This is a document from RealityStudio’s collection of primary source documents relating to the death of William S. Burroughs’ wife Joan Vollmer Burroughs.
Mexican Police Press Quiz of Ex-Albany Girl’s Death
[photo caption] HE TELLS HIS STORY — William Seward Burroughs, 37, left, tells Mexico City police how his gun happened to kill his 27-year-old wife during a drinking party late Thursday night. Burroughs is grandson and heir of the adding machine inventor. His wife was the former Joan Vollmer of Loudonville.
Mexican police continued their investigation today into the death of a former Albany girl shot by her husband at a drinking party in Mexico City Thursday night.
Mrs. William Seward Burroughs, the former Joan Vollmer, a 1939 graduate of St. Agnes School, died in a Mexico City hospital an hour after the shooting at a friend’s apartment.
Her husband, scion of the wealthy adding machine family of St Louis, was held on a charge of homicide. Police scheduled a hearing today to determine whether he shot his wife while playing William Tell or whether she was killed when he accidentally dropped his gun.
Mrs Burroughs, 27, was the daughter of Mr and Mrs David W. Vollmer, Loudonville. Her father, a chemist, is a supervisor at the General Aniline Works in Rensselaer.
Police said Burroughs first told them he shot his wife in a William Tell act, aiming at a glass of gin on her head instead of an apple. The bullet struck her in the forehead.
After he had consulted a lawyer, police reported, Burroughs changed his story, saying his wife was shot when he dropped his newly-purchased .38 caliber automatic pistol and “it hit the table and discharged.”
Mrs Burroughs was born at Ossining and brought up in Loudonville. In 1939, on graduation from St Agnes, she won a $500 scholarship to Barnard College in New York City, where she later studied journalism at Columbia University.
When she and Burroughs were married five years ago it was the second marriage for both. Her first marriage, which ended in divorce, was to Paul Adams of New York City, by whom she had one daughter, Julie Adams, now 7. Burroughs divorced his first wife, Ilse, about 1945. A son, William Burroughs Jr., was born three years ago of the second marriage.