The Detroit Free Press for August 14, 1935 appears to be one of the few newspapers (perhaps only) which uncovered Al Capone’s ultimate career aspiration: that of a librarian. His life of crime may have disqualified many from pursuing such a dream, but once again he proved his mettle and determination by becoming the librarian… of Alcatraz prison. Some may sense a degree of sarcasm, however, I would like to point out the article does indicate this was a “promotion.”
Note: We have been unable to verify whether or not this report is accurate. If anyone has information which can verify or dispute this claim, please let us know.
Today I traveled to New York City by the way of The New York Times dated August 2, 1966. There I found tragedy had stuck the campus of University of Texas. “An architectural honor student who had been undergoing psychiatric care carried an arsenal of rifles and pistols to the top of the 27-story University of Texas tower today and shot 12 persons to death before the police killed him. The student’s wife and mother were later found dead in their homes… The police identified the man as Charles J. Whitman…”. In all, he had shot an additional 34 people.
Over the past few years we have listed a series of posts titled: “Great Headlines Speak For Themselves,” with the first line being: “The best headlines need no commentary.” However, in some instances history would prove other headlines to be grossly understated. Such is the case of the headline on one of the most desirable newspapers reporting the horrific murders which would eventually be attributed to Charles Manson and some of his followers. While still dramatic, the initial (false) implication of the house pool boy, relative to the actual truth regarding the murders, deflates the historical impact of many “1st-report” headlines as illustrated in The Herald Examiner, Los Angeles, August 10, 1969.
Collector interest in the personal effects of the famous and infamous is certainly strong, with news noting auctions of noted personalities reporting surprising high bids.
This is not a recent phenomena. The “St. Louis Globe-Democrat” of April 11, 1882, contains a front page report headed: “Jesse James Relics” which reports on an auction of household goods at the home of the infamous bandit who was killed just 8 days prior. Interest in his personal effects was high, with the report noting in part: “…The crowd began assembling at noon…several thousand people had gathered about the house. The goods sold were of little or not value, yet a large sum of money was realized. Six plain cane-bottom chairs sold for $2 each, and the one on which the outlaw was standing when he received the fatal bullet sold for $5…an old revolver, $17; washstand, $11…The entire lot would not, only for the name, be worth $10, but nearly $200 was realized…”.
Can you image what these Jesse James belongings would sell for today? A revolver (the one noted above?) owned by Jesse James was in a Heritage auction in 2013 & was expected to bring $1.6 million. It did not sell.
Today I traveled back 50 years into the past to Detroit, Michigan, by the means of The Detroit News dated August 4, 1963. There I found the headline “Top Mobster Tells How Gang Runs Cities’ Crime” which was when Joseph Valachi testified at Washington about the mafia. “… He has added new names and a flood of details on unsolved murders and mysterious disappearances. He also outlined the structure of a well-disciplined, terror-ridden, semi-military organization dominating organized crime in America and he has given the organization a name — a name not known to the outside world. The organization is know as ‘Cosa Nostra’ — Our Thing…”. The movie “The Valachi Papers” was made about him and this event.
Also, on the front page of this issue is the announcement “Henry Ford II and Wife Agree to Live Apart”. This was occurring after 23 years of marriage.
Additionally: The New York State Supreme Court justice had just ruled that “Test Tube Baby Is Ruled Illegitimate in N.Y. Suit”.
A rather interesting day in the news.
Jack the Ripper may very well be the most infamous serial killer in World History. While others may have murdered more people, the terror he caused to what was arguably the most recognized city of the time is 2nd to none. While authentic reports are hard to come by, The Times (London) did an excellent job of following the case. At Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers we’ve put together a set of images which help to tell the story, arranged chronologically, as the readers of the day would have read about it. I’d like to say enjoy…, but somehow such a term doesn’t sound fitting. The images may be viewed via Pinterest at: Jack the Ripper on Pinterest
This curious item appeared in “The Weekly Crescent City” newspaper from New Orleans, August 15, 1841. He goes to some length to show the value in paying for a subscription…
In today’s travels, the Middlesex Gazette of September 19, 1811 had people looking skyward. The front page contained an article “The Comet” which “passed into the left hind leg of the Great Bear…” and “…The tail appears to separate into two branches, and is very distinguishable…”.
Inside the issue is the reporting of a bank robbery in Charleston in which the authorities were pretty certain they knew who had committed the crime. After questioning the person and not being able to obtain a confession, they then spoke to his fellow servant, a suspected aid. When told his owner was arrested — he told everything and showed them where the money was hidden as well as the items used to rob the bank!
The last page contained an advertisement that I have never seen in any other newspapers before, a real attention grabber… “Kill your Dogs”. You need to read this one!