Kaloma - The Photograph of Josie Earp (well maybe?)

I’ve had this picture “Kaloma” since about 1988 or so. It hung in my cousins bed room (Leslie Rogers) since I can remember, since at least 1978 or so. She got it from her aunt who had it in a old trunk and she said to have carried it since at least the mid-30s. Her aunt used to say it was a picture of her from when she was a young woman?

Maybe it was I don’t really know. It was rumored to be a picture of Josie Earp, wife of Wyatt Earp, but still causes a lot of debate. A lot of forensic scientists are still debating that. (still a lot of debating over that)

I read an article saying that it was a model and she died of alcoholism in the 1920s. Again it’s a mystery and nobody really knows yet. The picture is dated 1914, but that does not mean it was taken years prior to that. It sells anywhere from $450 – $3000. I’ve had mine hanging on my wall and I guess it’ll be hanging there the day I pass from this earth. It is an awesome picture and it’s one on my treasures.

We can look at some of the information out there. I'm by no means an expert on the subject, only an owner of one of the photos.

Is it Josie Earp...it could have been I guess but whoever it is was a beautiful woman.

My wife took mine off the wall and had it professionally framed for my 19th anniversary gift. I guess after 26 years of hanging on my office wall in the .25 frame that it was in when my cousin died wasn't good enough anymore. It looks 10 x better in the professional frame. Now my inherited $25 photo is in a $100 frame. But I'm sure one of my sons will have it on his office wall someday telling the story of Dads old "naked woman" photo and how I came to get it.

This photogravure of a semi-nude woman was published on the cover of I Married Wyatt Earp. Editor Glen Boyer insisted it was a picture of Josephine Earp, but could not provide any proof. The 1914 copyright is the earliest known version of the photograph. Circulated by the ABC Novelty Company in Brooklyn, New York, in 1914. It is labeled "Kaloma" underneath, and at the bottom right is printed, "COPYRIGHT 1914-P N CO.", which was the copyright of the Pastime Novelty Company.
Many of the published prints of Kaloma bear credits to the ABC Novelty Company in New York, or the Pastime Novelty Company at 1313 Broadway, New York.

Detail of Kaloma

Family Dog poster by Alton Kelley
for Vanilla Fudge
This is the 8th video in the series. Watch all of them they're pretty good.

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp (1861-December 19, 1944) was an American part-time actress and dancer who was best known as the wife of famed Old West lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp. Known as "Sadie" to the public in 1881, she met Wyatt in the frontier boom town Tombstone, Arizona Territory when she was living with Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. She became Earp's common-law wife for 46 years.

Josephine was born in New York and moved with her parents to San Francisco as a child. Her Prussian Jewish parents were relatively well-off and she grew up with many advantages. As a teenager, she ran away and traveled to Arizona, where she had an "adventure", although the exact age she left home is not clear. Much of her life up to about 1882 is uncertain, as Josephine protected many details of her life prior to leaving Tombstone, Arizona, even threatening legal action later in life to keep information private.

She may have arrived in in Prescott, Arizona as early as 1874. In a book about her life, I Married Wyatt Earp, she related events that occurred before she said she came to Tombstone in 1880. She may have lived in Tip Top, Arizona under an assumed name where she may have been a prostitute for a period of time. What is known for certain is that she arrived Tombstone, Arizona in 1880 where she became a mistress to Cochise County Sheriff Johnny Behan. Even though he was Sheriff, Behan generally sided with certain outlaw Cowboys who were at odds with Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp and his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan. Josephine left Behan in 1881, sometime before the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which Behan played a key role. She returned to San Francisco in early 1882 and was joined by Wyatt Earp, with whom she remained in a common law marriage for 46 years.

She became well-known when a manuscript about her life was used as a source by amateur historian Glenn Boyer for the book I Married Wyatt Earp, first published by the University of Arizona Press in 1967. The work was considered a factual memoir, cited by scholars, studied in classrooms, and used as a source by filmmakers for 32 years. In 1998, it was found that Boyer could not substantiate many of the facts about the time period in Tombstone, causing some critics to describe it as a fraud and a hoax, and the university withdrew the book from its catalog.

The original photogravure of a semi-nude woman used by Glen Boyer on the cover of I Married Wyatt Earp. He insisted it was a picture of Josephine from 1880 but the picture was actually copyrighted in 1914.

In their later years Wyatt and Josephine Earp worked hard to eliminate any mention that Josephine had been Johnny Behan's mistress or of Wyatt's previous common law marriage to the prostitute Mattie Blaylock. They successfully kept both women's names out of Stuart Lake's biography of Wyatt and after he died, Josephine may have threatened litigation to keep it that way.

