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THe Littlechild Letter.

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  • THe Littlechild Letter.

    Regarding the Littlechild Letter:

    Does anyone have a view as to why George R. Sims might have saved that particular letter and not any other of John Littlechilds missives?


  • #2
    How do we know he didnt John?


    Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.


    • #3
      Hi John,
      I hadnt realised that Sims had only saved that letter? But if thats the case ,since Sims had once been very interested in the case,its just possible he may have thought he had at last discovered who Jack the Ripper was!Myself I just can"t see JtR as having been an exhibitionist like Tumblety.But you never know.......!


      • #4
        Littlechild's letters are actually very well recorded, and a matter of public record. The letters that are not should be treated with due caution.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cap'n Jack View Post
          Littlechild's letters are actually very well recorded, and a matter of public record. The letters that are not should be treated with due caution.
          How fascinating! Where can this "public record" of Littlechild's letters be found? I'm sure it would be an extremely useful resource for all of us.


          • #6
            Unless their provinence is sound and the appropriate tests have been undertaken, as has been the case with this letter.

            Unlike some which are held in public record offices.



            Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.



            • #7
              Every single letter that Littlechild wrote as a private detective is easily available to read on the net, from his beginning to his end. Even his expenses are recorded. Just not this one.


              • #8

                Where "on the net" is this exhaustive list of "Littlechild's letters"?

                I ask because if such a thing existed it would be really interesting to see.


                • #9

                  Originally posted by Cap'n Jack View Post
                  Littlechild's letters are actually very well recorded, and a matter of public record. The letters that are not should be treated with due caution.
                  Meaning what, exactly, AP?

                  Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


                  • #10
                    Private Letter

                    Originally posted by Chris View Post
                    Where "on the net" is this exhaustive list of "Littlechild's letters"?
                    I ask because if such a thing existed it would be really interesting to see.
                    Yes, Chris, that would be interesting.

                    There are various references to Littlechild and some of his cases such as this

                    However, any listing of Littlechild correspondence as regards his business as a private detective would be totally irrelevant as the letter to George R. Sims was a private letter and nothing to do with any investigation. I certainly would like to see a comprehensive list of every private letter written by Littlechild.
                    Last edited by Stewart P Evans; 10-11-2009, 09:53 AM.

                    Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


                    • #11
                      We know from the letter itself that Sims may have written more than a few times to Littlechild. Unless the "good company" referred to all JTR related material Littlechild was keeping. Littlechild says: "I am just going to inflict one more letter on you on the 'Ripper' subject." so we know there was at least one other letter written to Sims.

                      I would be interested to know Sims relationships and correspondence with police on the subject of JTR if anyone cares to share. Is it possible Sims was actually more interested in JTR and his identity than most Policemen? Even those involved in the investigation?


                      • #12
                        Meaning, Stewart, me dear fellow, that rather than throwing caution to wind, as I oft do, I'll haul about and steer clear of that reef.
                        I wish you bon appetite!


                        • #13
                          The Littelchild Letter is one of the most extraordinary primary sources ever found regarding the Ripper mystery [by Constable Evans in 1993].

                          It's great strength is not only that it names a chief and contemporaneous police suspect. After all, at any time between the late Victroian Age and the subsequent deacaes a reporter, or an academic, might have done that too by discobering the American tabloid reports about Dr T, but because of who is doing the naming.

                          A senior, highly regarded policeman from 1888, one who has no known, self-serving bias about the Ripper case -- as he was in a different branch of Scotland Yard -- described Tumblety as a 'very likely' suspect. Littelchild does not have an inevitable bias to try and prove anything about this case, unlike Anderson, Swanson and to some extent Macnaghten.

                          Littlechild could also have written that Tumblety was later cleared, or that there were much better suspects.

                          He does neither.

                          It's limitation, as a primary source, is that it is written 25 years after the murders, and 23 years after the police Ripper hunt wound down. Memories inevitably fade and distort over the passage of years.

