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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > Swanson, Chief Inspector Donald

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  #11  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:00 AM
Ash Ash is offline
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Grey Hunter
16th January 2006, 11:48 PM
For many years I had hoped to see the actual Swanson marginalia 'in the flesh.' As the book was still in the Swanson family, and I always feel that approaches to private individuals can be intrusive and unwelcome, I had never taken that step.

Eventually circumstances led to the necessity for me to meet Jim Swanson. In July 2000 I finally did get to meet him and to examine the book in question. I travelled down to Surrey and met him at his home set in rolling parkland. He was an elderly gentleman, using a walking stick, and a lot shorter than I had imagined him to be (albeit I had seen him only on television). He was a retired Royal Navy man and was very alert and friendly. Knowing that I was on a Ripper quest he said, "My grandfather knew who it was." He stated he had been amused by all the 'fuss' in 1987 when the marginalia was published, but otherwise had no real interest in the Ripper. He asked what the book would be worth and I said probably thousands but I thought it should stay in the family. He told me that someone at the time had said it would be worth about 7,000 and he had it insured in that amount. I must add here, in fairness to him, that I do not think that the monetary value was a great consideration for him, other than insuring the book against loss. I do not think that he was needful of cash. On the floor, leaning in an orderly row against the wall, were his grandfather's books which included the valuable The Lighter Side of My Official Life by Sir Robert Anderson, one of Anderson's theological books, Anderson's Criminals and Crime, Anderson's biography (first edition in dust wrapper), Eddie Guerin's Crime, and Sweeney's When I Was at Scotland Yard. At the rear of the row of books was a very old bound scrapbook containing early cuttings on Swanson's cases, all pre-Ripper from the 1870s to 1880. In front of these was a tin containing photographs and a small pile of documents. I immediately picked up the Anderson book and examined the marginalia. It seemed strange to be holding the very book that Swanson had owned and that had caused such great interest in Ripperological circles. I also had a look at the original document that had placed Swanson in charge of the Ripper enquiry and a list of the murders in copperplate handwriting. (I shall post images of my photographs of these later).

And now to the marginalia. I was very surprised at how faint the pencilled notes were, images I had seen of them previously showed them to be much darker. This isn't meant to imply that something had been done to them, they were just much fainter than I expected them to be. However, the biggest surprise was that the marginalia inside the book on page 138 was written with a grey pencil but with a distinct purplish tinge to it and the writing was indented into the page as if hard pressure had been applied when writing. However, on turning to the notes on the rear free endpaper beginning "continuing from page 138..." it was clear that they were written with a different pencil of a pale grey hue and not indented into the page. There was a slightly different appearance to the writing that could easily be accounted for by the fact that there was much more room to write whereas the writing in the text, of necessity, had to be cramped. I photographed the pages and left after an enjoyable visit with a gracious host and his charming wife.

Again, here, I must stress that I am recording facts and not making any interpretation of those facts. It must also be allowed that anyone writing notes may have more than one pencil to hand, and so no one should leap to hasty conclusions. These facts are all part of the puzzle of the marginalia and final analysis, when I have finished this essay, may lead to some possible answers and some sort of consensus of opinion on them. I am sure that you will all find this an interesting exercise and it will also mean that the information that I possess is recorded.
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fido
17th January 2006, 12:11 AM
Many thanks to those who have welcomed me back.

Paul Begg has reminded me of what I thought was the case, but hesitated to put out from my increasingly elderly memory: he sent the Home Ofice expert a memo from Swanson which had apprently been transcribed by a secretary together with a sample of the marginalia - I would guess, but cannot confirm, the endnote.

Of course all Grey Hunter's concerns about the contents of the marginalia are valid: the notes have been a puzzle ever since they emerged. I first met Don Rumbelow on that ocasion, put in touch with him by the Telegraph which wanted us both to confer over them. At the end of our three hours' bewilderment at many of the points Grey Hunter raises, Don offered the conclusion, "All I can say is it shows Kosminsky existed, but he wasn't the Ripper." To this I replied that I'd already written a book saying just that!

I don't think the question of money enters into the provenance one way or the other: what does is the sterling honesty of Jim Swanson. Charles Nevin, now with the Independent, may recall the fact that the News of the World had foregone the option of using the material. Mr Swanson certainly told me this fact when I met him and he recapitulated the history of the document, which I remember as being common knowledge to those of us who saw the marginalia even before I met him. The interesting new fact Mr Swanson offered was that his grandfather was remembered as spending his retirement largely in a greenhouse or potting shed tying fishing flies and "writing". When I asked what he was writing I was told it was annotations in his books like those in the Anderson memoirs. (The Ripper notes aren't the only ones in that book, though they are far and away the longest. I can't remember now whether there are more others than that identifying Macnaghten as the officer who annoyed Anderson by fussing over a threatening letter). I don't think anyone who looks at a wide range of samples of Swanson's handwriting with an open mind will have any serious suspicion that the writing is forged.

