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Dear Boss penned in an American hand?

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  • Dear Boss penned in an American hand?

    I recently refreshed my memory of this letter to the Evening News on Oct 8th 1888:

    "Sir - I have been considered somewhat of an expert in handwriting, and having carefully examined the facsimile of the letter you published a couple of days ago, signed Jack the Ripper, have no hesitation in saying that it bears every evidence of being American - what is known in the States as the Spenserian [sic.] style - the capitals especially bear out this idea..."

    Intrigued, I looked up Spencerian Handwriting on Wikipedia, where it's expllained that the style was widely adopted in America for use on formal documents, before the invention of the typewriter. The Wikipedia page gives an example of the Spencerian style, a snippet of which I attach below:

    Click image for larger version

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    Here's an excerpt from "Dear Boss" for comparison:


    Click image for larger version

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    Although Dear Boss is obviously not quite as "copper-plate" as the formal letter, I can see where the correspondent to the Daily News was coming from.


    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

  • #2
    Hello Sam,

    I am sure that you will agree that at best all that can tell us is that an American was most likely the author of the letter. Unfortunately, it cannot tell us if the author was the Ripper or not.

    c.d.

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    • #3
      I don't think the author was the Ripper either, CD, but I'd never registered that suggestion about Spencerian style before.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

      Comment


      • #4
        Everytime I put this case down, I hit a reset button and forget all the player's names, Sam Flynn. The name of the writer for the CNA who the authorities thought wrote Dear Boss.

        If Dear Boss is filled with americanisms, does that eliminate the London-based journalist? I'm under the presumption that he must have been English, so I can't imagine that he would have learned American cursive-writing or been prone to using American phrases (eg Boss, is "till" American?)
        there,s nothing new, only the unexplored

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        • #5
          A perceptive London journalist could quite easily have taken inspiration from Coroner Baxter's summary from the previous week, that an American Doctor was looking for specimens.....
          Regards, Jon S.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
            A perceptive London journalist could quite easily have taken inspiration from Coroner Baxter's summary from the previous week, that an American Doctor was looking for specimens.....
            On the other hand, Baxter never suggested the doctor himself was responsible, but that some "abandoned wretch" had heard of the request and acted on it.
            ​​​​

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            • #7
              In Sept. 1888 Americans were all in favor, the press were advertising a circus, "Buffalo Bill and his Cowboys" (frontier life in the Wild West), a popular touring group visiting England.
              Regards, Jon S.

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              • #8
                Hi Jon,

                Are you certain the circus was 'Buffalo Bill and his Cowboys' and not Mexican Joe’s Wild West Show, which ran in London and Europe during 1888.

                Mexican Joe [Colonel Joe Shelley] was Buffalo Bill’s arch show-business rival.

                Regards,

                Simon
                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

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                • #9
                  Buffalo Bill toured in 1887.

                  Mexican Joe from 1887 to 1894.
                  My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                  • #10
                    This was discussed in some detail on the older forums. The only new suggestion is the Spencerian style of writing. The Lusk Letter was also discussed and, there were suggestions that it could have been written by someone with an Irish connection, as the way you read the letter sounded as if it was being read by someone with a thick southern Irish accent.

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                    • #11
                      Everything has been discussed in older forums

                      Perhaps Jack's wife and father in law were Irish,so he's taking the mickey out of them.
                      My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                      • #12
                        I don't recall the Spencerian style of handwriting, and its prevalence in the USA, being brought up previously. Indeed, it was because I'd only just noticed (after all these years!) the reference to the "Spenserian" hand in the letter cited above that I started this thread.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                        • #13
                          Prolly 'cause Dear Boss was not in Spencerian script.
                          My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DJA View Post
                            Prolly 'cause Dear Boss was not in Spencerian script.
                            Maybe so, but I'm not aware that the letter claiming that it was has been discussed before.
                            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                            • #15
                              Given the utter stupidity of the letter,I'm confident that posters would have got a good ten pages of debate of the subject.

                              Where's Wicky when we need him
                              My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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