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There's Something Wrong with the Swanson Marginalia

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  • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
    Hi All,

    In order to establish the authenticity of a painting it would have been subjected to an exhaustive series of scientific tests.
    Simon,

    This is not correct. At least not always. Many attributions of art paintings are done by expert opinion and are based on analysis of style... not science. As you may not be aware, many paintings are still hotly deated by academics as to who actually did them. This has nothing to do with scientific or microscopic analysis. The recently returned Caravaggio painting is one example... it is unknown if he actually did the painting. Some supposed Rembrandts fall into the same category.

    In any case that was not my point. The point is that even if there is not 100% certainty of the authenticity of a document or whatever... if the institution that holds it is fairly certain of authenticity... say 85 0r 90% as in the case of the marginalia, they probably dont see that it is in their interests either to pursue the matter further, or to publicize the fact that people ever raised doubts about the authenticity of the item in the first place. In other words, I was merely speculating on why the Crime museum had not authorized the report to be published here on the message boards.

    RH

    Comment


    • Simon Wood wrote:
      In order to establish the authenticity of a painting it would have been subjected to an exhaustive series of scientific tests. This hasn't happened with the marginalia and end-paper notation, so until it does the most anyone can claim is that its authenticity is uncertain.

      Oh, come on! Authentification of handwriting on paper has nothing whatsoever to do with the authentification of paintings. We musicologists have identified all Beethoven, Mozart, Rossini, Meyerbeer autographs just by sight, without any scientific tests whatsoever. There is ONE single specialist on watermarks in musicology (emeritus Alan Tyson from Oxford).

      Trevor Mariott wrote:
      Would you care to nail your colours to the mast then ?

      My colours? An unknown local, possibly even Barnett (so shoot me, all of you), an unknown Jew, possibly even Jacob Levy. As for Tumblety, I'm awaiting the concluding piece by L.J. Palmer in Examiner 4 and the discussion to follow, triggered, among else, by a mysterious discovery announced by Simon Wood to see to what all adds up.
      Best regards,
      Maria

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
        I do not conside them to be minor differences, and besides It matters not how minor the difference are they are sufficent to cause a doubt and its not a waste of time trying to prove or disprove them.

        As a professional investigator its the minor differences that sometimes solves cases.
        I don't think your personal opinion is really the issue. You are not a professional document examiner. Someone went to the effort and expense of paying for this analysis to be done already (I assume the MET?) They got a conclusion. I do not think that they are going to have any interest in pursuing the matter further, simply to satisfy the opinions of you or others, who have an interest in seeing the document proven a fake. If you want to pursue the matter further, I would suggest paying for a second analysis out of your own pocket, this time using the proper comparison samples, and whatever other CSI Miami DNA or ink analysis you guys think might be fun to play around with.

        RH

        Comment


        • Originally posted by robhouse View Post
          I don't think your personal opinion is really the issue. You are not a professional document examiner. Someone went to the effort and expense of paying for this analysis to be done already (I assume the MET?) They got a conclusion. I do not think that they are going to have any interest in pursuing the matter further, simply to satisfy the opinions of you or others, who have an interest in seeing the document proven a fake. If you want to pursue the matter further, I would suggest paying for a second analysis out of your own pocket, this time using the proper comparison samples, and whatever other CSI Miami DNA or ink analysis you guys think might be fun to play around with.

          RH
          I can assure you I do not play around i am not here for pleasure.

          As I previously stated there are other tests which have not been carried out on the document and I feel that they should be.

          If the document is a fake then it should be made public as a fake, likewise if it is proven genuine then i am sure everyone including myself will be happy.

          If i do conduct a second analyasis I will be certain to use the "PROPER" comparision samples.

          As to CSI etc it should be noted that their examinations etc always seem to prove fruitful.

          Ye of little faith
          Last edited by Trevor Marriott; 10-14-2010, 01:27 AM.