Grey Hunter and others are perfectly correct to point out that Anderson could have been wrong - I said so myself from the outset, adding that he was always opinionated (i.e. he would have insisted on a wrong opinion as firmly as he did on a right one). But he cannot properly be accused of dreaming up or forgetfully and usefully misremembering a positive outcome to make his memoirs impressive: he had been reprimanded by the Home Office before his retirement for including his guarded answer to the Ripper 'mystery' in a paper which is now in the very difficult Home Office box of half-closed files - I think its no.144 - in the PRO. This occurred in about 1901 and the paper was for some sort of criminological conference if I remember rightly.

But modern police practice should not be used to assess the activities of 1888. I remember Don telling me that Dew couldn't have been in the CID in 1888: he was too junior. This would be valid today, but in fact Dew had been in H Division CID since 1887. Likewise, Assistant Commissioners today don't get into hands-on detective work (and I see no reason to suppose that either Anderson or Swanson necessarily attended the mysterious ID at the "Seaside Home" in person). But we know for a fact that Macnaghten liked to get down to major crime scenes and have a look at them himself, and we know that Anderson interviewed a suspect and offered him the half-truth that a victim's eyes had been photographed (implying that his image might be trapped on the retina: we don't, alas, know whether this was a Ripper suspect, though I doubt it). We know that Warren interviewed Packer and took notes. So Anderson's opinins are not invalidated by the supposition that he learned nothing except what had been fltered through junior officers for him (even though his own account indicates that this was in a way true of his initial investigation, examining the notebooks).

Anderson is a historical not a legal witness. He doesn't prove that anyone in particular was the Ripper, even though, as Philip Sugden pointed out, he is the only contemporary to present any evidence against his suspect. His comments say less than the marginalia, and so, as Paul Begg has noted, his mind may have contained as much error as Swanson's. It is indeed odd that Swanson should initial his notes - I don't know whether he did so in any other case: hecertainly didn't in the memoirs. But the marginalia are hugely important historically, especially for their errors. they show us th degree of confusion and uncertainty that existed in the police at the time, and in my opinion anyone who uses them as evidence of anything except confused thinking by Swanson in retirement - (and the family is quite clear that he kept all his marbles) - really must offer some hypothetical explanation for the factual errors and mysteries like the Seaside Home. I believ I am in fact the only person to have done so. but I recgnize fully that it puts all that part of my argument which depends on Swanson into the realm of hypothesis (and of course I offered an argument for Cohen before the marginalia became public).
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:01 AM
Ash Ash is offline
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fido cont...

My own feeling would be that, far from Ripper enthusiasts taking Swanson and Anderson too seriously, there has been a rather desperate attempt to invaidate them, since if they stand as accepted primary historical witnesses exciting and fun theories about freemasons and black magicians and artists and royalty and people's great-uncles all disappear into thin air. Where I myself feel all suspects so far named belong, belong, for Druitt, Kosminsky, Cohen, Tumblety, and at lower levels and possibly having only one victim, Kidney and Barnett, and lower still, Bury. All of us tend to be forced by publishers to make the most vehement case we can for our suspects, hence rather large assertions made by me about Cohen and Gainey and Evans about Tumblety. I have always believd that the late Melvin Harris's strong insistence on Donston's guilt owed more to publisher's needs than scholarly conviction. Shirley Harrison had to accept an introduction to her work from a publisher who didn't think she was quite assertive enough, and Stewart Evans and I have both publicly stepped back from the very firm conclusions drawn in "the Lodger" and "The Crimes Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper". (I don't know where Paul Gainey stands on that).
But the possibiity of a brand new real suspect emering from a valid historical source still exists.


All the best,

Martin Fido
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fido
17th January 2006, 12:15 AM
Sorry - the crucial word "except" got omitted from my concluding list of the suspects I see as historically rspectable!
MF
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How Brown
17th January 2006, 01:00 AM
Dear Mr. Fido:

You stated above:

"he [ Anderson ] had been reprimanded by the Home Office before his retirement for including his guarded answer to the Ripper 'mystery' in a paper which is now in the very difficult Home Office box of half-closed files - I think its no.144 - in the PRO."

Will this file ever be permissible to examine by either the public or an academician from an accredited college as part of a scholarly work? In addition,whom would one approach for the right to peruse the file #144 ? Thank you sir.
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fido
17th January 2006, 02:36 AM
Hallo How Brown!

