Read Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester, Heiress to the Rifle Fortune by Mary Jo Ignoffo Free Online
Book Title: Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester, Heiress to the Rifle Fortune|
The author of the book: Mary Jo Ignoffo
ISBN 13: 9780826219053
Edition: University of Missouri
Date of issue: December 6th 2010
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 830 KB
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Since her death in 1922, Sarah Winchester has been perceived as a mysterious, haunted figure. After inheriting a vast fortune upon the death of her husband in 1881, Sarah purchased a simple farmhouse in San José, California. She began building additions to the house and continued construction on it for the next twenty years. A hostile press cast Sarah as the conscience of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company—a widow shouldering responsibility for the many deaths caused by the rifle that brought her riches. She was accused of being a ghost-obsessed spiritualist, and to this day it is largely believed that the extensive construction she executed on her San José house was done to appease the ghouls around her.
But was she really as guilt-ridden and superstitious as history remembers her? When Winchester’s home was purchased after her death, it was transformed into a tourist attraction. The bizarre, sprawling mansion and the enigmatic nature of Winchester’s life were exaggerated by the new owners to generate publicity for their business. But as the mansion has become more widely known, the person of Winchester has receded from reality, and she is only remembered for squandering her riches to ward off disturbed spirits.
Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester, Heiress to the Rifle Fortune demystifies the life of this unique American. In the first full-length biography of Winchester, author and historian Mary Jo Ignoffo unearths the truth about this notorious eccentric, revealing that she was not a maddened spiritualist driven by remorse but an intelligent, articulate woman who sought to protect her private life amidst the chaos of her public existence. The author takes readers through Winchester’s several homes, explores her private life, and, by excerpting from personal correspondence, gives the heiress a voice for the first time since her death. Ignoffo’s research reveals that Winchester’s true financial priority was not dissipating her fortune on the mansion in San José but investing it for a philanthropic legacy.
For too long Sarah Winchester has existed as a ghost herself—a woman whose existence lies somewhere between the facts of her life and a set of sensationalized recollections of who she may have been. Captive of the Labyrinth finally puts to rest the myths about this remarkable woman, and, in the process, uncovers the legacy she intended to leave behind.
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Read information about the authorMary Jo Ignoffo, author of Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester, Heiress to the Rifle Fortune, available from the University of Missouri Press, is a historian committed to reaching beyond academia to present history to the public through exhibits, books, articles, lectures and forums.
The Chicago-born, Los Angeles-raised, longtime resident of the San Francisco Bay Area has spent much of the last twenty years researching and writing about California and community history. Her work with museums includes the permanent outdoor Orchard Heritage Park Interpretive Exhibit in Sunnyvale, California and permanent and changing exhibits at Heritage Park Museum, also in Sunnyvale. She has been curator for more than ten installations at the California History Center at De Anza College in Cupertino, and historian and author for the 2010 exhibit on Sarah Winchester at the Los Altos History Museum in Los Altos, California.
Her Gold Rush Politics (2000) is a detailed narrative about Californias first legislature convened in 1849 as the Gold Rush erupted, and as people in California waited on the U.S. Congress to admit the territory as the nations thirty-first state. This publication was sponsored by the California State Senate as its Sesquicentennial Project, celebrating Californias 150 years of statehood, and earned Ignoffo a Resolution from the California State Legislature. Ignoffos articles have appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, Santa Clara Magazine, and The Californian. She has been interviewed for documentaries including Sunnyvale Voices, a film compilation of stories about the defense and agricultural industries in California, and Million Dollar Dirt about the demise of farmland in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ignoffo has worked as a preservation consultant, participating in surveys of historic buildings undertaken in compliance with Californias Office of Historic Preservation.
Mary Jo Ignoffo teaches U.S. history and topics in California history at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. She resides in Santa Clara with her husband and two children.