Narrative of the Life of James Allen
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The Narrative of the Life of James Allen, alias Jonas Pierce, alias James H. York, alias Burley Grove, the Highwayman, Being His Death-bed Confession to the Warden of the Massachusetts State Prison is an autobiographical work by James Allen, published in Boston by Harrington and Co. in 1837.
While many copies of the book are extant, the book is most often associated with the copy in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum. This copy was bound in the author's own skin, tradition holding that Allen requested that a copy of his confession be bound in his skin and given to John A. Fenno, who had earlier resisted Allen's attempt to rob him. This version was in the Fenno family library until 1905 when it was donated to the Boston Athenaeum.
About the book
The front cover of the famous skin-bound copy has a label which reads "HIC LIBER WALTONIS CUTE COMPACTUS EST" ("This book is bound in the skin of Walton"); Walton was one of the author's aliases.
The narrative is a combination of autobiography and confession, transcribed by the warden, as the author himself was unable to write.
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