On this day, July 11, in 1906, Chester Gillette murdered his pregnant girlfriend Grace Brown on Big Moose Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, a slaying inspired that the novel "An American Tragedy." That weekend, Brown hoped for a marriage proposal from Gillette. What she got was killed. Gillette took her on the lake with a boat, clubbed her with his tennis racket and left her to drown. The murder trial became a sensation, and Brown's love letters were read in court and printed in newspapers. Brown was executed in 1908. Journalist Theodore Dreiser saved the clippings from the trial for several years before writing "An American Tragedy. " The book was published in 1925 and is considered a top American novel.

-- Scott McCabe