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Voices -- Christine Collins, November 12, 1930

December 31, 2008 | 12:00 pm

From the California State Archives

The Christine Collins letters

The woman whose tragedy inspired the Clint Eastwood movie "Changeling" tells her story in her own words.

Los Angeles, Cal.
November 12, 1930

Mr. Chas. L. Neumiller
President Board of Prison Directors
Reprisa, California

Dear Sir:

1930_1112_borton02_01 In regard to the case of Walter J. Collins now before you for parole may I be permitted a few words?

I have never known Mr. Collins personally and his prison record must speak for him, but I have been daily in personal contact with his wife, Christine Collins, for about a year and a half. She has lived in my home during that time. It is for her sake I am asking your leniency for Mr. Collins.

You have undoubtedly heard of the terrible strain she has been under during the past two years and over and I want to testify as to her condition physically, mentally and financially.

The mental strain she has been under has been greater than the ordinary woman could bear without breaking mentally, yet she has borne up, even triumphed over it all.

Physically, she is a nervous wreck. Unable to hold any position no matter how capable she might be mentally to hold it. Often unable to leave her bed for two or three days at a time on account of acute nervous headaches.

Her only means of support has been cut off too. A sister who has been contributing to her support is now unable to carry on due to her own ill health.

1930_1112_borton03_01Without her husband the future looks very dark to Mrs. Collins.

So, can you not find it in your heart to grant to this man a chance to make good to this little woman who has stood so loyally by her husband through his trouble and also undergone the loss of their only child under such tragic circumstances?

If he had been convicted of manslaughter he would now have paid his debt to society. Surely he has more than paid for the thing for which he was convicted.

Will you not remember the words of our Master, who said: "As ye would that men should do unto you, do you even so to them."

Yours very respectfully,

Mrs. James C. Borton
2614 N. Griffin Ave.
Los Angeles, Cal.