I've just glanced quickly into Evans and Skinner's sourcebook, and find so much in there from HO144 that I'm doubting whether it really is the file I meant. That number might have stayed in my head as the Home Office file with the most Ripper-related papers in it.
I found a refernce to the Home Office file I wanted in a book on the Special Branch and covert policing - can't remember what it was called or who it was by; only that I got it out of Penzance Public Library 15 or more years ago. (They've probably dumped it into a library sale by now, as it wasn't the sort of book to attract large Cornish readership or justify itself as a necessary reference tool). It referred to a paper that gave some details of Anderson's secret service work, and as people at that time were starting to denigrate him with the claim that he did very little and only managed the single spy Beach, I was interested to see what it had to say. There may have been some restriction on the file - I don't remember now - but I do remember that the librarian at the Public Record Office receiving my order commented that it was a difficult file to get hold of or find one's way into or something. I found what I was looking for - evidence of other spies managed by Anderson: a mother and daughter, I think it was. Also some details on the 1870 attempted Fenian invasion of Canada which the spy infiltrators reported back to London. I was amused to note that this was still supposed to be a closed file: I doubted whether PIRA was likely to mount an attack on Calgary! I see I kept sufficient record of the Anderson material to have entered in the A-Z the existence of the 1901 short article on penology, filed by civil servants along with other irritating examples of Anderson's tendency to publish official information without permission.
Anyone may work in the Public Record Office. You probably need to be carrying some simple form of identification. The collected MEPO Ripper papers are now. alas, on microfilm - a very irritating white-on-black one the last time I used them. But since "scholars" ruthlessly purloined papers when they were op;en to the public, I'm not complaining.
At no time was I using academic status to gain access to material when doing my Ripper research. Between 1983 and 2001 I was not employed by any university. The Greater London Record Office observed that I was engaged in serious scholarship, and not some sort of will-challenging vexatiously litigious hunt through asylum records, and kindly advised me how to get access to those that were closed under the 100-year rule. If you are genuinely hunting for historical facts you should find librarians gracious and helpful, even if you aren't wearing cap and gown and Balliol cuff links.
All the best,
Martin F
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  #13  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:02 AM
Ash Ash is offline
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 07:40 AM
It is really nice to have Martin joining in this debate and giving his opinion on various points. Again I shall have to address what he has said.

I agree with Martin, and have stated above, that I don't think that money was a consideration. As to honesty, well when you deal with people over many years you know that it is simply impossible to assess this, and here we are not talking about dishonesty in the context of theft. All I can say, as far as Jim Swanson is concerned, is that he was very respectable, and of excellent character and he gave no reason to suspect that he was anything but straightforward. Again, here, I have to state that I am not trying to prove that he was a hoaxer or forger of the marginalia. I am merely putting all the salient points into this essay for others to assess.

The Daily Telegraph involvement is documented well enough but it would be nice to know the date of the News of the World approach - was this stated at the time he approached the Telegraph? Was the question asked?

As regards Assistant Commissioners or the Commissioner being involved in the basic investigation of crime I have to make a corrective. There is a lot of difference between visiting a crime scene and being involved in the hands on investigation of the crime. We know that Anderson visited the mortuary to look at the body in the case of the murder of Rose Mylett, when he was attempting to persuade everyone that it was a case of death by natural causes and not murder. But that was not being involved in the investigation and enquiries that were going on. Other late Victorian investigations are well enough documented to show us that they simply didn't do it. That wasn't their function - their function was supervision at the highest level.

I was surprised to see Martin still making the error that Warren 'interviewed Packer and took notes.' He did not. The notes referred to by Martin are MEPO 3/140 ff. 215-216 and they are written by the senior Assistant Commissioner Alexander Carmichael Bruce, who has initialled them. These notes are not a statement and they do not indicate that Bruce actually interviewed Packer. The Packer case was one where the rather serious allegation of neglect of duty against the police was being made and had appeared in the press. Packer was a person who should have been seen by the officers investigating the Stride murder but who was alleging he hadn't been and, more than that, he had important evidence of a suspect to give. I am sure that when he went to the Yard he would have been seen by a senior detective, probably an Inspector, and a full statement, signed, would have been taken from him. This statement would then have been read by the Assistant Commissioner to assess the strength of any allegation of police negligence in not interviewing Packer straight after the murder. In doing this he would have made notes of relevant points of what Packer had to say and these are what have survived in the police files. In the event we know that an investigation of Packer's, and the private detectives', allegation was made and it was found that Packer had indeed been seen on the morning after the murder by Sergeant Stephen White, and had had nothing relevant to say.

In the Lipski case, a very high profile case which caused the Home Secretary much consternation at the time, we have an example of an identification being conducted, at a hospital, by detectives.

When Martin talks of 'Ripper enthusiasts' not taking Swanson and Anderson 'too seriously' and 'there has been a rather desperate attempt to invalidate them...' he is making a rather sweeping generalisation. Amongst Ripper researchers and historians the importance of these two senior officers has never been gainsaid which is the very reason for debates such as this. Much better to 'bottom out' the status and validity of their remarks rather than just accepting them uncritically because of who they are.

Again I have to stress, for Martin keeps bringing in other suspects, that this is not a debate about suspect v. suspect, it is a debate about the Swanson marginalia and its status. It is important enough, in my opinion, for the results of the Home Office document examiner's report to be published. For instance, did he reach the same conclusions as I did as to the pencil used for the notes and the pressure applied to the page? If he used only photocopies then he could not have done.

It is a nonsense to suggest that I don't know the difference between legal and historical evidence. This old chestnut has been bounced around by Martin in the past. In fact, as it stands the Swanson marginalia can be totally dismissed in a legal sense - for its provenance and continuity cannot be legally proven, despite the fact that we have the history that is being presented here. I don't say that to cast doubt upon it, merely to show that I do consider it important enough to investigate as historical evidence from an important source.

Finally may I again say that it is great to see an authority of Martin's stature here, I am sure that all posters on these boards are delighted to see him here - as am I.
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 07:59 AM
Apropos of Martin's post about the Special Branch, I can confirm that there are Special Branch files that have not migrated to the National Archives (ex-Public Record Office), and are unavailable to the public in perpetuity. These files do contain references to the Whitechapel murders. One of the best books on the Special Branch is Bernard Porter's academic The Origins of the Vigilant State, The London Metropolitan Police Special Branch before the First World War, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987. Also very good, and with much on Anderson, is Christy Campbell's Fenian Fire, London, HarperCollins, 2002, both of which comment on the closed Special Branch files.

