Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bonnie & Clyde History-- Under The Looking Glass Of Scrutiny

Why is integrity and genuineness important within history-- and surely within Bonnie & Clyde History??  Because without such common sense standards of excellence and candor, important elements of this history could be cheapened or lost-- with truth reduced to nonsensical layers of storytelling, and no way to tell truth from fantasy. 

Also without the promise of authenticity, artifacts often used to strengthen historical cause-- could be thought so common and non-defined, they would lack historical purpose-- and thus be rendered useless, concerning research and arriving at logical conclusions.  So instead of aiding in the search for truth-- questionable artifacts would muddy historical waters, and prove a hindrance to advancing knowledge-- rather than serving as a reliable and objective ally.

Enter the current Bonnie & Clyde debacle in Gibsland.  For those perhaps less familiar with this oft challenging history-- unfortunately, unlike many histories, the History of Bonnie & Clyde contains remarkably few physical links to it's past.  Many of it's physical structures are gone-- and even personal belongings routinely kept within families long term, in this case-- have been lost, destroyed or sold off.  Plus during the Depression Years, people seemingly had less to possess-- and therefore fewer things to pass on after the fact. 

Thus artifacts from the history of Bonnie & Clyde are highly coveted-- but the reality is, they are remarkably hard to locate if still exist at all??  In some cases, physical locations are known, with others still in question.  But amongst all of this, one thing is abundantly clear-- in many cases where Bonnie & Clyde structures once stood, some have been reduced to the land they once occupied.  Thus whatever remnants could be collected over time-- have mostly been collected long ago.

Such is the case with the Red Crown Tavern and structures at Dexfield Park-- and unfortunately, we've now lost Stringtown to fire.  This is also true, concerning Bonnie & Clyde's last hideout, known as the John Cole House in Sailes, LA.  Oddly enough, for those in the know-- the John Cole House apparently did not sit on land owned by John Cole.  According to Parish records, his land was located elsewhere in Sailes, but not particularly close to the 2 locations thought to be the hallowed hideout spot.  There's even a 3rd possibility, although not much call to support it.  Now there is debate over which of these locales was the correct one.  However until someone can reliably say there are more-- both of these locations have been scoured over the years by Bonnie & Clyde historians and researchers including yours truly, within research adventures-- in looking for whatever knowledge can be gleaned by modern visits to these locations.   

Apparently now, some think they can wheel out a seemingly endless supply of "locale pieces" as they're being called-- ie: bricks and rocks and add in odd swatches of clothing-- many without reliable provenance.. and of course, all for sale.  In Museums dedicated to history without reliance on merchandising-- almost assuredly, historical treasures would be found in display cases-- not lined up for purchase.  Thus it seems, some may view the newly acquired Ambush Museum in Gibsland-- as perhaps more of sales enterprise, with less emphasis on history than before.  The latest I've seen from Gibsland-- involves bobble heads now.  Not much history in those.. but for the right person.. somehow fun, I guess.         


And as far as this "prove it's not authentic" attitude now apparently being expressed.. I'm not sure you can find many people who protect the integrity of history-- who would back that level of provenance.  It doesn't work that way, at least not within the realm of legitimate history.  It works very much the other way around.  The purpose of provenance is to help prove truth.  It is not at all proper within the realm of historical artifacts, to ignore provenance and claim things authentic, well-- "because they are.. prove they're not".  For anyone to say something along those lines, and have that be the historical standard of authenticity for this or any other history-- well.. then we're really in trouble.

And if that were true-- anyone could bring pretty much anything to Christies or Sotheby's or any leading auction house.. and in offering artifacts, the attached description might read "Some guy says it's authentic and that's good enough for me-- so here it is".  That is "NOT" the case within the reality we should all find ourselves.  Simple as that. 

So concerning Gibsland-- is it good enough to point to all the artifacts now being "donated"??  OK.. so "who" donated them??-- and now let's look into provenance as it applies to those individuals ownership of them.  What are their source stories??.. and can sources be substantiated??  I'll tell you what-- I've known a considerable amount about the Ambush Museum for a good number of years now-- and wonder why that sort of "generosity" hasn't happened much before in such volume, in all the years that museum's been open??  It's surely remarkable.