Lake corresponded with Josephine over several years, and he claimed she attempted to influence what he wrote and hamper him in every way possible, including consulting lawyers. Josephine insisted she was striving to protect Wyatt Earp’s legacy.

She was also in need of money, and tried to sell a collection of books to Lake while he was writing the book.

After Wyatt Earp's death, Josephine sought to get her own life story published. She sought the assistance of Wyatt's cousins Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinolia Earp Ackerman. They recorded events in her life but found Josephine was evasive about her early life in Tombstone. She approached several publishers for the book, but backed out several times due to their insistence that she be completely open and forthcoming, rather than slanting her memories to her favor. Josephine wanted to keep their tarnished history associated with Tombstone private. Josephine finally changed her mind and asked Wyatt's cousins to burn their work, but Cason held back a copy, to which Glenn Boyer eventually acquired the rights.


There are conflicting accounts of when Josephine, or Sadie as Wyatt and others knew her, actually arrived in Arizona. After Wyatt's death, Josephine collaborated with two of her husband's cousins, Mabel Earp Cason and Cason's sister Vinolia Earp Ackerman, to document her life. The cousins recorded events in Josephine's later life but found she was evasive about her early life in Tombstone. The story Josephine told the Earp cousins and other sources indicate she may have left as early as October 1874, when she was 13 or 14 years old. During 1871-73, Behan was Sheriff for Yavapai County and married to Victoria Zaff. The facts about Sadie or Josephine's arrival and her life in Tombstone are obscured by the fact that later in life she refused to disclose in detail what took place


In I Married Wyatt Earp, she wrote that one day, "I left my home one morning, carrying my books just as though I was going to school as usual. She was 18 years old and said she ran away with two friends, Dora Hirsch, daughter of her music teacher, and another girl named Agnes who had a role in the San Francisco Pauline Markham troupe's presentation of H.M.S. Pinafore. She wrote that her maid, a black woman named Julia, came with her. She said that they took a stagecoach to Arizona, where a band of Indians was on the loose and that the group was forced to hole up in a ranch house for about a week, during which she met Al Seiber and later Johnny Behan.

Josephine told how upon arriving in Arizona she learned that “some renegade Yuma-Apaches had escaped from the reservation to which they had been consigned and had returned to their old haunts on the war-path.” Josephine wrote the famous Indian fighter Al Sieber was tracking escape Apaches and led them to safety. According to Josephine, she first met "John Harris" during this period. She described him as "young and darkly handsome, with merry black eyes and an engaging smile."

Based on Josephine's manuscript and other sources she may have actually left San Francisco as early as October 1874, arriving in Arizona at age 13 or 14. Hattie Wells maintained a brothel only a half block from the school Josephine attended on Powell Street in San Francisco, and she also owned a brothel in Prescott, Arizona. In November 1874, a woman named Sadie Mansfield took a stagecoach with several other prostitutes working for Hattie Wells from San Francisco to Prescott, Arizona Territory. The group was accompanied by a black woman named Julia Barton. (Sadie told the Earp cousins that Pauline Markham had a maid named Julia.)

On June 1 or 2, 1880, William V. Carroll, the census enumerator for the 9th ward, visited the Marcus home. He lived about two blocks from the Marcus family. He recorded Josephine as a member of the Marcus household, although this information may have been offered by her parents. Her occupation is given as "At home". On June 2, in Tip Top, Arizona, Sadie Mansfield is recorded with exactly the same information as Josie in San Francisco—age 19, born in New York, of German parentage—except her occupation, which is given as "Courtesan".

During December, 1874, neighbors witnessed Behan visiting a “house of ill fame” on several occasions. The brothel was located on Granite Street near Gurley in Prescott. He had a “relationship with” 14-year-old Sadie Mansfield who worked there under the watchful eye of Madam Josie Roland.  Josephine described meeting Behan: “My heart was stirred by his attentions as would the heart of any girl have been under such romantic circumstances. The affair was at least a diversion in my homesickness though I cannot say I was in love with him.”  Behan's wife divorced him in 1875 for consorting with a known prostitute named Sadie Mansfield.

Sadie Mansfield and Johnny Behan remained in the same town through at least 1880, when the U.S. census recorded them both in Tip Top, Arizona Territory. Sadie Mansfield and Sadie Marcus had very similar names, were 14 years old, and were born in New York City to Prussian parents.

These facts may explain why Josephine later thought of this time in her life as “a bad dream.

Kaloma: The Josie Earp Mystery Photo, by W.J. Elvin III

This is another book that is out there. I thought it to be an excellent read and shed a little more insight on the Kaloma photo. Mr. Elvin did extensive research on the subject of the photo and on a lot of the issues I'm in agreeance with him.