I often think that it would be great to have Martin back on these shores, to involve him in some more research into this ongoing mystery could only be beneficial.
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  #14  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:02 AM
Ash Ash is offline
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monty
17th January 2006, 08:52 AM
Martin, GH,

I have learnt a hell of a lot these past few days. Just wanted to express my gratitude for sharing this information and opinion.

I do not know about the rest of you but I have missed these 'discussions'.

Monty
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Mr Poster
17th January 2006, 09:26 AM
Hello

A police officer, reviewer, someone who spends or has spent time reviewing documents may well be in the habit of initialing his comments in the margins to show that it was him who made them.

If one is only making notes for ones own use, then maybe not, but would it not be the case that he was in the habit of initialing his comments as he had spent some time previously adding his comments to reports and then passing them on to the next reviewer/person with his initials in place to show it was his comment.

Seems reasonable to me.

Mr P
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 03:12 PM
An early photocopy of the marginalia.

119
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 03:16 PM
Swanson's initials from the police files.

120
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 03:28 PM
List owned by Swanson of the Whitechapel murders on official embossed paper.

121
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 03:52 PM
Regarding the interesting and relevant points raised by RP above, it would be beneficial to take a look at the points mentioned in the endpaper annotations.

According to these notes the suspect had been

"...identified at the Seaside Home where he had been sent by us with difficulty in order to subject him to identification, and he knew he had been identified."

"On suspects return to his brothers house in Whitechapel he was watched by police (City CID) by day & night."

"In a very short time the suspect with his hands tied behind his back, he was sent to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards-"

"Kosminski was the suspect-
DSS"

Martin's excellent research revealed in his 1987 book the following.

"Aaron Kosminski was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum on 6 February 1891."

"...he had not done any work for years."

"His brother Wolf was his next-of-kin, and his address was given as 8 Lion [sic] Square, Commercial Road E..."

"Kosminski had been treated at Mile End Old Town Workhouse Infirmary in July the previous year, though a note adds that he had been insane for six years..."

There is therefore enough information in Martin's 1987 book for someone to compose the endpaper notes from. Again I must hasten to add here that I am not suggesting any sort of fraud, I am merely addressing RP's points and the allegation made by Harrison in his 1991 book. It would not be fair to Jim Swanson to suggest that because at that time he would surely be the only one who could possibly do that, and such a thing cannot be proven.

To be continued...
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Grey Hunter
17th January 2006, 04:20 PM
RP also mentioned in his post "the fact that Ms. Gurney of the Seaside Home was a personal friend of Anderson...which must be a very obscure fact." I'm not quite sure what relevance he feels this has.

Catherine Gurney was a philanthropist and a very religious lady who carried out much Christian work and evangelism with the police. She founded the International Christian Police Association and was involved in the setting up of the Convalescent Police Home in Hove. She was particularly friendly with Sir Edward Bradford, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner (1890-1903) and it would have been surprising if she hadn't known Anderson, and most of the other senior officers at Scotland Yard. I am sure they all attended various functions, dinners and fund-raisers together over the years. When I joined the police force in 1969 I immediately began deductions from my pay towards the Gurney fund, and I was entitled to use the Convalescent Home in Hove should I have needed to.
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oberlin
17th January 2006, 05:05 PM
Regarding photocopies of the peniciled notes being darker than the original, that's the result of someone bumping up the darkness setting on the copier, isn't it? I notice the toner splashes at the edges (Xerox jockey over here).

I am also interested in the discussion of Anderson. Rather than clutter this thread, I have started another thread, "Perceptions of Sir Robert Anderson":
http://www.casebookforum.org/showthr...=1454#post1454

Dave O
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aspallek
17th January 2006, 06:22 PM
Hello --

How wonderful to have such expert researchers as Martin Fido and Grey Hunter posing in this thread! The point I am about to make is not meant in any way to be argumentative or rude: It seems to me to be inconsitent to take Swanson so seriously while rejecting Macnaghten out of hand. Yes, MM did make mistakes about his preferred suspect, M J Druitt. But Swanson also made mistakes about his preferred suspect -- if that suspect is assumed to be Aaron Kosminski. Why accept one and reject the other since both historical witnesses contain material errors? It seems that they should be compared as parallel theories.

Many years ago I read Martin's book (and took his walking tour) and was convinced by his Cohen theory. I still believe it is a very plausible theory and quite possibly correct. However, in the last year or two I have become a "cautionary" Druitist -- or rather a proponent of a "Druitt-like" suspect.

What my last sentence gets at is this: Martin's idea of two similar suspects being confused in the minds of the police and leading to a conflated identification is plausible. Is it not also plausible that a similar conflation could have occurred with MM's Druitt? Martin suggests a possible confusion of Druitt with Ostrog. The difficulty with that is the they both occur as unique and distinct suspects in MM's memorandum. But are there other "drowned doctor" suspects with whom Druitt may have been confused?