My feeling is no Museum with the "right stuff", would make claims without valid provenance-- much less offer rarities for sale in large numbers.  Rarities for sale in large numbers???  Just doesn't sound right does it??  After all the decades of sites picked clean of physical remembrances (including Area A and Area B, as historians have named the 2 hideout spots)-- it doesn't make sense, there would be a flood of artifacts available so suddenly from one of these locations.. or other hallowed B&C spots also known to be void of souvenirs, right??  Well-- that's what many of us who care about this history are trying to figure out. 

As as far as the story now told, concerning Ambush Museum bricks supposedly being taken from the spot up in the hills off LA 154-- problem is, many Historians and loyal enthusiasts of this history have visited that spot many times over the years.  So it's with experience, that many know what's up there-- and what's not. And around those parts, when someone named Cole takes you anywhere-- it pays to know their 1st name and contact info, "and" be able to describe in detail, where the spot was with pictures.  For it's not as though, most of us don't travel with cameras on our phones.  

For the record, Professor Carroll Rich's Aunt was Mildred Cole.. (I'm sure familiar to some, as seen in the documentary "Remembering Bonnie & Clyde")--  who as a young woman visited the hideout while it was still standing.  It was my friend and friend to this history Carroll Rich, who told me where his Aunt said the John Cole house was.. the location he later visited in the 1970's. BTW-- that was at the other location off LA 516.

Regarding such a grouping of Bonnie & Clyde artifacts all showing up at the same time, when a certain newly-acquired Museum is expanding it's inventory of items for sale-- well, with so much known about sites being touted as giving so much now-- that needs to be explained.. as the odds of that being so, are very long indeed.


Some loyal to the Ambush Museum, their friends or even legal representatives might ask who are these Bonnie & Clyde historical-types now messing with our new-found miracles??  Well, some are Bonnie & Clyde History family members.. some are noted researchers and historians who "know" the sites these supposed artifacts are said to have come from-- and some are Bonnie & Clyde Historians like myself.. who both know the sites and have participated in Bonnie & Clyde research, as part of some of the best alliances available.

And what claim do I have to question this controversy?? A fair question perhaps for some.  So as to satisfy anyone interested and to save time-- some questions.. with answers.

Do I possess knowledge of Bonnie & Clyde History enough to qualify me to comment-- based on prolific research and clinical participation within this history??  Goodness, I would think so. 

Do I myself, own authentic artifacts related to Bonnie & Clyde History, and thus understand both the difficulties involved in finding them-- and forensic processes used in determining truth in provenance??  Yes I do. 

Among my Bonnie & Clyde treasures are, a Bonnie poem obtained from Blanche Barrow's Estate/ a rare working version of "The Story Of Bonnie & Clyde" titled "The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde".. a poem found within Blanche's personal effects.  Also "The Bonnie & Clyde Signatures".. to date, the only dual Bonnie & Clyde signatures deemed true to the best standards documented so far.  Also, Billie Parker Moon's copy of her unpublished manuscript.. which came to me via Blanche's Estate with permission of the Parker family.
Yours truly at the National Museum of Crime in Washington, D.C.-- with authentic Bonnie & Clyde artifacts. 

Original documents, photographs and many other personal effects of Blanche Barrow's-- wonderful and interesting items, including things Blanche collected while serving time in prison for her Bonnie & Clyde exploits.  Among those items, the famous olden Christmas Card-- used to house Blanche's notes from prison, transcribed to create the only Barrow Gang member record of their bloody adventures.  This Blanche artifact-- may also contain one of the only surviving "Blanche Barrow" signatures available.  All of which I obtained, from Blanche's Executrix and close friend. Now in fairness, I have detailed the provenance for my key Bonnie & Clyde artifacts.  Now let's see others follow suit.    

I always enjoy speaking with the Bonnie & Clyde faithful-- especially at a venue, such as the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit in Washington.. "and" with real Bonnie & Clyde artifacts present to comment on. 

Do I also have pieces of Bonnie & Clyde locations??  Sure.  These include a vertical section of the rear door frame from the Pritchard House (Wellington Incident).  A door frame immortalized, as perhaps having a gun mounted above it.. where Gladys Cartwright was thought to have been reaching, when W.D. decided to end any thought of that with a shot.  BTW-- Gladys later denied she was reaching for the gun.. but rather the latch on the door.  

Also numerous other pieces of Bonnie & Clyde historical sites.. like a piece of floor/ with that quite distinct tile pattern from the Lancaster Bank.  Bricks from various locations which I can verify.  Even a piece of what I believe is the foundation of The John Cole House, Bonnie & Clyde's last hideout.  Did I say that??  And so do I believe I've stood on the spot the house attributed to John Cole's ownership once stood??  Based on research, and on behalf of Bonnie & Clyde History-- with feet having been anchored firmly in the Louisiana dirt??  Yes-- I do believe that.