          Comment


          • Is accuracy of content really unimportant? I have an old program from the original Broadway run of the King and I. It's signed and date by the cast, including Yul Brynner. Which would make it the most awesome attic find in my family's history. Except it's a fake. I took it to get it appraised, and the guy looked it up, and Yul Brynner did not go on that night, nor any other night that week. I suppose I could have taken it to get examined by autograph experts and handwriting analysts, but it wouldn't have mattered because the content was wrong. If Yul Brynner was not there that night to sign the program, it doesn't matter how convincing the signature may be.

            If there was no Kosminsky who went to a workhouse, then an asylum, and died shortly afterward, then isn't something already wrong with the marginalia? I mean, if Swanson knew who the suspect was, and knew of his fate, shouldn't it be correct? And if it is incorrect, then isn't the marginalia fake? Regardless of signatures or different pens?
            The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Errata View Post
              If there was no Kosminsky who went to a workhouse, then an asylum, and died shortly afterward, then isn't something already wrong with the marginalia? I mean, if Swanson knew who the suspect was, and knew of his fate, shouldn't it be correct? And if it is incorrect, then isn't the marginalia fake?
              No, of course it doesn't mean the marginalia are fake. It just means they contain factual inaccuracies, as do most police reminiscences about the case.

              There was a Kozminski who went to a workhouse and then an asylum. It was Mile End Old Town workhouse, not Stepney workhouse, but as the former is in Stepney that is a fairly understandable mistake. The most important error is the statement that the man died soon afterwards. I don't know how that error arose, but we do know that a well-informed article published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1895 said that Swanson believed the crimes had been committed by a man who had since died. Another more subtle indication that the matter may have been in doubt at Scotland Yard in the mid-1890s is the fact that the Aberconway version of Macnaghten's memorandum said that he believed Kozminski "still was" detained in an asylum, but this phrase is absent from the official version.

              Comment


              • To Chris:
                I wonder if the very important error in the statement that the suspect in question (Kozminski) died soon after incarceration at the asylum might have been a mixup with the Druitt fiasco.
                Might I inquire where the Aberconway version of the Macnaghten memorandum (which states that Kozminski is still detained in an asylum) is available? When you say that the above sentence is absent from the official version, do I understand it correctly that Swanson's is the official version and Aberconway's a later report?
                I'm SO sorry, SY investigates reached me a couple days ago, but due to professional pressures there's NO way whatsoever for me to read it before – probably December.
                Best regards,
                Maria

                Comment


                • Originally posted by mariab View Post
                  Might I inquire where the Aberconway version of the Macnaghten memorandum (which states that Kozminski is still detained in an asylum) is available? When you say that the above sentence is absent from the official version, do I understand it correctly that Swanson's is the official version and Aberconway's a later report?
                  Unfortunately only excerpts from the Aberconway version have ever been published. It's generally been assumed that the Aberconway version (so-called because when it was discovered it was in the possession of Macnaghten's daughter, Lady Aberconway) was an earlier draft, but recently Jonathan Hainsworth has suggested that it was written later than the official version. There's no evidence that Swanson was involved in preparing either, though of course he may have been consulted.

                  Comment


                  • Thank you so much for all the information. Just one last question, could you direct me to where Jonathan Hainsworth recently suggested that the “Aberconway version“ was written later than the official version? Was that in a thread or dissertation here on casebook?
                    Thank you so very much.
                    Best regards,
                    Maria

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by mariab View Post
                      Thank you so much for all the information. Just one last question, could you direct me to where Jonathan Hainsworth recently suggested that the “Aberconway version“ was written later than the official version? Was that in a thread or dissertation here on casebook?
                      Thank you so very much.
                      I think the main presentation was in a Ripperologist article, but you'll find a lot of posts on Casebook too, if you do a Google search along these lines:
                      Hainsworth Aberconway site:casebook.org

                      Comment


                      • Who'd be a genuine expert with so many pretendy ones about?

                        Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                        I can assure you I do not play around i am not here for pleasure.
                        Ah, you poor thing, Trev. Business then?

                        Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                        If the document is a fake then it should be made public as a fake, likewise if it is proven genuine then i am sure everyone including myself will be happy.
                        He said, through gritted teeth...

                        I think that maybe some people are missing the point when they assume there must be something wrong with the marginalia because it was not given an expert's 100% thumbs up - or something dodgy about the Crime Museum's failure to hand over a report just so a pack of ripper enthusiasts can fill their boots.