Here is where I ususally run into difficulty because I believe we must go back to MacCormack and Woodall and consider that some of what they have written may have in it a kernel of truth. At this point I get lambasted by those who point out the unreliability of these authors -- and yes, I agree (I should have made that clear in my Ripper Notes article last July and I did not, an error which I regret). But the fact that they are unreliable does not mean that everything they have written is necessarily false. Could there be in the writings of these two authors (or somewhere else) a clue to the identity of a "drowned doctor" suspect that could have been confused early on with Druitt?

I will continue this discussion under the Druitt thread if there is interest in doing so.

Andy S.
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  #15  
Old 02-18-2008, 04:03 AM
Ash Ash is offline
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Natalie Severn
17th January 2006, 07:01 PM
Thankyou Grey Hunter and Martin for your words on the Swanson Marginalia and related documents.
Its just priceless this!
Natalie
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How Brown
18th January 2006, 03:05 AM
Dear GH or Mr.Fido...

Not germane to the topic,but is Catherine Gurney related to Edmund Gurney,the man who committed suicide in Brighton in June of 1888 ?

Thank you....
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rjpalmer
18th January 2006, 04:52 PM
Grey Hunter - Thanks for confirming that Fido mentioned Kosminski's brother in the 1987 edition; I was unclear on that point because I only have access to the later edition. It certainly weakens that particular argument (not that it's really an argument).

In regards to Ms. Gurney, I think this is relevant. The Marginilia puts the alleged indentification in a very surprising location to say the least(!). Not only that, but it's a location that goes directly against the published account given by Anderson. Yet, Ms. Gurney was on friendly terms with Anderson and she is named specifically in the biography of Anderson by his son; if the Marginalia wasn't on the up-and-up this allusion was rather fortuitous. I think Begg discovered in the minutes of the annual meeting of the Home that there were two guests staying at the Home on 'special request' in 1891. Obviously, we don't know that this has anything whatsoever to do with the Marginalia's claims.

But my points aren't meant to undermine your very valid observations; I'm merely trying to think it through--as I have been since this was first raised two or three years ago. I agree with you 100% that the Home Office document examiner's report should be made public; further, I think Mr. Swanson's claims about contacting the News of the World need to be clarified. Surely he told someone that he had Jack the Ripper's name in a book?
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Grey Hunter
18th January 2006, 07:47 PM
How, I don't know of any relationship.

RJ, The Seaside Home really was a big thing in the police force and would be known about by every officer. As I said, Catherine Gurney would have been known by the senior officers at the Yard and I am not sure how you feel that the fact that Anderson knew her would have a bearing on the Seaside Home being mentioned in the marginalia.
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sreid
19th January 2006, 01:54 AM
Has anyone ever explained exactly how Anderson's witness knew that the suspect was Jewish?

Stan
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ellen
19th January 2006, 03:58 AM
Grey Hunter, Mr.Fido, et al,

This thread is more than I can consume reading it off my computer screen.. I am going to have to print it out, read it carefully and make my own marginalia to get my thought in order.

Many thanks to all of you for such a wonderful intellectial exercise so late on a Wednesday night. This is going to keep me awake for several hours.
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ellen
19th January 2006, 04:08 AM
Hi Grey Hunter,

1. Thank you for returning.... very enjoyable thread & postings.

2. I find it confusing that the senior police officials were at odds with each other in their books and interviews. It's almost as if they all knew the real murderer, but needed to cover it up (Supt. Cutbush?) and had trouble keeping their stories straight in their retirement years.

3. They all wanted to "one-up" each other but just couldn't put out the real Jack the Ripper for whatever reason (Prince Eddy?).

Mr. Fido, I have several of your books and will buy more as you write them. You have always been the most generous of "Ripperologists" and have done much to encourage us amatures (Grey Hunter is not encluded in this amature ranking, of course). So I thank you and hope to meet you some day at a Ripper Conference.
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aspallek
19th January 2006, 05:31 AM
OK, apparently no one wants to bite on by Why Kosminski but not Druitt question. Fair enough.

As to the marginalia, I, too, have noted the awkwardness of Swanson's last sentence structure -- "Kosminski was the suspect." One would have expected him to have written simply, "The suspect's name was Kosminski." Perhaps the unusual structure was just Swanson's attempt at being dramatic rather than matter-of-fact. But it almost sounds as if he is emphasizing the name "Kosminski" over against other possibilities or known suspect -- as if he were saying "(It's not who you think, but rather) Kosminski was the suspect."
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Grey Hunter
19th January 2006, 07:12 AM
Sorry for my inactivity on this thread, I have been very busy. I think that the same applies to Martin and it really was great that he took time out from his busy schedule to post on here.

Andy, I don't think that you were being ignored when you asked why Swanson is being taken so seriously whilst Macnaghten was being rejected out of hand. I appreciate that there has been a tendency for some to reject Macnaghten in light of apparent mistakes in his memorandum but, as you say, Swanson apparently made mistakes also. I don't reject Macnaghten 'out of hand' and I don't think that I have indicated that I do. In fact I've probably suggested the opposite. There is nothing wrong in being a 'cautionary Druitist,' after all I used to be one myself! But this is not a Druitt thread, it was started to assess the marginalia.

