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Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 693

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Description:
Most interesting pair of original courtroom sketches, executed in pencil and watercolor, created by LEO HERSHFIELD (1904-1979), who would become known as the 'Dean of Courtroom Artists' for his work covering hundreds of cases for NBC News, including the McCarthy Hearings and the trials of Jack Ruby and James Earl Ray. The sketches depict the court-martial hearing of American officer and war criminal WILLIAM CALLEY JR. (b. 1943), charged with the premeditated killings of 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre. The first sketch, 12.5 x 9.75 in. (sight), shows Lt. Calley sitting stone-faced with his attorneys, including George Latimer, who notably botched Calley's defense with his rambling questions, blame-shifting to those lower-in-command, and outright denial of Calley's horrific actions. At the upper-left, Hershfield adds the label in pencil: 'Feb 10, 1970 - Ft. Benning - Lt. Calley Hearing'. He signs 'Leo' at the lower right, adding the date '2/17/[19]70'. The second sketch, 16.25 x 10.5 in., depicts an obnoxious looking high-ranking American officer at the witness stand, callously smoking a cigarette, while the judge stares at him wide-eyed. Hershfield at the lower-left also adds a hand giving a 'peace sign', with index and middle fingers extended. He signs twice in pencil, once 'Leo Hershfield' with the place 'Ft. Benning, then again 'Leo', adding the date '3/3/[19]70'. Each also bears a hand-penciled dedication to BOB GORALSKI (1928-1988), an NBC News correspondent that served for extended periods as White House, State Department, and Pentagon correspondent, and later anchored NBC's coverage of John F. Kennedy's funeral. Both have been double-matted and framed to a total size of 23.5 x 17 in. Very fine condition. As many as 500 villagers - mostly women, children, infants, and the elderly - had been systematically killed by U.S. soldiers at My Lai, yet of the 26 officers and soldiers charged for their part in the massacre or subsequent cover-up, Calley was the only one convicted.

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February 8, 2021 10:00 AM EST

Chesapeake City, MD, US

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