The Clarence Darrow Digital Collection
Written letter from Clarence Darrow collection
Collage of Clarence Darrow at different ages Postcard from Clarence Darrow Collection

Clarence Darrow Signature

The Clarence Darrow Letters

Clarence Darrow to Sinclair Lewis, April 15, 1926

Darrow's reference to getting the book started is to Lewis's novel Elmer Gantry. Darrow's statement about the case in Detroit is about the second Sweet trial. His statement about the pulpit pounder Jenkins is about Burris Jenkins, a Kansas City minister at the Linwood Boulevard Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Sinclair Lewis interviewed Jenkins and numerous other preachers in Kansas City and observed them during services in preparation for writing Elmer Gantry. His statement about the lady taking a shot is a response to a previous letter from Lewis in which Lewis said that the lady who tried to assassinate Mussolini would have contributed much more to human progress if she had taken a shot at Darrow instead.

Click on the image to view as a PDF. A transcription of the letter is on the right.

April 15, 1926.

Dear Sinclair:-

I am awfully glad you got the book started. I want to help you. I know you need it.

You have got to go down to the Ozarks with us. I do not know just when it will be, but some time after the 10th of may. My case starts in Detroit on the 19th and I will know better after it is started and then I will let you know.

You and that pulpit-pounder Jenkins are a damn fine pair of friends. I could tell the lady where she could do better than taking a shot at me. Anyhow, you will hear from me.

Best wishes.


Mr. Sinclair Lewis
Ambassador Hotel,
Kansas City, Mo.