                        As soon as there is a hint that a document's provenance and authenticity have been "questioned", anyone whose expertise is in handwriting comparison and not in the subject matter is going to err on the side of caution professionally, even if he has little or no doubt in his own mind that it is absolutely "right". Only a fool would declare himself certain, in a field where some smart alec could turn up, claiming to have faked the handwriting and fooled the experts, and instantly be believed. Or, perhaps more likely, some even smarter alec could claim to know it was faked and who did it, and be believed, despite producing no actual evidence.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Chris View Post
                          No, of course it doesn't mean the marginalia are fake. It just means they contain factual inaccuracies, as do most police reminiscences about the case.
                          So it's like the witness statements from the Salem witch trials. The documents are genuine, it's the content that's not.

                          If they in fact had found him, you'd think they would make an effort to keep track of the guy. He embarrassed them and got a whole lot of important people fired. I would have bet money that the people who knew who he was would also know where he was until he was safely in his grave. And then they would have danced on it. Maybe I am just more susceptible to a grudge then most.
                          The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                          Comment


                          • To Chris:
                            Thank you so very much. I've not subscribed to Ripperologist yet, but I intend to very soon, plus there's an ever increasing list of back issues I'll need to order from them.
                            Caz, as almost always, you're spot on in your comments.
                            Errata, sorry to criticize you again (fits with your name!), but in historical research ALSO the history of the sources with a non-correct content requires to be researched and interpreted. The Macnaghten report and the Swanson marginalia are very important contemporary sources, there are significant reasons why they occurred the way they occurred, and these reasons required to be interpreted! The JTR case is so fascinating because it's tightly linked to the history of the British police, to the social history of Victorian England, and to the political climate in Europe at the end of the 19th century.
                            Gotta run now, I'm just home for a few minutes to deposit some stuff, then off to running further errands.
                            Best regards,
                            Maria

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by caz View Post
                              Ah, you poor thing, Trev. Business then?



                              He said, through gritted teeth...

                              I think that maybe some people are missing the point when they assume there must be something wrong with the marginalia because it was not given an expert's 100% thumbs up - or something dodgy about the Crime Museum's failure to hand over a report just so a pack of ripper enthusiasts can fill their boots.

                              As soon as there is a hint that a document's provenance and authenticity have been "questioned", anyone whose expertise is in handwriting comparison and not in the subject matter is going to err on the side of caution professionally, even if he has little or no doubt in his own mind that it is absolutely "right". Only a fool would declare himself certain, in a field where some smart alec could turn up, claiming to have faked the handwriting and fooled the experts, and instantly be believed. Or, perhaps more likely, some even smarter alec could claim to know it was faked and who did it, and be believed, despite producing no actual evidence.

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X
                              But the point of the matter is now that there are other tests which may prove or disprove its authenticiy, whic a lot of people dont seem to want to take place.

                              Is there or is there not a need for total transparency. I belive there is perhaps Alam McCormick from the Crime museum should stand up and be counted. Because the reply he has sent me in relation to my letter to the commissioner is un acceptable and would indicate a lack of transparency or what you might call a deliberate attempt to hinder my investigation.

                              As I have said before I will not stop till all my lines of enquiries have been either completed or as wil; probably be the case that the met will again choose to not co-operate.

                              And I do no much more about this whole issue which I am not prepared to divulge on here at his time. Lets see whose running for cover in the headlights !
                              Last edited by Trevor Marriott; 10-14-2010, 05:50 PM.

                              Comment


                              • Hi Caz,

                                There is little point to miss. If the authenticity of the end-paper notation is inconclusive, then the Crime Museum refusing to make public the report containing the element of doubt–whilst at the same displaying the notation as genuine–presents something of an ethical dilemma.

                                There have been precipitate calls to enter the marginalia and endpaper notation into the historical record, but to do this would endow them with perhaps undeserved authenticity. The best all-round solution, therefore, is for the Crime Museum to display a simple caveat with Swanson's book.

                                Where's the harm in that?

                                Regards,

                                Simon
                                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

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