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Hyam Hyams: Portrait of a Suspect

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  • Hyam Hyams: Portrait of a Suspect

    Since we have empty folders for all sorts of suspects, I thought I'd try to fill some of them up.

    Here's a link to the dissertation "Hyam Hyams: Portrait of a Suspect" by Wolf Vanderlinden, from Ripper Notes #27.

    Dan Norder
    Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
    Web site: - Email:

  • #2

    Good thinking. Links to dissertations that perhaps many haven't read, are sure to raise questions and create posts.



    • #3
      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for putting this back on here. I pondered it several times before the computer monster got us. I did a little scouting around but didn't turn up much. The name Hyam is a lot more common than one word think at first.
      Anyway, thanks.

      Best Wishes,

      "What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"" From Pyramids by Sir Terry Pratchett, a British National Treasure.



      • #4
        Looks like a great suspect on paper, lots of circumstansial evidence and is a very interesting proposition. The only thing that would rule him out for me is his appearence. He certainly doesn't look like someone who blends in very well. In fact he looks rather scary.


        • #5
          he does indeed look scary, and also almost a stereotype of a jew, which the police thought the ripper may have been. he is one of my more favoured suspects since i read about him here on casebook
          walking through the street at night...


          • #6
            Hyams was 35 yrs in 1888 so I presume the 'scary picture' was taken several years later. Maybe he had a look that helped him blend in better at a younger age?


            • #7

              Originally posted by Diddles View Post
              Hyams was 35 yrs in 1888 so I presume the 'scary picture' was taken several years later. Maybe he had a look that helped him blend in better at a younger age?
              The photograph was taken on May 4, 1899.

              Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


              • #8

                Hello All. This is from the Jewish Standard August 17, 1888.

                INSTITUTION FOR R E L I E V I N G THE
                INDIGENT BLIND of the JEWISH FAITH.
                ESTABLISHED A.M. 5579—1819.
                President—Sir B. S. PHILLIPS.
                Vice-President—J OH. N I. SOLOMON, Esq.
                Treasurer—DAVID HYAM, Esq.
                THE Committee beg to announce
                that five additional Pensioners have
                recently been elected, and will receive
                £20 16s. per annum for life
                In accordance with the custom for many
                years past they have been admitted without
                a contested election.
                The number o£ pensioners on the books is
                now 57, being the largest number since the
                establishment of the Charity, and involving
                an annual outlay of nearly £1,200.
                FUNDS are URGENTLY NEEDED and
                will be thankfully received by t h e Treasurer,
                David Hynni, Esq., 35, Tavistock Square,
                W.C., by any member of the Committee.or by
                HENRY H. HYAMS, Sec.
                5, Duke Street, Aldgate, E.C., July 11, 1888.
                Annual Subscription, 10s. and upwards.
                Life Governorship, £Lf» lCs.

                I can't help but notice the Henry H. Hyams and his address. Is he related to our Hyam Hyams?

                The best.


                • #9
                  I happen to have read this article by Wolf Vanderlinden, as I happen to have Ripper Notes#27 at home. Hyam Hyams (now THAT's a name fit for a serial killer which Hollywood would embrace) is listed on the 1891 census twice, as an inmate of the Colney Hatch asylum (as a cigar maker aged 35) and as living in 40 New Street, Gravel Lane, Aldgate (as a cabinet maker aged 37).
                  By the by, Lynn, did the translation of page 2 of Der Arbeter Fraint already come out, and did it contain any interesting details?
                  I'll probably apply for a very Jewish-ly formulated Mellon post doc at Johns Hopkins for an interdisciplinary program (“topics of diaspora“), while very much in doubt that they'd take a non Jewish person and a musicologist. Perhaps I should read Der Arbeter Fraint, to get in the groove for some Jewish rhetoric.
                  Best regards,


                  • #10
                    While checking whether Hyam Hyams fitted a recently discovered press account of a suspect, I discovered something rather odd. The following appears to be a notice of his death, published in the Jewish Chronicle of 28 March 1913:

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                    There are a couple of small discrepancies - the date of death is a day earlier than that given in Wolf Vanderlinden's account, and the given name is "Hyman," not "Hyam." But as the index of death registrations contains no entry for a "Hyman Hyams" in the first two quarters of 1913, I think this must in fact refer to the same man. The United Synagogue burials database shows that Hyam Hyams was buried at Plashet Cemetery on 25 March.

                    An apparently more serious discrepancy is that his wife's name is given as Sarah whereas, in the 1891 census entry identified as Hyam's, his wife's name is Rachel. At first I wondered whether the identification of the census entry was incorrect - particularly as he was actually an inmate of Colney Hatch Asylum at the date of the census.