I do not think, however, that there is any reason to think that there was any other 'drowned doctor' suspect. Indeed, we know that Druitt did not emerge as a suspect until after the murders, the first mention of him being 1894. What must not be forgotten is Macnaghten's cautionary caveat "No one ever saw the Whitechapel murderer, many homicidal maniacs were suspected, but no shadow of proof could be thrown on any one." He then goes on to suggest Druitt, Kosminski and Ostrog as "more likely" than Cutbush, which is a bit hard to understand in the case of Ostrog but that comment may have related to the suspicion that had attached itself to him in 1888 because of his perceived mental state.

As to 'how did Anderson's witness know that the suspect was Jewish?' Well that may have been patently obvious and it is not really a question that I have the time to explore here.

Yes, it is confusing that the senior police officials were at odds with each other in their books and interviews, but doesn't that tell us something? That's right, they didn't actually know who the Ripper was and they all had their own views and ideas.

I shall try to round off this thread soon, please bear with me.
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robert
19th January 2006, 10:24 AM
Andy, or perhaps as if Swanson was saying 'Kosminski was the suspect, and not the witness.'?

Robert
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:04 AM
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aspallek
19th January 2006, 04:10 PM
Robert --

Very interesting. That would put the emphasis on the word "suspect" rather than on "Kosminski." The only problem I have is that the name "Kosminski" is not mentioned anywhere else in the marginalia or in Anderson's text so there doesn't appear to be a need for such a clarification.

Grey Hunter --

Sorry if I came across as being miffed. I'm not. It's just that after a couple of days I was resigning myself to the apparent fact that there is no present interest in my favorite topic -- which is related to the marginalia since Kosminski's name appears in both Swanson and Macnaghten. Yes, the Druitt thread would be a better place to go into detail, which is why I offered to pick up the discussion there.

I take issue with your statement that Druitt did not emerge as a suspect until 1894. The MM memo is the first written mention of Druitt as a suspect that we know of. Anyone who has studied literary criticism is aware, however, that oral tradition almost always predates extant manuscripts. This oral tradition could account for the errors in MM's text. We must also allow for the possibility that there was earlier written mention of Druitt as a suspect that has not survived or as of yet has not been discovered. Kosminski as a suspect did not emerge in a written document any earlier than Druitt. I also don't have any doubt that, in spite of his cautionary words regarding lack of proof, that Sir Melville was convinced that Druitt was the killer.

I'm not saying there had to be a "drowned doctor" suspect who became conflated with Druitt -- only that it is a possibility worth considering because it would explain quite a lot and it is no more far-fetched than positing a Kaminsky/Cohen who was conflated with Kosminski. I do believe that even unreliable witnesses such as Woodall and MacCormack might hold a kernel of truth that is worthy of investigation. Has anybody seriously searched for a "drowned doctor?"

A final note -- although I am a self-described "cautionary Druittist," I do hope he is not the killer as I have grown rather fond of this chap.

OK, now moving this discussion to the Druitt portion of the suspects section of this forum.
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Grey Hunter
19th January 2006, 04:54 PM
Andy, as a Druittist your services are sorely required, Druittists are in short supply. As I explained, I am a lapsed Druittist. I didn't think for one minute that you were miffed.

I must apologise for my poor wording, it is obviously ambiguous for what I meant was that Druitt's name did not emerge in print as a suspect until 1894. Obviously it would have had some sort of currency before then but we know not what it was.

I don't set too much store by oral tradition, accepting at the same time, of course, that it may be useful, even valuable. But in uncorroborated form, or without support, it can be very unreliable and misleading.

Although I haven't spent a lot of time searching for 'drowned doctor' reports, Macnaghten's dating is very specific and I have combed the contemporary newspapers and found nothing. The drowning of someone with the distinguished occupation of doctor would surely have been widely reported.

McCormick had great powers of invention and only the press reports and previous books to use as source material when he wrote his book. He is notorious in other fields of research for his fictional additions to his 'factual' books and must be treated with very great caution. Although Woodhall was wildly fantasising when he wrote When London Walked in Terror (1937), his Secrets of Scotland Yard (1936), by comparison is a very good book. Indeed, it was one of the first to correctly show that Swanson was in charge of the Ripper investigation, a point that many subsequent Ripper authors appeared to miss:

"Swanson in 1888 is best recalled for the work he undertook in the general inquiries, supervision, investigation and reports upon the Whitechapel murder [sic] committed by the "blood-lust" maniac, "Jack the Ripper." [page 63]"

Personally I have often wondered whether the report in the Bristol Times and Mirror of 11 February 1891, as suggested in the A-Z, referred to Druitt. If it did it could explain how the information got from the Druitt family to Macnaghten. The 'West of England MP' referred to could be a Dorset MP (Dorset being in the West Country) and he was supposed to have declared that the Ripper was the son of a surgeon and committed suicide on the night of the last murder. If this MP had privately approached Macnaghten with the information he had heard from the family (that they suspected MJD was the Ripper) then it would neatly explain Macnaghten's 'private info' that he had indicating that 'his own family believed him to have been the murderer.' That being the case then the date of Druitt's name 'emerging as a suspect' would move back to early 1891.
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aspallek
19th January 2006, 05:06 PM
Grey Hunter --

Perhaps you would care to answer this in the Druitt thread, but I am curious as to why you are a "lapsed" Druittist. What has caused you to reject Druitt -- or a Druitt-like suspect?
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sreid
19th January 2006, 09:12 PM
Hi all,

Kosminski doesn't sound like the type who would wear Jewish attire or hair cut so I don't see how his appearance would make it obvious that he was a person of that religion. If there was something about his look then why is there no record of it? What did he do, come out jabbering in Yiddish? Swanson's assertions sort of lose something if this isn't explained.

