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There's Something Wrong with the Swanson Marginalia

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
    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 that case, I was obviously wide of the mark with my speculations about the News of the World's change of editors in 1987, based on Martin Fido's statement that "Shortly after that N o W changed owners or editor, and the new regime didn't use the material".

    According to online sources, there was also a change of editors in 1981, when Derek Jameson ("Do They Mean Us?") took over from Barry Askew.

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    • #32
      To my untrained eye,the signatures do not appear dissimular.

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      • #33
        The 'Marginalia'

        Whilst I do accept the grounds for discussing fakery, and that such a thing is possible I would just like to re-state my position.

        The idea that the 'marginalia' might not be genuine was raised in 1991 by author Paul Harrison in his book Jack the Ripper The Mystery Solved. As far as I know there was no evidence to support him stating that. He stated [inter alia] "The marginalia are allegedly in the hand of Swanson..." and "I feel suspicious about the authenticity of the notes and their accuracy."

        The first edition of The Jack the Ripper A to Z came out the same year and the authors rejected Harrison's suggestion with "Paul Harrison's suggestion that the marginalia may not be genuine is completely unfounded. Their provenance is established beyond peradventure, and the writing has been confirmed as Swanson's by the Home Office document examiner."

        This final statement appears to have ended any speculation about the authenticity of the annotations and no published claims of fakery, as far as I know, appeared after this. This may be unfortunate as at that time the book was still easily accessible for those interested as Jim Swanson was still alive and available for comment.

        As far as I know Keith and I were the next two Ripper students to see the book which we did in July 2000, during the final stages of finishing the Ultimate Sourcebook (Companion), at Jim Swanson's home near Guildford. The main object of the visit was to obtain photographs of the annotations, two of which appeared in our book which came out a short while afterwards.

        In view of Harrison's remarks about the 'marginalia' and a couple of views that had been privately made to me I have to admit that the differences apparent in the marginalia/endpaper notes struck me rather forcibly and caused a little unease. But there certainly did not seem enough to start making allegations of fakery.

        When I finally disclosed the differences in the pencils/handwriting in the book on these boards just after Jim Swanson passed away I made no reference to thinking that the annotations might have been faked, in part or whole. This was the conclusion voiced by others and Martin Fido appeared on the boards in an outraged manner. My position remains the same, and if I had to bet big money on it I should have to say that I would bet on the notes being genuine, despite the anomalies.

        This is why I have stated that the problems should have been spotted and addressed back in 1988 - they were not and we now have the current arguments being aired and Jim Swanson is not available for comment.
        Last edited by Stewart P Evans; 03-11-2009, 09:33 AM.
        SPE

        Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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        • #34
          Writing comparison

          Ive just found this thread. Interesting. It is my opinion that the upper of these three signatures is a genuine one and the lower two are attempts at copying the original one.

          The top one has a flow that comes from years of doing the same thing, but the bottom two are hesitant and erratic. Look at the clean sweep joining the D and the S in the top signature and the hesitant line doing the same thing in the bottom two.

          The line joining the two capital Ss in the top example is not the same as the erratic line in the bottom two.

          Writing in pencil wouldnt cause these differences.
          Attached Files

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          • #35
            Sorry, I've even got my glasses on and I can't see any difference. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist but damned if I can see it.
            http://oznewsandviews.proboards.com

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            • #36
              So what would help get some additional clarity here? Certainty seems unlikely?

              Who would have access to reports produced by the two analysts?

              How could a new expert be given access to the book in the museum?

              Could our A-Z authors comment?

              Sushka

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post

                When I finally disclosed the differences in the pencils/handwriting in the book on these boards just after Jim Swanson passed away I made no reference to thinking that the annotations might have been faked, in part or whole....

                This is why I have stated that the problems should have been spotted and addressed back in 1988 - they were not and we now have the current arguments being aired and Jim Swanson is not available for comment.
                Hi Stewart,

                But of course it must be pointed out that as you also waited until Jim Swanson passed away before airing the differences in public, you have also played a role in ensuring that there are no questions able to be asked when Jim Swanson WAS available for comment.

                So yes, the optimum time was in 1988, but there was a window of opportunity when Jim Swanson was available, the marginalia was still in private ownership when it could have been examined and thoroughly vetted and you passed on it as well.

                And now we are left with questions that we will never have any hope of resolving.

                Let all Oz be agreed;
                I'm Wicked through and through.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Cap'n Jack View Post
                  I disagree, Natalie, I think cd has hit it right on the button here.
                  I just spent fifteen minutes looking at all my hundreds of marginalia in Stewart's sourcebook, and I never initialled or signed one entry.
                  Why should I?
                  Why should he?
                  AP, how many of the pages of "Stewart's sourcebook" concern events you were involved in (albeit sometimes peripherally)?
                  Truth is female, since truth is beauty rather than handsomeness; this [...] would certainly explain the saying that a lie could run around the world before Truth has got its, correction, her boots on, since she would have to chose which pair - the idea that any woman in a position to choose would have just one pair of boots being beyond rational belief.
                  Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett.