A rare image/ olden Blanche Barrow Christmas card used to house Blanche's writings from prison.  An image viewed within a Bonnie & Clyde documentary, keying on Blanche's knowledge of The Barrow Gang.  This, a scan of the actual and quite beautiful card.  Provenance on this item couldn't be more solid. 

So do I have call to comment on this controversy??  I would think most would agree I do.  BTW-- I still haven't heard from the principals involved, regarding my offer to publish their defense against allegations made, concerning recently reported marketing of said suspect Bonnie & Clyde artifacts.  Silence is important in life.. both when used for emphasis, and also to highlight an inability.  So I wonder.. which is the case here?? 

Also, I'm not sure why some feel I made these allegations??  Well, that's certainly not true.  I'm not the person who sparked this uproar, by publicly revealing "eyewitness" accounts, and thus inspired considerable and passionate debate-- publicly displayed on Facebook and other B&C venues, long before I began commenting on this controversy. 

So how my reporting on this (and who honestly thought some within this history wouldn't comment??)-- has somehow escalated to my being involved in accusations, is a mystery to me.  Compared to the multitude of Facebook and private site messages which have been posted, deleted, exchanged and passed about-- I feel my opinions rather tame.  I am reporting on and providing qualified opinion on this hullabaloo-- for the benefit of this history.  The same qualified opinion I've exercised, concerning many Bonnie & Clyde historical issues for years. 

So if someone wishes to make life more difficult for me over this-- please know, I will fight back vehemently over my right to express opinion on such a remarkable charge-- which absolutely has an impact on this history.  Some may wish to silence others-- but I would think it more effective to refute charges, back provenance and move on.. rather than have this fester as a sore spot for Bonnie & Clyde History.             

Speaking of silence-- what does silence mean concerning this issue??  I would think as serious allegations have been made-- at some point, a response from the individuals accused would be graciously forthcoming.  How can one not defend, and willingly not go on record when so accused??  And if no response is forthcoming-- is it fair to conclude no defense can be offered??  I guess that's for each person who cares about this history-- to decide for themselves.

Not just a human rights campaign-- but also "the" optimal statement, for all who care about history.. like Bonnie & Clyde History.

And let me finish, by saying something about those who are now defending an entity accused of impropriety seemingly without objective review.. and who it appears, take pride in bashing those with poignant cause to comment, by wasting mucho time in being followers of a few-- and with those few, apparently letting their "EL GRANDE'" egos, get in the way of serious discussion concerning this history.  Egos??  Followers??  No rocking the boat now.. with some apparently contributing their own products to sell, along with those accused of Bonnie & Clyde malcontent??  Why do those things have anything to do with Bonnie & Clyde History?? 

Right.. "they don't".

But also a word to those who care to comment plenty fine, concerning defending this history within closed forums, where nary an opponent can see-- but who "clam up" when it comes to commenting on forums with greater access.  What is that"??  Want to help make a difference??.. then I would suggest doing so for real, not just practice.  Private groups seem built for cheer leading and mutual admiration.  However, the rubber hits the road on public forums-- and as such, it would be nice to see comment beyond Facebook here, and on other B&C venues with public access.  

And you know-- if those at the new museum would look about at the floor in the area where so much for sale now covers it-- they could point out to folks visiting, the marks signifying the location of seating at Rosa Canfield's Cafe. Who knows.. could be the very spot Clyde rested, while waiting for food that fateful morning.  Just a point of interest, it might be nice for folks focused on this history.. to know.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Questions Concerning New Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum Revisited-- Quick Link to Post

A revised and consolidated look at this controversy-- now with offers to help learn the truth-- and make this circumstance right again for Bonnie & Clyde History. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bonnie & Clyde Summer 2015 Rewind-- Whatever Happened To Mary O'Dare??

I used to do this more often.. re-post articles commented on over time, or with poignancy re: Bonnie & Clyde History.  As I've heard recently, from a number of folks well known to this history concerning the Mary O'Dare post from 3 years ago-- I thought I'd Que this one up again, for those new to the blog or missed this post the 1st time around. 

