True Crime Inspires Dreiser’s An American Tragedy

An American Tragedy

On this date in 1906, resort owners at the Big Moose Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York find an overturned boat and the body of Grace Brown. Chester Gillette is tried and convicted of murdering Brown, although he claimed her death was an accident. American writer Theodore Dreiser saves newspaper clippings about the case and uses them as inspiration for his novel An American Tragedy. The novel is later adapted into the film “A Place in the Sun,” starring Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Taylor.

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