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                  • #39
                    I can understand the dilemma that those associated with this book would have found themselves in. It wasn't an anonymous affair, like finding the book on a skip. There was a personal element involved, and unlike family oral tradition, where there is a polite "someone's memory may be at fault" option, the choices were starker and
                    there would have been a reluctance to say anything that might be taken to imply an accusation of trickery. An embarrassing situation.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Chris View Post
                      In his Ripperologist article, Paul Begg refers to an annotation in Swanson's copy of Adam Worth, alias 'Little Adam', by William Pinkerton, which he initialled.
                      Thanks for that, Chris. Then I suppose we can relieve this little detail of any suspicious leanings.

                      Yours truly,

                      Tom Wescott

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                      • #41
                        On the thread entitled 'Swanson Said Dear Boss Letter Writer Was Known', Rob House posted a page from Swanson's copy of Anderson's book where Swanson pencils in that the letter writer's identity was 'known to Scotland Yard head officers of CID.'

                        For the purposes of our discussion here (which is of course not about the Dear Boss letter) I found it quite intriguing that Swanson chose not to identify the letter writer's name, and perhaps even qualified this decision by drawing a line next to the sentences that read, 'Scotland Yard can boast that not even the subordinate officers of the department will tell tales out of school...', and further underlining 'and it would ill become me to violate the unwritten rule of the service.'

                        If his underlining and highlighting are to be taken that he agrees with Anderson on these points - an idea supported by the fact that he does not write the name of the alleged 'Dear Boss' author - what does that tell us about his decision to name the Ripper?

                        I suppose we could see it two ways. Perhaps it explains why he chose not to write the Ripper's name or details at that time, and only did so later when he experienced a change of heart. A more pessimistic view might be that Swanson's behavior here suggests he is not responsible for the writing that names Kosminski.

                        Personally, I believe the writing is genuine, although there's no question in my mind that this discussion has been extremely fruitful.

                        I'm going to try to post Rob House's copy of the page in question. I hope Rob will not be upset at my doing so.

                        Yours truly,

                        Tom Wescott
                        Attached Files

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                        • #42
                          Tom,

                          My interpretation of the underline has always been the opposite. I assumed that Swanson underlined "and it would ill become me to violate the unwritten rule of the service" because he noted the irony in the fact that this was exactly what Anderson was in fact doing. Swanson, I believe, never wrote publicly on the murders at all.

                          In addition, as he highlights the sentence "Scotland Yard can boast that not even the subordinate officers of the department will tell tales out of school...", it should be noted the word "subordinate". Swanson of course was Anderson's subordinate. But it seems clear than Anderson intended "subordinate" to mean "lower officers." My point (admittedly on the other thread) is that "known to Scotland Yard head officers of CID" might be in reference to this, instead of to the Dear Boss letter.

                          I realize this is not the conventional wisdom. But he underlines "head" twice... perhaps this is a reference to Anderson's use of the term "subordinate officers", as if to say "it was not known to any subordinate officers. It was only known to the head officers at CID'.

                          Rob H

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                          • #43
                            Old and Fragile

                            Originally posted by Ally View Post
                            Hi Stewart,
                            But of course it must be pointed out that as you also waited until Jim Swanson passed away before airing the differences in public, you have also played a role in ensuring that there are no questions able to be asked when Jim Swanson WAS available for comment.
                            So yes, the optimum time was in 1988, but there was a window of opportunity when Jim Swanson was available, the marginalia was still in private ownership when it could have been examined and thoroughly vetted and you passed on it as well.
                            And now we are left with questions that we will never have any hope of resolving.
                            Hi Ally, yes I appreciate that, but by the time I met Jim Swanson he was very old and fragile and it was obvious that any detailed questioning could cause him much distress, especially if he thought that the authenticity of something that he was obviously proud of was being challenged.

                            On the day that we visited him, it was to assist us with a book project and to allow us to photograph the annotations. He and his wife were very hospitable and there was no way that I was going to abuse that hospitality. Indeed, I was so surprised by the inconsistencies in the annotations that I didn't really know what to do. I mentioned it when I saw it, which Keith acknowledged, and Jim made no comment at all.

                            As I have already explained, I agonised for some time before deciding to 'go public' with what I had seen as I guessed the response that I would receive from certain quarters. Maybe I was wrong but at least Jim Swanson was not caused any worry, perhaps even made ill. As you have noted, it should have been done 12 years earlier.
                            SPE

                            Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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                            • #44
                              Photocopies

                              Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                              On the thread entitled 'Swanson Said Dear Boss Letter Writer Was Known', Rob House posted a page from Swanson's copy of Anderson's book where Swanson pencils in that the letter writer's identity was 'known to Scotland Yard head officers of CID.'
                              ...If his underlining and highlighting are to be taken that he agrees with Anderson on these points - an idea supported by the fact that he does not write the name of the alleged 'Dear Boss' author - what does that tell us about his decision to name the Ripper?
                              I'm going to try to post Rob House's copy of the page in question. I hope Rob will not be upset at my doing so.
                              Yours truly,
                              Tom Wescott
                              Tom, it's not exactly Rob's 'own' copy. These are the photocopies that were all we had in the 1990s when they were 'doing the rounds.' You may see by the darkening of the book page that the copier must have been at a very dark setting in order to darken the writing. Years ago I spliced a couple of these copies together for comparison on the old thread.

                              Click image for larger version

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                              SPE

                              Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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                              • #45
                                Full Page

                                Here's the full page photocopy of page 138, note how dark the copier is set -

                                Click image for larger version

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                                SPE

                                Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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