There are a number of research investigations I feel most proud of, in uncovering new Bonnie & Clyde info.  This is one of them.  Got to speak with Jimmy Ray Gillman at length a few weeks back, for the 1st time in a while.  One of "Tres Amigos"-- along with Tom Methvin and myself.  Jimmy Ray is surely one of the greatest Bonnie & Clyde researchers and historians-- in having thought to interview as many folks related to Bonnie & Clyde History as possible, years ago.. while the 1st generation people were still with us-- and 2nd generation folks were young and talking.  "And"-- video tape them. 

Within our conversation, JR said he thought the Mary O'Dare piece was the greatest one I've done.  High praise indeed, from a master researcher-- "Thank you" man. 
There are revelations garnered within this history I am equally proud of-- but in finally learning the fate of Mary O'Dare after 77 years of this history not knowing.. this was and still is, a special piece to me.  For those who have expressed such kind words concerning this one over the years.. "Many thanks". 

So on with the rewind.  Link is here.  Enjoy!!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Tonya Holly's Bonnie & Clyde Movie Dosen't See The Light of Day.. But A Movie Based On "Go Down Together" Might?? "Oh The Injustice"!!


A post to say this..  With thanks to ib12541 who made me aware of this link.. 

For years Tonya Holly (bless her)-- has strived to make a Bonnie & Clyde movie based on true history.. a history much more interesting than adaptations Hollywood and others have told.  However the stark and sobering realities of funding and intellectual property control (things surely more related to egos and $$, rather than history)-- have prevented what has been a most noble cause from becoming "the" Bonnie & Clyde movie.   

Then a "hired gun" writer, who's written on a variety of seemingly unrelated topics.. everything from The Dallas Cowboys to Santa Claus/ 3 books on Santa including an autobiography??.. ("Yeah man")-- who then "moved on" from B&C History, for another quick jaunt at The OK Coral-- and backed by a major-league publisher in supporting one of their stable riders-- puts out a book causing a sensation, although a sensation largely self-promoted. 

A book from an historical perspective which leaves much to be desired.. "and" authored by a man who apparently believes (although conveniently when scrutinized)-- in telling me so famously now, that "All written history is ultimately best guess, and clearly you and I have guessed differently in some instances".  Man.. that still doesn't work, I'm sorry-- and surely leaves "lot's 'o room" for supposition and sensational "creativity" without any need for historical diligence-- yes it does.  In effect, an all encompassing statement of protection-- which allows for limitless falsities to equal truth.     

"Go Down Together" contains a millisecond by millisecond account of the ambush fueled by a report lacking expertise.  A vengeful Hamer assassination of an already dead Bonnie, from the right side of the car without objective evidence of such.  Bonnie being a prostitute/ as she surely couldn't have lived so well?? on just her toil as a waitress-- and with this claim based on writings non-verified with provenance "absolutely" false.  I can still recall as if yesterday, Jonathan Davis running into me in Gibsland-- and before I could get the words out of my mouth, his saying "I know what you're going to ask.. and no, those poems didn't come from Marie". I believe I said to Jonathan in return.. "I know.. thank you". 

Then there's the famous Bonnie & Clyde photo attributed within "Go Down Together".. to a citizen amateur photographer who it's said was Squirrel hunting with his dog, and happened upon Bonnie & Clyde in the woods in Mangham, Louisiana.  Funny.. others apparently interviewed Mr. Brunson without
Mr. Brunson relating that story.  Anyway-- this story is quoted in "Go Down Together" as follows..

"After Clyde took a picture of the boy with Bonnie:  Brunson told me "thirty years later or more I got a letter.. and the negatives of those two pictures were in the letter.  I did away with them and the letter.  I didn't want to be involved with the Barrow Gang no way.  I figure after the ambush, (Bonnie's) family was giving away her personal things and they was stuck in a box in the attic or something for years.  Then somebody looked in the box, saw the camera had film in it, and got that film developed.  They saw my address and sent the negatives.  I guess I should have kept them". 

Yes, RIP Mr. Brunson, you should have.. for as I figure it-- that story lacks both an element of common sense, and bucks what we know as the outcome for Bonnie's belongings.  Why would a camera with film have been returned to the families from the death car??  How would the families know Mr. Brunson's name or where he lived??  You mean Bonnie & Clyde left a note along with the camera and film, saying please send pics to Robert Brunson after our deaths.. he can be reached at this address.  And BTW-- we know now through a family account, that Bonnie's things were destroyed by Aunt Pat Plummer apparently in retaliation for a tiff with Billie Parker, who had entrusted Pat to keep them safe. 