                          It is also a private piece of correspondence in which a person can write what they please knowing they are not being held accountable in any official sense.

                          This letter to the famous, aristrocratic, politically liberal writer and 'criminologist' George Sims, is also very enigmatic, mostly due to us not having the full correspondence between them.

                          From what he know these gentlemen were not pals, and in fact did not move in the same class/social circles. Quite the opposite.

                          Sims seems to have received his information about the Ripper only from senior -- also upper class -- gentlemen, such as Macnaghten, Anderson and Griffiths [at least he was a fellow officer of state].

                          The conundrum about Sims is that he morphed from a scathing young reporter at the time to the murders -- scathing that is towards Scotland Yard as a clueless, blundering contabulary -- to, from 1899, praising the police for efficiently and conclusively narrowing the suspects [what suspects?] down to the likeliest: the middle-aged, Eenglish, affluent, unemployed, Blackheath medico and asylum veteran, who lived with worried chums, and who drowned himself in the Thames right after the Kelly murder --rendered completely imbecilic by his own monstrousness.

                          It's as if the earlier Sims, the cheeky scold, had been completely shanghaied in his mature years to become a credulous mouthpiece for the new paradign: a monolithically efficient police investigation came within days, perhaps mere hours, of collaring the English Doctor.

                          How Super a suspect was this Sims double?

                          Well, he killed himself on the very night or early the next morning after eviscerating Mary Kelly, and there were no more Ripper murders.

                          Other potential suspects, like the Polish Jew, were out and about for some time after the Kelly horror. Ipso facto that rules them out of contention. Anybody who has seen the photos of the last victim, as Sims salivatingly had, claimed that no human mind, not even that of a maniac, could possibly cope with such bestiality. It would be destroyed.

                          The way Sims writes this 'shilling shocker' it is practically a miracle of human endurance that the English Doctor was able to even make his way to the Thames river, having become a raving, shrieking fiend.

                          We know that the real figure who lies impenetrably hidden behind this Jekyll & Hydish story, Montague John Druitt, was in fact functionaing perfectly well for no less than three weeks after the Millers Ct. Bloodbath. Though perhaps dismissed from his school position, in this same period, he was still a successful advocate -- right up until the eve of his inexplicable self-murder.

                          Sims wrote regularly about this Super-suspect from 1899 to 1917, in most detail in a piece for 'Lloyds Weekly' in 1907.

                          In that magnum opus Sims had also claimed that there were TWO theories about the Ripper's identity at Scotland Yard. What makes this somewhat peculiar is that he writes that one theory contained THREE suspects; the Drowned English Doctor, the Mad Polish Jew, and a mad Russian doctor. Sims also claimed, with a really weird kind of Edwardian fan-boy pride, to be a dead-ringer for this suicided suspect.

                          The 'other' theory includes, more sensibly, just one suspect: a young, American medical student, apparently seeking specimens for his collection from pathological museums. But he could not possibly be the Ripper, Sims pontificates, because he was still functioning quite normally after the Kelly atrocity, and so on.

                          Working-class detectives from the field, among them Reid and Abberline, who had actually done the hard yards of hunting the Ripper and questioning and eliminating suspects, sharlpy challenged this cosy claim of in the press [they never name Sims] of a Ripper indentified as an English gentleman [they challenged Anderson and his certainty about a Polish Jew suspect too].

                          In 1903 Sims does not even pause to consider the frightening implications of this total disconnect between what top cops were feeding him and the harrumphing by these retired detectives.

                          Instead Sim deployed his trump cards; his access to the Assistant Commissioner [Macnaghten by then] and that he had knowledge of the 'Home Office Report' by that same senior police source -- and close friend -- which had been used by another unimpeachable worthy, Major Arthur Griffths, for his 1898 scoop.

                          Sims seems to have lost any sense of journalistic integrity? Or, even common sense. He had himself written about the failure to nail Sadler for the Ripper crimes in 1891. Did that not suggest that police could not have been so certain about this 'Drowned Doctor' or perhaps had not known of him at the time?

