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There's Something Wrong with the Swanson Marginalia

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  • Hi Pierre,

    Seaside Homes, not necessarily for policemen.

    Regards,

    Simon
    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
      Hi Pierre,

      Seaside Homes, not necessarily for policemen.

      Regards,

      Simon
      Good, thanks Simon.

      Regards, Pierre

      Comment


      • Hi All,

        In a 15th April 1981 memo discovered together with a typewritten draft of his News of the World article, Charles Sandell wrote—

        "Before he died in 1924 Detective Supt. Donald Swanson of Scotland Yard wrote details of the Ripper investigation and his views (about 200 words) in the back of a book written by Sir Robert Anderson, former head of C.I.D. at Scotland Yard."

        Charles Sandell also wrote in the memo—

        “I have twice visited Mr. Swanson and I am convinced of his authenticity.”

        In the article itself, Charles Sandell quoted James Swanson—

        “The book is called ‘The Lighter Side of My Official Life’ and was published in 1905. As my grandfather worked under Sir Robert and was involved in various cases, he was pleased to receive a signed copy of the book.”

        From this, it is not unreasonable to deduce that, during one of Charles Sandell's visits, he was shown a copy of ‘The Lighter Side of My Official Life,' published in 1905 and signed by Sir Robert Anderson.

        But we know that Sir Robert Anderson's book was published in 1910; also that Swanson's copy was a gift, inscribed "from Fred."

        So, what book was Charles Sandell shown?

        Regards,

        Simon
        Last edited by Simon Wood; 02-05-2017, 02:42 PM. Reason: spolling mistook
        Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

        Comment


        • Isn't the likely answer to this 'mystery' set out in 'Red Lines and Purple Pencil: A History of the Swanson Marginalia' by Adam Wood and Keith Skinner (Ripperologist 128)?

          The copy of James Swanson's 'Lighter Side of My Official Life' contains within it a letter glued onto the first page, being a letter from Robert Anderson to Donald Swanson dated Christmas Day of 1905 referring to 'acceptance of the accompanying book'.

          While that accompanying book could not have been 'Lighter Side', the authors of the article say: "This would seem to indicate that the letter had been placed with the book by the time Charles Sandell visited Jim in early 1981, and that the date '1905' had become entrenched in Jim's mind".

          At the very least, one can't begin to answer your question without this vital piece of information.

          Comment


          • Hi David,

            Yes, the 1905 letter is the letter that was there, wasn't there, and then, as if by magic, was there again.

            It's interesting that both James and Nevill Swanson have promoted the false notion that TLSOMOL was a gift to their grandfather/great-grandfather from Sir Robert Anderson.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnTy3yfzH4o

            Start at 20.58.

            Regards,

            Simon
            Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
              It's interesting that both James and Nevill Swanson have promoted the false notion that TLSOMOL was a gift to their grandfather/great-grandfather from Sir Robert Anderson.
              But if they both mistakenly thought that the book was the enclosure to the 1905 letter then it's not really that 'interesting' is it?

              Comment


              • Hi David,

                How did they square their mistaken belief with the inscription "from Fred"?

                Regards,

                Simon
                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                  How did they square their mistaken belief with the inscription "from Fred"?
                  I'm not sure why you are asking me but, being as helpful as I can for you Simon, might I suggest that believing the book came from Robert Anderson and knowing that there was in inscription in the book (and being normal people, rather than true crime obsessives like ourselves) they simply managed to convince themselves in their mind that the wording was "from Robert"?

                  Comment


                  • Hi David,

                    That is a real stretch.

                    But thank you for the thought.

                    Regards,

                    Simon
                    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                      Hi David,

                      That is a real stretch.

                      But thank you for the thought.
                      No problem Simon. I wouldn't really call it a 'stretch' though. I appreciate that you never make mistakes but normal people do. And they do it quite often.

                      Comment


                      • But it is a "stretch."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                          But it is a "stretch."
                          As I've already said Scott, I don't think it is a 'stretch'.

                          I mean, if James Swanson believed that the book was sent directly by Anderson to Donald Swanson under cover of a letter dated December 1905 then, knowing that there was an inscription in the book, why wouldn't he have assumed that the inscription was written by Anderson?

                          What surely would be a 'stretch' is any other explanation for this. I noted that Simon didn't provide one, nor you. Fancy it?

                          Comment


                          • Because it said "from Fred."

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                              Because it said "from Fred."
                              Let's leave aside that for all James Swanson knew 'Fred' could have been Anderson's middle name or nickname, because while it obviously says "from Fred" the question is: did James Swanson remember that?

                              Yes, sure, he once saw it said "from Fred" but then many years later I suggest he forgot this detail and, being aware of the letter from Anderson, simply assumed that the inscription was by Anderson.

                              If you think memory cannot play tricks on us then you will no doubt think it is a 'stretch'. But I believe it's fairly well established that memory DOES play tricks.

                              No alternative explanation offered I see, to my satisfaction.

                              Comment

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