"And".. it's surely a good thing-- someone printed copies of the "picnic" photo from the negative, prior to Mr. Brunson having a change of heart and doing away with those negatives.  But you know, that other negative (the one with Mr. Brunson and Bonnie)-- would've proven his story.  It is remarkable-- how many with Bonnie & Clyde stories, cannot produce proof they say they once had.  A 7th man at the ambush who filmed it all.. Bonnie & Clyde tortured and killed elsewhere-- only to be placed in the death car and shot up for the reward money.  So why would an ambush need to be staged for reward $$??  Right.. and with proof as within other examples, miraculously unavailable when needed-- or with closely-held but dubious knowledge, offered only for some sort of twisted historical ransom.

For that tortured Bonnie & Clyde info-- I was asked to sign a lawyer's release and agree to agree with everything said, before being told of secrets already revealed??@$^%!??  Of course I refused.  Then came the desperate play, usually heard in more human dramas.. "well if I can't have things my way and without criticism, I'll just destroy the evidence so no one will ever know".  My response was "OK.. you win"-- and "If you really have something of value concerning this history, you should share it willingly-- for the benefit all who care about this history".  But it seems, some feel they're going to get rich on Bonnie & Clyde History if they play their cards right.  You mean like with "Go Down Together"??  Did I say that??  Folks.. regarding certain stories related about this history and some who market them-- I swear this stuff is true.          

Did Robert Brunson take this famous Bonnie & Clyde photo in the woods of Louisiana??  The Jury's still out on this one. 

So getting back to Mr. Brunson and his story-- now on a site concerning Mr. Brunson, it can be read.. "believed to have been the last person to visit with the famous bank robbers, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. He accidentally met them near his boyhood home while squirrel hunting. His dog bayed them at their hideout in the woods. Robert met and talked with them for approximately twenty minutes on May 21, 1934. Mr. Brunson has been interviewed by two book authors- Paul Schneider of Flordia and Jeff Guinn of Fort Worth, Texas".

"Yep"-- the affect of conscientious reporting.. by an author with seemingly extraordinary talents at taking a story related, and without additional research noted-- weaving such story into the gospel according to "Go Down Together".  Want additional proof of this book's value to Bonnie & Clyde History??.. just Google Bonnie Parker, prostitute.

With that said.. from my viewpoint-- a movie based on "Go Down Together" with all it represents and doesn't represent-- well, that just doesn't seem right for this history.  Truth we need.. fodder we don't.  Time for another reminder of just how much Jeff Guinn has done for this history, from his 'ol pal on The B&CHB??  He has done something for this history.. right??


Monday, July 6, 2015

Concerning Supposed Bonnie & Clyde Artifacts.. Can Cool Provenance Be Trumped By An Even Greater Reality??

Screen shot of Byram Dollar signatures as posted on Facebook.

Sometimes, in defending Bonnie & Clyde History and also in caring about people and families.. one can end up "between a rock and a hard place"-- a place I seemingly find myself now.  So how do you defend the integrity of this history-- and not throw cold water on a family story passed down through generations??  I'm not sure-- but I'll give it the 'ol college try.  And I know one thing-- unlike some Bonnie & Clyde Cliquey groups of mutual admirer, hate whomever the enemy is this week types-- I will not shy away from controversy, in choosing to publish uncommon opinions, stories and otherwise off the beaten path possibilities for this history.  As such, "status quo be damned"-- and on with this post.          

For purposes here today-- I'll call these the Byram Dollar Bonnie & Clyde Signatures after Andrea and Tony Byram, who own the Silver Certificate pictured above.  But are these signatures revealed on the Net recently the real McCoys?? "Ah".. that is the question.  I get many calls and e-mails each year, concerning helping authenticate Bonnie & Clyde signatures thought genuine.  Why??  I would think, because the pair of Bonnie & Clyde signatures I own, have been painstakingly scrutinized and authenticated to the highest standards practicable-- short of positively having watched Bonnie & Clyde sign their names.  Thus-- many find my knowledge of this subject useful to their cause.

And without the need to re-print an already well-documented record of my authentication, methodology, experts etc-- a link will suffice.  So for those interested in learning of the complete quest (up to now)-- to authenticate my pair of Bonnie & Clyde signatures.. link is here--  

So when Bonnie & or Clyde signatures pop up.. and I don't mean bogus ones found at memorabilia signature mills without provenance, signed on the torn fly leaves of olden books, and "authenticated" by known "Hey that signature looks good"/ certify anything for a price, self-aggrandizing experts-- I'll often do what I can to help.