                          If that was the case then how could they have been so close to catching him?

                          Yet, for reasons about which we can only speculate, Sims does seem to have cast his police-source net a little further in 1913.

                          He wrote to the retired John George Lilttechild. P

                          Presumably he would have bragged about his elite position as a clubby insider with the brass. Surely he must have pompously trotted out the 'Drowned Doctor' yet again even showing how inside he really was by giving the initial: 'Dr D'.

                          This time Sims was not only challenged by a real policeman -- his 1907 posturing/theorising was arguably left in tatters.

                          Perhaps Littlechild was cagey in his first reply, gently suggesting that this suicided suspect was real, for sure, but was not quite -- in the details -- the way the famous writer had expounded about him.

                          Littlechild may have wondered where on earth Sims was getting all this nonsense?

                          Perhaps Sims had mentioned Anderson being quite wrong, in his memoirs about the best suspect being the Polish Jew -- because he was still alive and functioning after Kelly. He might also have stated that Major Griffiths had first mentioned the 'Drowned Doctor' because he did, in 1898.

                          Crucially, Sims may not have mentioned the real progenitor of the 'Drowned Doctor' to Littlechild; the recently retired Assistant Commissioner and close buddy, Sir Melville Macnaghten.

                          Yet Sims may also have been fishing for more information?

                          That he had received a jolt from something. Perhaps it was seeing an early draft of Macnaghten's memoirs in which -- shockingly -- he was going to claim that the suicided suspect was not-all-that-well-known for 'some years after' he had himself joined the Force.

                          That what Macnaghten was hoping to find was another senior policeman, of impeccable reputation, who could confirm that there was some sort of efficient dragnet closing on the English medico in 1888.

                          It might even seem, to us, a bit desperate that he was writing to Littlechild as the Ripper murders were not in his perview.

                          I wonder whom else amongst the ex-contabulary Sims may have written to, in something of a sweaty panic that -- what with Reid and Abberline being totally dismissive a decade before -- he had been writing about an inaccurate suspect-story all along?

                          Perhaps Littlechild did very generally confirm that there was strong, contemporanrous police interest in a middle-aged, unemployed medico of sexually deviant tastes who did indeed vanish from the scene after the Kelly murder.

                          He could have left it that.

                          Either Sims' insufferable pomposity, or Littlechild's own perplexity over the way Tumblety had disappeared from the published record [in fact had barely appeared in the English press] orchestrated by an embarrassed Anderson 'who only thought he knew', pushed Littlechild to make a decision.

                          He would do what Anderson had not done in his memoirs.

                          Littlechild would name the chief suspect and he would name the reporter(s) who created the 'Dear Boss' letter, to a very famous writer.

                          His letter becomes as much an anti-Anderson salvo, as it does disentangle the 'Drowned Doctor' mythos.

                          As with Abberline and Reia he seems completely unaware of the role played by Macnaghten in all these machinations. B

                          ut then Macnaghten is not known, until his press comments of 1913 -- in which talks very obliquely about a susicided suspect -- to have ever referred to the Ripper matter directly before 1913, and his memoirs of 1914.

                          So, the initiative is with Littlechild.

                          In Sept. 1913 Littlechild writes that he is going to 'inflict' one more Ripper prognostication on Sims, and that no reply is required.


                          What an odd word to use regarding this writer of all people, who seems to have had an insatiable appetite for anything to do with the Ripper story.

                          Unless Littlechild knew that what he was sending to Sims was about to deflate his cosy assumptions about the [alleged] 'Drowned Doctor' being a better suspect than the [alleged] young American medico.

                          Littlechild, with this letter, was like one of the Fenien bomb-throwers he relentlessly pursued as head of the anti-Terrorist branch. He was about to blow up Sims' theory and wants to make a speedy getaway. As in, he knows that after this letter there will be no reply, no further probing by the famous writer.

