became law in March, a young teacher in Dayton, TN--John Thomas Scopes--was indicted for violating the law. The "Scopes Monkey Trial," in which Clarence Darrow defended Scopes, ended in conviction, but Darrow's appeal, which began on May 31, 1925, resulted in the TN Supreme Court overturning the conviction--because of a legal technicality. It was not until 1968 that religious prohibitions in public schools were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Epperson v. Arkansas.