Screen shot of Byram authenticator's report as posted on Facebook.

Also without a long to do re: the current war 'o words and tactics of the Bonnie & Clyde periphery-- who's best attribute for this history it seems, is their vociferous knack to be rude and incendiary-- here are my thoughts concerning these signatures.

It Always Seems To Come Down To Bonnie's Signature.

Genuine Clyde Barrow signatures although quite rare, have more examples to view than Bonnie's-- with many Clyde signatures appearing on official law enforcement records.  However concerning real Bonnie signatures-- there are but few authentic Bonnie expressions of her name to behold.  One set, with for some unknown reason-- a "number" of Bonnie signatures present-- appear on "The Street Girl".. an unpublished Bonnie poem owned by master collector and lifetime Bonnie & Clyde aficionado Steve Haas.  This poem has iron-clad provenance, as a Parker family-held treasure-- having been in Billie Parker Moon's possession at the time of her passing. 

And to give proper prudence to thinking outside the box re: "The Street Girl" signatures-- some might wonder whether Billie herself may have toyed with writing her beloved sister's name on the poem she possessed??  A novel idea-- however those who have samples of Billie's handwriting including myself, know that quite unusually.. although right handed-- Billie wrote with a backwards slant as if left handed.  Not the case with the Bonnie signatures evident there.    

"The Street Girl" Bonnie signatures.
Interestingly-- both the Bonnie signatures visible on "The Street Girl" and on my dual Bonnie & Clyde signatures-- appeared publicly for the 1st time I believe within the same year (2006).  Prior to that, Bonnie & Clyde Historian Jimmy Ray Gillman had preserved an Ebay image of a pair of Bonnie & Clyde signatures.. signed to Don Wills on a Mitchell & Hale Pharmacy item of some sort.  That Pharmacy was noted to have been located in McKinney, Texas.  So as far as Bonnie signatures thought authentic, with the same characteristics as the beyond reproach family example-- until others surface which can stand up to the spotlight of scrutiny.. "that seems to be it"

Barrow Star Filling Station Bonnie & Clyde Signatures-- signatures I've been proud to own since 2006.

The Bonnie Parker Missouri Highway Patrol Fingerprint Card-- The "Wild Card" In All This.

Then there's a Bonnie signature, which appears on a mysterious fingerprint card never authenticated.  The story on this rumored fingerprint record goes as follows..  Bonnie's prints and signature were said obtained when Bonnie was jailed in Kemp, Texas.  However, many including current lawmen are quick to point out-- that unlike a legitimate fingerprint record.. this supposed fingerprint card, contains none of the usual Police identifiers which should be present.  It is in effect "a blank" but with faint prints visible and a signature.

Bonnie Parker Missouri Highway Patrol Fingerprint Card.

And just how did whatever this card is  get to Missouri, if indeed prints were taken in Texas??  Good question.  Supposedly,  Ed Portley Chief of Detectives in Joplin requested it-- as part of his investigation into the Joplin Apartment shootings.  However-- no record of this request or copy of the card, appear within the current inventory of Joplin Bonnie & Clyde files.  But rather, as close to an original as exists-- can be found in of all places The Missouri Highway Patrol Museum.  As part of my signatures investigation-- I was able to convince the kind folks there, to remove the Missouri fingerprint cards of both Bonnie & Clyde from their display case and scan them for me.  Yes, there's a fingerprint card there for Clyde too-- although Clyde was never arrested in Missouri.  Go figure.   

Anyway-- that Bonnie signature (the Bonnie Highway Patrol signature)-- a signature surely different from ones derived from a family source deemed most authentic.. "that" Bonnie signature with the block capital letters-- is apparently the signature most forgers prefer.. even though there are verifiable and authentic Bonnie signatures to view.. (again, go figure).  And the problem I have with the Byram signatures in part-- is their Bonnie signature, seemingly resembles the Highway Patrol signature.. a signature believed non-authentic. 

J. Edgar Hoover personally spearheaded a search for the Kemp Bonnie signature card in 1934 within Kaufman County-- and also within his Bureau of Investigation, where a copy was said to have been sent.  But Hoover's search was to no avail-- causing him to comment that apparently, this Bonnie Parker fingerprint card does not exist within legal channels. 
So even though a lawman said involved in dealing with an incarcerated Bonnie, stated he took Bonnie's prints-- without any record being found fresh in '34 or when I and I'm sure others have searched for it as well-- that declaration by the Texas lawman, could've been a case of CYA.