                          Yes, he writes, there was a contemporaneous middle-aged, irregularly employed doctor suspect -- but there was not an alternate major theory about an 'American'.

                          That is because the suicided doctor and the American are one and the same!

                          As if to help a trembling Sims to his armchair, Littlechild tries -- lamely -- to soften the blow somewhat by writing that 'Dr D' is the phonic cousin of 'Dr T'.

                          Then comes the next hammer-blow.

                          This likely suspect was not just being pursued by police. They actually had him IN CUSTODY, on a perversion charge.

                          Surely, Sims still had some sense as a once hard-nosed reporter'skeptic, who had in 1888 flayed the police as incompetent, to grasp that Littlechild was blunty showing him how his 1907 piece maybe a re-casting of the true, much more, embrassing story.

                          That he had created propaganda for the police, making them seem much more cluey over this infernally frustrating case. When in fact, far from being super-efficient Scotland Yard had let this chief suspect jump his bail and flee.

                          Did Sims wonder at long last as to whethr he had been played for a sucker, not by Anderson as Littlechild thought, but by his close pal, the overgrown Etonian schoolboy, Macnaghten?

                          Did Littlechild know that he was debunking the Great Writer's 'Drowned Doctor'?

                          Did he take more than a little pleasure in stunning this upper class wannabe who had never been a real police detective. Who had egocentrically exaggerated his role in the Adolf Beck injustice -- and scrounged a foreign knighthood out of it?

                          Littlechild goes onto to name the reporter(s) who concocted the Ripper hoax letter, and then mentions a couple of upper class pervert/scoundrels, who were known to be utter frauds, and who had pulled the wool over society: Oscar Wilde and Harry K Thaw.

                          Was Littlechild alluding to what he thought the upper class Anderson had done to Sims, via Griffiths, not realising it was actually another more charming nob: Macnaghten.

                          The strange aspect is that Littlechild claimed it was 'believed' that Tumblety committed suicide. There is nothing in the meagre sources we have left to support this contention.

                          Perhaps it WAS a false rumour which was widely believed at the Yard.

                          Or, perhaps Littlechild did not want the humiliated Sims to actually start going to look for information on Tumblety?

                          Or, perhaps it refers simply to Macnaghten who certainly believed that the chief suspect, a medical man, killed himself?

                          Or, perhaps Littlechild wanted to give Sims something to hang onto that would not leave him completely devastated by this bombshell letter, one initiated by Littlechild, to make this famous writer face up to the semi-fiction he was spouting as if it were fact?

                          Littlechild, with some melodramatic flourish writes that 'It is finished'.

                          Too right, as the 'Drowned Doctor' was on the ropes that's for sure.

                          I think that Sims frantically consulted with Macnaghten who smilingly reassured him that Littlechild was referring to another 'suicided suspect'.

                          Yet, I don't see how Sims could take much confort in Macnaghten's memoirs, which did concede that the suicided suspect was not a contemporaneous one?

                          In Sims' own memoirs, the Ripper mystery is, unexpectedly, tersely dispensed with in two paragraphs. He still hangs onto the English Doctor suspect, but the tone is no longer tiumphant -- more weary and perfunctory.


                          • #14
                            Hello Stewart, Chris, all,

                            I have found SOME things on this site.. quite interesting stuff. Hopefully new to some of you.


                            best wishes

                            Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

                            Justice for the 96 = achieved
                            Accountability? ....


                            • #15
                              Crystal Clear

                              Well done Jonathan,

                              In my opinion, the clearest exposition of your Macnaghten theory I have so far encountered.And it makes sense.

                              And it makes the Littlechild clearer too.

                              One thing, might not Sims have questioned Littlechild about Ripper suspects who were sexual maniacs?
                              Hence Littlechilds mention of Wylde and Thaw.

                              Perhaps Sims was referring to Macnaghten's reference to Montague Druitt's alleged proclivities?
                              JOHN RUFFELS.