Kate Dickson first appeared in the racist newspapers of Leavenworth, Kansas on August 29, 1895, when The Leavenworth Times reported that she had been stabbed three or four times on the breast by “the notorious Lulu Jefferson,” and that “none of the stabs were fatel.” The news report included the information that Kate had also … Continue reading Slashed
Her dress, with its soft silhouette and wide fabric belt, emphasizes her generous bust. The bodice of the dress is covered with lace or embroidery. Based on the dress, which is all I have to go on, I’d guess the photo of this fashionable, attractive woman was taken around 1910. It's possible the photo was … Continue reading Hiding the Camera?
A couple of months ago this image caught my eye when I saw it for sale at an online vintage photo fair. The seller titled it "Four mug shots framed in a mat with a prisoner stripe motif." Obviously, I wasn't able to examine it in person, but got in touch with the seller and … Continue reading An Odd Display
A Brooklyn resident named Rosa Rivera had her fortune told on Thursday, January 16, 1947. During the session Rosa mentioned that she had $800 socked away in her bank account. The fortuneteller’s ears perked up when she heard about the nest egg. She told Rosa to go to the bank, remove the cash, bring it … Continue reading Brooklyn Bad Fortune
After the Philadelphia police took Hope Dare’s mugshot in 1938, a reporter managed to get access to it and photograph it for a news publication. Was a payoff involved? Very likely, since the ex-Broadway showgirl was a celebrity, albeit a fading one. On the back of her mugshot-turned-news-photo is the comment “not a publicity photo.” … Continue reading Arresting Hope Dare
The body of W.J. Trotter being removed from his shop by police. Collection of the author. Shortly before 8 a.m. on the morning of February 2, 1948, Ples McWilliams discovered the body of William Jonas Trotter, a 59-year-old white man, lying in a pool of blood on the floor behind the counter of his snack … Continue reading Can’t Hear Nobody Pray
I don’t usually collect crime scene photos, but this image caught my eye. It captured the aftermath of sudden death in such an unabashedly voyeuristic way. The photo demands an explanation, but there’s nothing except the name “W. J. Trotter” and the word “murder” typed on the back. That’s it. The photographer who provided this … Continue reading Upcoming
When she first opened the door of the bathroom closet, Policewoman Ruby Brandt thought she was looking at a heap of rags on the floor. But as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realized there was a child under the rags. Ruby bent down, took the child in her arms, and carried her out … Continue reading The Dark Closet
The year is 1931 and the place is our nation's capital. (That's Washington, DC, for those who aren't sure). This pair of pretties — a husband and wife — will be the subjects of my next blog post. But a warning: what they did was not pretty. Check back soon for the full story!
Herman Perlmutter had a problem with Esther, his 16-year-old daughter. The middle child of seven, she refused to get a job in a factory like her older siblings had done. With nine mouths to feed, Herman and his wife, Celia — Jewish immigrants who came to America fleeing the pogroms in Hungary — desperately needed … Continue reading A Defect of the Heart
A young girl was found wandering in the vicinity of New York City’s Bowery neighborhood on a cold day in February 1920. She was taken to a Christian missionary society, where she told authorities a disturbing story about having been forced to become the “child wife” of a much older man. Mary Banta, the missionary … Continue reading The Strange Case of Marie Chin Wore
Born in Texas on July 14, 1876, 100 years and ten days after the United States, Nathan Bridgeforth became prisoner #2007 at Leavenworth on February 26, 1900. Seven weeks earlier, he pleaded guilty to forgery in the Northern District Court of Muskogee, Indian Territory. The details of the crime that sent him to Leavenworth have … Continue reading The Cowboy