One more point re: the Highway Patrol signature.  I've considered the possibility-- that if the Kemp fingerprint card was a true record although shoddily made, which somehow slipped though the cracks-- that Bonnie may have shrewdly signed her name falsely to snooker the law.  However with someone like Hoover with his power and reach, personally directing a search for this record and not finding it.. it seems that fact documented withing the Dallas FBI files speaks for itself.  Plus then-- when asked for her signature by an admirer as the story goes here.. why wouldn't Bonnie give her true signature-- as she had in at least 2 other instances known.  I surely wish we had Bonnie here to ask about this.    

Mitchell & Hale Pharmacy signatures.  To my knowledge, no one knows the whereabouts of these Bonnie & Clyde signatures.  I for one.. believe these signatures to be authentic. 

Then, there's a matter of "authenticators".  

Concerning the authentication of my signatures-- I went to great lengths to choose experts with both stellar and untarnished reputations.  Thus I chose handwriting expert Emily J. Will, fresh from her famous debunking of the George W. Bush National Guard Papers. 

The McCrone Group of Chicago-- chosen by world experts, to analyze The Shroud of Turin and who authenticated The Lost Gospel of Judas.. they performed the Microscopy-- with my expert having been among the leaders of the Lost Gospel of Judas investigation.  Joe Barabe is also an expert in ferreting out forgeries. He performed chemical ink analysis, which identified all the components of the ink in dating the ink to the correct time period-- was able to identify 2 distinct and different depths of impressions made by 2 different nib widths from 2 different fountain pens concerning my signatures when signed.  And yes-- Clyde's pressure in signing was greater than Bonnie's. 

And I must say a decided chill went through me-- when I learned only when standing in the McCrone building.. that Mr. Barabe would begin with the assumption of forgery, and work toward proving legitimacy should that be the case.  Just the opposite of what I'd anticipated.  A tough and uncompromising group there-- surely not easy on the nerves.            

I also had the benefit of 6 antique business machine specialists, who identified the paper my signatures are written on and rare source of it-- along with The Smithsonian in searching for a like piece of Comptometer or antique columned cash register receipt tape (consistent with use in a gas station, such as the Barrow filling station).   

I even had the advantage of a Barrow family admission not previously known-- concerning why Clyde would've tagged his name as he did within my signatures, by signing Dallas, Texas below his name.  A trait those who knew him within his lifetime understood-- and was revealed to me as to why Clyde sometimes chose to sign like that, but not always.  So a "cherry-studded" detail no forger would know-- along with meticulous handwriting analysis and forensic testing, which all-in--all-- formed a composite strength of authentication.  Even as such-- Bonnie's signature is "so" very rare, Ms. Will being as tough as she is professionally, had difficulty in certifying Bonnie's signature with the assurance of Clyde's.  But in being so convinced by Clyde's script-- logically Bonnie's script would need to follow with Clyde's deemed so strong.

Fake Bonnie & Clyde signatures sold through a memorabilia outlet, using the Bonnie Highway Patrol signature as exemplar.

By contrast, the Byrams used but one authenticator-- where an easy search of the Web, revealing some interesting and potentially troubling reports-- which would surely give me pause.  Apparently some have reason to question this gentleman's pedigree as a document examiner.  Are these accusations true??  Don't know-- and I can't speak for some.. however just the fact negativity can be found-- would be troubling to me in attempting to verify signatures as rare as Bonnie & Clyde's. 

It was further pointed out to me in defense of the Byram signatures-- that not everyone signs their name the same way every time.  To some degree that may be true-- but for Bonnie to change from a most artistic "and verifiable" capital letter expression to that of plain caps which "do not" ("they don't")-- match known and accepted Bonnie examples, flies in the face of logic to me.

Maybe Bonnie was having a bad day, or was upset over something to the point of just saying "Screw it-- I'll just sign like this today"??  I won't say it couldn't have been that way, as I am one to allow for unique possibilities within this history-- but is that likely, in having other reliable samples which have consistent characteristics to work with??  I'm not sure one could make that case.  With it's block caps.. the Byram Bonnie signature looks similar to the Bonnie Highway Patrol signature.. so often used by forgers on inexpensively sold signatures, without snowball's chance in hell of being real.  For me.. a very large concern.

