Untold Stories

by John J. Miller on January 27, 2011

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

The name of the man accused of altering a Lincoln document at the National Archives appears in The First Assassin. In an author’s note, I list several of my sources–including The Story the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell, by Thomas P. Lowry. The book describes prostitution in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. It contains a list of dens of ill repute. When my story required the name of a whorehouse, I chose one from the pages of Lowry’s book.

From The First Assassin:

Clark hustled across Pennsylvania Avenue and stood on the same corner, at Tenth Street, where Davis and Stephens had had their quick debate. He spotted them half a block away. Davis removed a wallet from his pocket, opened it, counted his cash, and handed a few notes to Stephens. The two men looked at each other and grinned, then entered an establishment called Madam Russell’s Bake Oven.

With that, Clark knew how Davis and Stephens intended to spend their second night in Washington. He had never been inside Madam Russell’s Bake Oven, but he knew that nobody visited it for the cooking.

For what it’s worth, I don’t have any concerns about the accuracy of this name. I believe it to be authentic, despite the charges now hanging over Lowry. Even if it’s not authentic, it’s good enough for my purposes–and novelists are allowed to make things up.

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