Stan
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:05 AM
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johnr
20th January 2006, 11:05 AM
Greetings One and All,
My impression of comments written in the margins of books is that they are placed there by people who :
(a) Are galvanised by a provocative statement in that book and seek to immediately set down their own version/view;
(b) are mentally deranged and litter ALL books with such distractive graffitti;
(c)Having read a statement of fact with which they agree/disagree,wish to write down words as a sort of "aide memoire' for later referral (like the Sitwell name written hastily in the margin).
As Ally has pointed out above, what is the import or the effect of signing or initialling marginalia in your own copy of a book? Is it to seal that annotation with an aura of authority? Almost of legal weight? Onviously, they intend that
annotation to be viewed by a larger circle in the future.

Lastly, and separately, I should like to ask Grey Hunter and others, does anyone know if Swanson festooned all his private books with annotations (a la Ally)? Or was this one of few exceptions?

Come in Grey Hunter! OVER.. (Sounds like a submarine movie..).
JOHN RUFFELS.
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johnr
20th January 2006, 11:28 AM
Come In Grey Hunter, OVER...
Do I sound like Richard Basehart in one of those economically produced submarine movies?
I would certainly like to learn the provenance and other details of how the Swanson Marginalia came to light. And a discussion of how its broadcast changed perceptions of the Druitt Suspicion.
I like Robert the Teaboy and Ally's question about the significance of persons signing their margin notes.
It is my impression people scribble in books (a) if they are galvanised by the text;(b) if they are demented persons;(c) and they annotate AND initial their comments if they feel they have to notorise their seemingly weighty comments to invest them with a quasi-legal authority...
Did Swanson festoon all his books with scribble or just very few? How many did he initial?
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Grey Hunter
20th January 2006, 02:49 PM
Sorry for the delayed response, I have been very busy.

There were some annotations in one or two of Swanson's other books, but I really did not take much notice of them as they weren't relevant to what I was doing at the time and they were only minor, not lengthy like the ones in Anderson's book.

In making this first lengthy examination of the marginalia I merely wished to record all that I know of it and to see if any others had their own ideas about this matter.

I have to say that I find it very difficult to believe that Jim Swanson was responsible for making any part of these annotations and the only plausible reason for such a thing would have been to enhance his grandfather's reputation and role in the celebrated Ripper crimes.

That said we still have the questions and contradictions raised by these annotations. It seems to me that the endpaper notes contain apparent inaccuracy and the most anomalous of the claims. Add to that the apparent difference in the pencil used and we have something, I feel, to question. But what is the answer?

Ex-Superintendent Donald Sutherland Swanson was only 62 years old in 1910, when he would have received the book, which is hardly very old age. He lived on until November 1924 when he died at the age of 76 years at his home address, 3 Presburg Road, New Malden, Surrey and was buried at Kingston Cemetery.

As it is not known when Swanson wrote the marginalia, his age at the time he wrote it cannot be determined. Perhaps an answer to the different pencils used, and the apparently lighter pressure may be that Swanson wrote the endpaper note at a much later date, re-reading his marginalia on page 138 and then continuing to add further information at the rear of the book. The endpaper notes certainly seem to be written by an older and frailer hand, and this could result in errors of memory being included.

Of course the other thing to bear in mind is that Swanson headed the investigation of the Whitechapel murders and then reported to Anderson. So Anderson actually received all his information via Swanson. This could mean that the whole suspect/witness story came from Swanson in the first place and was repeated by Anderson in his book. Thus when Swanson read it he decided to add further detail that he knew of, and added to what was in the book. If that was the case the story would have only one source, Swanson, and could not be seen as Swanson confirming a first-hand story that Anderson was telling.

The true answers will never be known - but it is time to include other considerations when theorising from the basis of Anderson and the 'Swanson marginalia.'
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Glenn L Andersson
20th January 2006, 02:58 PM
Grey Hunter,

I agree on that a probable reason for the different pencils might be that the endpaper note was written at a later date; most of us have probably taken for granted that he just simply continued on the endpaper directly on the same occasion as the margin in the book put an end to it. I too have myself considered for some time that the pieces might be written on different occasions, if sall of it is genuine, and I think this maybe could answer some questions, although it doesn't necessarily explain the dissimilarities in handwriting.

Of course the other thing to bear in mind is that Swanson headed the investigation of the Whitechapel murders and then reported to Anderson. So Anderson actually received all his information via Swanson. This could mean that the whole suspect/witness story came from Swanson in the first place and was repeated by Anderson in his book. Thus when Swanson read it he decided to add further detail that he knew of, and added to what was in the book.