Quite suspect copies patterned from my signatures.  Rather than a mishmosh of Bonnie & Clyde signatures.. someone it seems, finally had the guts to try a forgery using good examples. Now what's the provenance on this??  And nice purple paper.  Now let's test that ink.  Olden ink is considerably different in composition, than inks mass produced short years later.  Plus when signatures like this are offered for just a few hundred bucks-- "buyer beware".. for real ones could be offered at Sotheby's for $$ it would take to put down on a house.  So why don't some memorabilia outlets offer "rare" signatures through quality auction houses to maximize their money??  They can't.      

But can provenance overrule logic??

Maybe-- but the provenance better be good.. and in the Byram case it seems good.  The Byram story goes that Mr. Byram's Grandmother owned a restaurant in Bowling Green, Missouri in the late '20's and early '30's.  It's said Bonnie & Clyde ate there, and signed the $1 silver Certificate which was given to the cook.. with the bill subsequently kept until 1971, when it was given to Mr. Byram.  Could Bonnie & Clyde have visited Bowling Green, Missouri??  Of course.  But can a story handed down over time, stand up to a signature which both doesn't match accepted examples-- "and" which resembles a signature, thought with a high degree of probability to be both non-authentic and non-verifiable?? 

Another point to consider here-- is I'm not sure many accounts exist of The Barrow Gang having sat down to eat in places, where they couldn't control their surroundings.  There are stories however, of them taking food to go.  A small detail I know.. but could be important here.  Perhaps the Byrams meant Bonnie & Clyde stopped by briefly to take their food to go??  I'm not sure it can be reliably proven-- that Bonnie & Clyde who were wanted for kidnapping and murder, would pull up a chair and enjoy a meal, within the confines of 4 walls with others present as you or I would.  What if the Sheriff and his Deputy happened by??  Many as well as themselves, could've been killed within a friendly meal gone wrong.            

Another Bonnie & Clyde fake.  I just love when photos of forgeries offered for sale, are out of focus.  Makes seeing what they are, that much clearer.  

Seems to me, the battleground here-- involves family provenance passed down as word of mouth, vs a Bonnie signature which within that provenance "should" match the best examples known.. but doesn't.  Could a more thorough forensic examination be performed to make a difference??  Yes it could, and I would encourage such for the benefit of all.  Would make for a stronger case, which should be the goal-- provided one can get past Bonnie's capital letters issue, in being contrary to an example held by the Parker family-- which does match 2 other examples with good backing. 

It is surely not my intention to be impolite to either the Byrams or their authenticator.  So am I doubting the Byram's family story as provenance for their signatures??.. I am trying my best not to, but this is where this challenge gets tough for me.  I am a people and family person-- and as such, would also defend a story passed down to me by loved ones I trust.. wouldn't you??  As such, I would welcome any alternative solution for this one.  It seems when authenticating signatures "so" very rare.. the extra mile needs to be traveled with focused diligence employed-- and to my way of thinking, that hasn't been the case here. 

So many have stories of having interacted with Bonnie & Clyde during their reign of terror.  And even police records have Bonnie & Clyde sightings in seemingly multiple places at once.  W. D. Jones even commented to the effect, people seemingly thought The Barrow Gang was everywhere.  I would think eye-witness accounts fueled by excitement and bordering on mass-hysteria-- would've been helpful in ways to The Barrow Gang-- for it would have the law scurrying every which way looking them.. which they were.  However in reality, true Bonnie & Clyde sightings were likely many fewer than remembered.       

Concerning The Byram Bonnie & Clyde signatures-- my feeling is, in order to support their family story and advance toward a move definitive conclusion, more needs to be done-- for to have only a story of provenance and somewhat cursory forensic examination may not be enough.  And rather than attacks leveled my way by some, with their own serious issues of impropriety to deal with concerning their conduct within this history (wrong allies for the Byrams)-- good & positive energy should be harnessed to work harder toward authentication.  As I see it, my job here isn't to rubber-stamp Bonnie & Clyde History-- but rather, have an inquiring mind-- and the character to maintain a level of decency and truth, concerning such an outstanding history.

Let me lastly say, those who roll out potential artifacts and supposed stories concerning this history-- and then try to control commentary and limit dissent-- are riding a slippery slope when it comes to their participation within Bonnie & Clyde History.  For those who on one side or another are stewards of this historical journey-- will in no way shape or form, be controlled by those seeking to enhance truth or change it-- without a serious examination of the facts involved.  Those who enter this arena, need to face the realization-- that being scrutinized is a way of life here.  "Welcome" to Bonnie & Clyde History.