J. Mark Beamis Endorses Jesse James Soul Liberty

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ENDORSEMENT by J. MARK BEAMIS…Mark is the son of Joan Beamis who authored the first genealogy of the Jesse James family Background of a Bandit, first published by the Kentucky Historical Society in 1970, and replicated by others since. He and his mother are first cousins of Frank & Jesse James. Mark has just written the following, highly personal endorsement. The files Mark references are his mother’s original research files for her book. The opening chapter of Jesse James Soul Liberty addresses Joan’s first attempts to learn of her own relationship to the outlaws Frank & Jesse James, after her father let the cat out of the bag through a slip of the tongue.

“I first learned of Eric James and his literary endeavors in late 2002, early 2003. My uncle told me about him, as Eric had contacted him while doing research on his book, Jesse James Soul Liberty. He referred him to me as my mother had compiled over many years of research a voluminous amount of material concerning the ‘famous’ outlaw Jesse James and his connection to our family.

“As my mother had passed away several years earlier, I was carting around these boxes with really no clue as to what was in them. To make a long story short, I sent him over 40 lbs. of documents in the Spring of 2003. Thanks to his detailed knowledge of the subject matter, and his expert skills as a writer and researcher, I’ve learned more about my mother’s work and my family than I ever dreamed possible.

“Reading preliminary drafts of his chapters on my mother and her work has moved me to tears, and I have had no qualms about donating all of her research and source material to him for safekeeping. He’s a very interesting and talented man, and I endorse him without reservation.”

J. Mark Beamis, October 9, 2012


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From Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Daniel Lewis James Jr. writes to a newspaper, also under his pen name of Danny Santiago, about the credit for the Broadway hit "Bloomer Girl." Dan cites Yip Harburg:

To the Editors:

It was belatedly called to my attention that in the John Gregory Dunne article of August 16 on the James/Santiago story, I seem not to have given full credit to my collaborators on the 1944 musical comedy Bloomer Girl. Regrettably this oversight of mine was compounded by the newspapers which only partially reprinted Dunne's piece.

The facts in brief are as follows: the originator of the story idea from which the musical grew was my wife, Lilith James, who charmingly chose the perversities of Fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Women's Rights movement. She also developed the principal characters. I joined her in writing a first draft of the libretto. It failed to satisfy our lyricist, E.Y. Harburg, and Harold Arlen, the composer. It also failed to satisfy us. An impasse developed at which point all agreed to call in the team of Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy who were experienced writers in the field of musical comedy. They reworked the material to the satisfaction of everyone but Lilith and myself, who had hoped to invade Gilbert & Sullivan territory, with what we thought was a light-hearted paradoxical look at history. What I took for a personal artistic failure for which I blamed first of all myself, went on to become a lavish entertainment which played on Broadway for eighteen months and has since often been revived in summer theater. If I was not delighted, audiences certainly were and full credit for this should be given to Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy (now deceased) without whom the production would never have taken place.

I deeply regret that this clarification will reach only a fraction of those who read John Gregory Dunne's piece and its successors.

Dan James/Danny Santiago
Carmel, CaliforniaApril 8, 1896: The great American popular song lyricist Yip Harburg was born on this date in 1896! Yipper worked with many well-known composers. He wrote the lyrics to the standards "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "April in Paris," and "It's Only a Paper Moon," as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including "Over the Rainbow." He was known for the social commentary of his lyrics, as well as his liberal sensibilities. He also championed racial and gender equality and union politics.
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From Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, Daniel Lewis James Jr. writes to a newspaper, also under his pen name of Danny Santiago, about the credit for the Broadway hit Bloomer Girl. Dan cites Yip Harburg:

 To the Editors:

It was belatedly called to my attention that in the John Gregory Dunne article of August 16 on the James/Santiago story, I seem not to have given full credit to my collaborators on the 1944 musical comedy Bloomer Girl. Regrettably this oversight of mine was compounded by the newspapers which only partially reprinted Dunnes piece.

The facts in brief are as follows: the originator of the story idea from which the musical grew was my wife, Lilith James, who charmingly chose the perversities of Fashion to dramatize the early struggles of the Womens Rights movement. She also developed the principal characters. I joined her in writing a first draft of the libretto. It failed to satisfy our lyricist, E.Y. Harburg, and Harold Arlen, the composer. It also failed to satisfy us. An impasse developed at which point all agreed to call in the team of Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy who were experienced writers in the field of musical comedy. They reworked the material to the satisfaction of everyone but Lilith and myself, who had hoped to invade Gilbert & Sullivan territory, with what we thought was a light-hearted paradoxical look at history. What I took for a personal artistic failure for which I blamed first of all myself, went on to become a lavish entertainment which played on Broadway for eighteen months and has since often been revived in summer theater. If I was not delighted, audiences certainly were and full credit for this should be given to Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy (now deceased) without whom the production would never have taken place.

I deeply regret that this clarification will reach only a fraction of those who read John Gregory Dunnes piece and its successors.

Dan James/Danny Santiago
Carmel, California

Caleb Wallace was well known to John M. James. Their acquaintance formed during the 10 conventions at Danville that led to the formation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In 1807, John M. James served in the state legislature, during the period when Humphrey Marshall brought charges against him, Judge Harry Innes, and Judge Benjamin Sebastian, alleging they tried to sell Kentucky to Spain, in the affair dubbed "The Spanish Conspiracy." These stories will be told in great detail in Volume II of JJSL, This Bloody Ground. ... See MoreSee Less

Do you know the #1 state where JJSL is banned? ... See MoreSee Less

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