                    In fact, this may be a case of a woman being known by two different given names:
                    (1) In the 1891 census Rachel is aged 34, and two children are shown: William, aged 5, and Kate, aged 3. All three are stated to have been born in Aldgate.
                    (2) A search for a married head of household named Sarah Hyams in 1901 brings up a woman living at 1A Hutchinson St, Aldgate. Under her age "NK" has first been written, then this has been deleted and 35 written above it. There are two children: [?]Ike, aged 15, and Kate, aged 12. All three are stated to have been born in Spitalfields.
                    (3) In 1911 Sarah Hyams is at the same address given in the death notice, 21 Floreston Street. She is described as aged 56 and born in the City of London. She has a daughter Katey, aged 23, who is the wife of Joseph Defries (Joseph and Katey had married in the City of London in the first quarter of 1910). Katey's place of birth is "Bell Lane Spitalfields," which may be the same address where Hyam Hyams was living in April 1889 ("4 Bell Court Lane").

                    Obviously these entries disagree in a lot of respects, but I'm inclined to think they do all represent the same family.

                    Another odd thing is that there appears to be no record of Hyam's marriage, either to a Rachel or to a Sarah, between 1881 (when he was unmarried) and the late 1880s when on any assumption his children must have been born. According to the 1911 census, Sarah had been married for 30 years; unfortunately the columns where the numbers of children should have been recorded are left blank. No doubt this is an approximate figure, but it seems to point to the marriage having taken place soon after the date of the 1881 census.

                    A Hyam Hyams did marry in the second quarter of 1882 in the City of London, either to Rose Aarons or to Catherine Barnett. The other bridegroom on the page is an Emanuel Phillips, and there is what appears to be a matching entry for an Emanuel Phillips with a wife named Kitty in the 1891 census. So the bride of Hyam Hyams would appear to be Rose Aarons.

                    Could Rose be the same person as Rachel in 1891 and Sarah in later years? Apparently not, because a couple named Hyam Hyams and Rose also appear in the 1891 census. To make matters even more confusing, they lived at "232 Jubillee St," Mile End (Hyam Hyams the suspect lived at 217 Jubilee St in 1888), and this Hyam was a self-employed fruiterer (as the suspect had been!). He was, however, about three years younger than the suspect, at 33.

                    At that point I felt something was telling me to give up and leave the problem to a more patient researcher ...


                    • #11
                      Hi Chris,

                      that my good man, is interesting and puzzling.

                      A few of my ancestors 'forgot' to get married and later 'forgot' they weren't and said they were .So I guess that is possible. But not living at neaarly the same house as someone who has the same name?!

                      some of my ancestors ran away and 'pretended' they were married to someone else whilst there wife was still alive. but not in the same county. I suppose the Rachel/Sarah could be a second wife - but the kids probably put a spanner inthat one?

                      i don't want o sound wrong here , but Sarah and Rachel both appear to be more typically Jewish sounding than Rose (Aarons though



                      “be just and fear not”


                      • #12
                        Re the possible Levy connection, 1a Hutchinson St seems rather coincidental!?


                        • #13
                          Jennifer Pegg wrote:
                          i don't want o sound wrong here, but Sarah and Rachel both appear to be more typically Jewish sounding than Rose (Aarons though).

                          That's what I thought too.
                          During the last couple of days I was running around taking care of some bureacracy, and I can't count how many times the different clerks kept typing wrong entries into the computer, despite my repeteadly correcting them. Like, they were asking "First name?" –"Maria“. - “First name, Catherine.“ - "No, Maria.“ "Yes, first name Catherine.“ -“No, not Catherine, Maria.“ -"OK, Maria.“ It would go on like this for hours, and I can't even describe what they did with my home address. I can't imagine that things would be too different in the Victorian era.
                          What could the Levy connection possibly signify? (That they were in it together? Just kidding... This somehow reminds me of the late David Radka's theory of “alternative Ripperology“.) In my opinion, the possible Levy connection demonstrates again how small and concentrated Victorian Whitechapel was.
                          Last edited by mariab; 10-23-2010, 12:10 AM.
                          Best regards,


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Robert View Post
                            Re the possible Levy connection, 1a Hutchinson St seems rather coincidental!?
                            Well, if this were part of 1 Hutchinson Street, it might be interesting, especially as we know that Joseph Hyam Levy owned that house (which would have made him the landlord of Hyam Hyams's wife). Unfortunately it's not clear from the census return whether it was or not. Number 1 appears several pages earlier, and numbers 2A and 1A come at the end, after number 21. I suppose a Goad Plan might clarify things.


                            • #15
                              Yes Chris, Jane's buildings do look separate from Number One.