E-mail messages from an eyewitness to the Scopes Trial (September and October, 2000)

Thanks very much for posting the material on the trial.

I attended all the sessions of the Scopes trial except the first.   All of the published accounts I have found state that Bryan testified because the defense attorneys conferred on Thursday evening and decided to subpoena Bryan.

On the other hand, my recollection is that one of the defense attorneys (I believe Darrow), after the judge had declared that the official Bible of the state of Tennessee was the King James Version of the Bible, asked in open court who would be acceptable as an expert on the Bible, and that Bryan rose and volunteered that he was an expert.

Gerard M Foley
1818 Riverside Drive Apt A
Columbus OH 43212

Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Thanks for your email.  You were there in Dayton?--I wish that I could find a time machine that would allow me to spend a day at the trial.

The transcript indicates that the defense called Bryan as a witness.  The King James Version of the Bible was declared the official version on an earlier day of the trial.  I will have to look through the transcript to see if it makes any
reference to a comment from Bryan at the time.
 Doug Linder

I was eight years old at the  time.  My parents lived  on Signal Mountain, TN, about ten  miles from Chattanooga, where my father was Chief Metallurgist for a company  making  oil well  drilling equipment.  There was no public   school  on the  mountain, so I  was enrolled in the third grade at a small private school  run by a Mrs. Alford.  She had fewer than a dozen
students in the 3-6 grades ( an assistant taught the first  and second grades).

At the end if the year 1924-5 Mrs. Alford's husband took a job in Alabama. She  took  me to the nearest school in Chattanooga, the  6th Street School, and emerged from a conference with the principal to   announce I was to start in the sixth grade at the end of  the summer.  She  and my   mother had become close friends, so  it was  decided  that the three of us should attend the trial at Dayton.

We made quite close friends with Haldeman-Julius, the blue book publisher, whom you quote extensively.  My mother and I visited the drug store where the plot was hatched.  As we emerged, my mother spotted Clarence Darrow across the street a few yards down.  As we crossed in the hope of meeting Darrow, we saw that a shorter distance the  other way was William Jennings Bryan, parting from someone he had been talking to.  Bryan, seeing a mother and child approaching, prepared  to greet us.  We shook hands with Bryan and than went down the street  to shake the hand on the Devil's emissary.

Thanks for your  prompt  reply.

Gerry M. Foley

I have been giving some thought to posting emails related to the Scopes trial. Would you have any objection to having your email posted along with several others on my website?

By the way, what--if any--impression did you have of Haldeman-Julius?

I'd be  pleased.

It's a long time ago, and  I was  only eight.  If I have the same man in my mind's eye as I have in my mind, he was a  small  dark  nervous man, with a very rapid manner  of  speech.  He was very friendly, obviously, because my mother wasn't very.  Mrs. Alford,  on the other hand, was a very  outgoing person.

I did not mean that I  recalled the judge's ruling on the Bible  to be immediately  prior  to the  plea  for  an acceptable expert.  It is only your  transcript that tells me that the judge was really trying to keep the Bible out of it altogether.