There's Something Wrong with the Swanson Marginalia
The purpose of this thread is to discuss purely the fact that there is something amiss with the Swanson Marginalia. Any post that can be summarized as "Davis and HO said it was, so it was" will be reported as being off-topic.
This is for people who actually want to debate the topic and not get bogged down with sycophantic muppets who want to argue idiocy all day and not look at the actual facts. If I am the only one on this thread, so be it, probably better that way, but I want the facts out there, not buried in 30 pages of stupidity.
So here are the facts as we know it, that might indicate the Marginalia needs closer scrutiny:
1. The important marginalia, containing the name Kosminski, is written on an end paper and in a different pencil than can be found anywhere else in the book.
2. This was never mentioned when the marginalia was first or subsequently reported on.
3. One of the authors is now claiming they never really examined the marginalia before pronouncing it genuine.
4. The original examination by the HO used photocopies, not the actual document so the differing pencils was completely eliminated. This despite it not being considered best practices to use photocopies to determine accuracy.
What can be determined from these facts, is that at the very least, the Kosminski marginalia was written at a completely separate time than the rest of the marginalia in the book, which begs the question, Why? Why precisely would Swanson, if he was in fact the author of the marginalia, have felt compelled to go back and add it at some later date?
If Swanson was not the author of the marginalia, then it seems likely that it would have to have been forged by either his daughter or grandson, something that no one involved is willing to speculate or consider.
So either it's really Swanson's, written at some later date, which opens up its own can of worms, or it's not, which entirely invalidates the Marginalia.
Either way, the idea that the Marginalia can just be accepted as irrefutable, is now entirely destroyed.
Maybe I could repost the question I put on the other thread, where it has already been submerged by a ton of nonsense.
Can anyone tell me more about the sample of Swanson's writing that Paul Begg sent to the first document examiner, Dick Totty, for comparison with the annotations? I understand it was from official records (presumably from the MEPO files), but it would be interesting to have more information.
I don't know, Ally, that the situation is as dire as you portray, for I think it not unusual for the intimate reader - I mean a reader who figures in or has had involvement with the events therein described - to make quick notations alongside a body of text that is of personal interest, and then at a later date expand on this quick note with more thoughts on the subject on a larger writing area and surface.
I do this myself all the time; and it does appear that Littlechild himself also employed this method in the volume I found a few years ago, in that he scribbled a few notes in the margin but then marked out great bodies of text by running a line alongside it for later study and comment.
There is good reason to suppose that Swanson may well have employed some such similar method when reading through such volumes that concerned him personally... making an original quick comment and then going back at some later date to expand on that original comment.
I think this to be perfectly normal practice and not at all suspicious, or indicative of some kind of fakery or even forgery.
My reading of the marginalia is that Swanson didn't know his arse from his elbow, and was punching at moths in a dark room.
I would in fact agree with you, if the new notation was something relatively minor or something of very little note. But the identification of the suspect (the name which of course was not actually mentioned in the text) is a fairly large thing to be an added-on at a later date afterthought. If he had said, "The suspect Kosminksi...blah blah" on the original pages and then later read through it again and said, "At that time, Kosminski was..." and added some bit of detail to what he'd already written that would be a reasonable addition to be added at a later date.
But to make notes that are relatively minor in comparison, then come back at a later date with an AHA! Kosminski was the suspect!, indicates, to me at least, that something must have prompted this and was not a "natural" addition on a second read through.
Hi Ally, the word provenance is bandied about a lot with regard to the Swanson copy of The Lighter Side of My Official Life which contains the 'Swanson marginalia'. I actually prefer to use two descriptions with regard to the pencilled annotations in this book. First you have the marginalia, obviously written in the margins in the text of the book. Then you have the rear free endpaper notes, which are not 'marginalia'.
The provenance of the actual book cannot be doubted and was left to the late Jim Swanson by his aunt, Alice Julia, when she died in 1981. Jim Swanson was an executor of her will. It indicates in The Jack the Ripper A-Z that these annotations were made 'in or about 1910', which is the year the book was published. But, of course, the actual date that these annotations were made is a total unknown. Ergo the provenance of the actual book is not one and the same thing as the provenance of the annotations as we don't know when they were written.
At the time Jim Swanson inherited the book, in 1981, he also inherited several of Donald Swanson's papers. These led him to look at the book and he discovered the annotations. It was then, in 1981, that he sold the rights to a story on the annotations to The News of the World. In the event that newspaper did not use the story. In 1987 the Ripper centenary was in the news and 7 books on the Ripper were published.
A few weeks after reading Martin Fido's, The Crimes Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper, Jim Swanson contacted the Daily Telegraph and they bought the story of the 'marginalia.' Journalist Charles Nevin went to see Jim Swanson, and the book, at his home. The story was published in the newspaper. At this time Martin Fido was also in touch with Charles Nevin and had a letter published in the Daily Telegraph a short while later. This was in October 1987.
Jim Swanson gave his reasons for going to the newspaper with the story because he did not like a lot of the 'rubbish about Jack the Ripper' that had appeared in the press, and that as he 'had proof of Jack's identity' he 'felt it only fair to his grandfather and Anderson to make the facts known.' He wanted to get some recognition of the part his grandfather played and show that the senior people at Scotland Yard 'were on the ball and were completely satisfied they knew his identity and that he had been safely put away.'
I am taking the liberty of reposting this color image of the endpage notes that Stewart kindly posted on the other thread. Stewart, do you have a color image of the marginalia also... I couldn't find it.
Yes, I'd agree with you too, Ally, but the distance between the two events makes me wary, for would you remember a complicated Polish or Jewish name after almost twenty years?
You might be forced to pick up that new fangled and complicated instrument called the telephone and ask one of your former officers to look through the files and find the name of the individual who was detained under the circumstances that led Swanson - later - to claim he was the Whitechapel Murderer.
Is he not reporting a mere suspicion on his part rather than a solid body of police evidence that the Whitechapel Murderer had been captured and imprisoned?
As I said, his margerine would never butter my bread.
I like the real thing.
Is the signature 'DSS' as found on the endpaper consistent with other examples known to have come from Swanson in his later adult life? Are there other examples that could be posted for comparison?
Here is the endpaper annotation -
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