Very interesting point. We will never know at the end of the day but this seems like a credible scenario indeed. I'll buy that.

All the best
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:06 AM
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Ally
20th January 2006, 10:31 PM
So I know GH is busy and though I promised to wait until all was revealed, ..heee-ell I have never been patient.

I really have to admit the "why would someone initial their OWN margin notes" has long bothered me. I believe that AP summed up my feelings best when he said that he would have felt more comfortable if the margin notes had been in a library copy somewhere. I am familiar with "library graffitti" (there's probably a technical term for that) some of which is quite hysterical, but I was always struck by how strange it was that he would initial his own book. So I too wonder if there are other copies of Swanson's book with margin notes that could be compared.


Now that Grey Hunter has revealed that the notes were written in a different pencil, though supposedly a continuation of a previous thought, I go double hmmm. If merely a continuation, why a different pencil, yes they could have been added at a later time, but ...why? If he added more thoughts on a second read through, why was that end note the only one?

Anyway. I muse.
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Glenn L Andersson
20th January 2006, 10:39 PM
Ally... sorry... Queen Mean,

I must say that's another good point.
Why indeed does someone sign his own margin scribble? Was this custom in the early 20th century, or does this imply that it WAS in fact intended to be read by others...???

All the best
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robert
20th January 2006, 10:42 PM
Perhaps Swanson initialled his note because he knew that his account differed from that found in Anderson's writings. So he could have been saying "I'm not imputing this to Anderson, or expanding Anderson's view...this is my version."

Robert
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Glenn L Andersson
20th January 2006, 10:49 PM
True, Robert,

But that would still mean that it was intended for others to read, in contrast to what generally has been believed.
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Natalie Severn
20th January 2006, 10:59 PM
I agree Robert.My thoughts on reading it the other day were that he was possibly revisiting an old misunderstanding Anderson had held and Swanson may have been underlining the suspect HE believed was JtR viz that it was Kosminski who had been identified-not say Ostrog or David Cohen etc.
There really does appear to have been a lot of confusion around!
Natalie
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robert
20th January 2006, 11:03 PM
Yes, Glenn, in a way - "intended" might be a bit strong.

Perhaps, since the note starts as a kind of confirmation or clarification of Anderson, but by the time it finishes it diverges from him, then Swanson felt it was just good practice to make it clear that the view expressed is his.

And if the endpaper was written when Swanson was older and frailer, as GH suggests, then it must have crossed his mind that someone - family, second hand booksellers, whoever - might well look at his book when he was gone.

Robert
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Glenn L Andersson
20th January 2006, 11:08 PM
Hi Robert,

Fair enough. Good thinking and sounds reasonable.
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aspallek
21st January 2006, 07:48 AM
I agree Robert.My thoughts on reading it the other day were that he was possibly revisiting an old misunderstanding Anderson had held and Swanson may have been underlining the suspect HE believed was JtR viz that it was Kosminski who had been identified-not say Ostrog or David Cohen etc.
There really does appear to have been a lot of confusion around!
Natalie

Yes, but why bother to "correct" Anderson when Anderson hasn't given a name? What's there to correct?

I wonder if Swanson isn't here replying to Macnaghten. It was Macnaghten who names Kosminski as a plausible suspect -- but then specifcally rejects Kosmisnki in his autobiogrpahy by stating his conviction that the killer had never been detained in an asylum. Some interesting things are taking place in these years.

1894 -- Macnaughten's memoranda favoring Druitt (don't know if Swanson read this)

1898 -- Major Aurthur Griffiths' autobiography publicly parrots MM suspicions.

ca. 1906 -- George Sims repeatedly makes public claims that the killer was not a lunatic, but a "respectable" citizen.

1910 -- Anderson's autobiography

1914 -- Macnaughten's autobiography, publicly rejecting Kosminski (by saying killer was never in an asylum)

Swanson's note may have been a "let's settle this once and for all" kind of response to Macnaughten, especially if Swanson wrote the note after Sir Melville's autobiography was published in 1914.
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Glenn L Andersson
21st January 2006, 12:23 PM
Andy,

That does not make sense.

Why 'respond' to Macnaghten in a book by Anderson? Clearly, if you're making notes in a margin of a book, you do so as a comment to what that particular author says.

I don't see it as he 'corrects' Anderson, but that he ADDS information to what Anderson writes.
There is a difference.

All the best
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aspallek
21st January 2006, 05:13 PM
Andy,

That does not make sense.

Why 'respond' to Macnaghten in a book by Anderson? Clearly, if you're making notes in a margin of a book, you do so as a comment to what that particular author says.

I don't see it as he 'corrects' Anderson, but that he ADDS information to what Anderson writes.
There is a difference.

All the best

Hi Glenn --
Perhaps "responds" wasn't the right word to use. Perhaps "react" would be a better word. Macnaghten's theory that the suspect was not a low class Jewish lunatic but rather a respectable member of society was "outed" in 1898 with Griffith's autobiography (of course, others had also hinted at this much). Macnaghten's autobiography came out in 1914 and he specifically refutes Anderson by saying that the killer was never detained in an asylum. Swanson may have been reacting to this in his marginalia -- especially if the marginalia was written when Macnaghten's book came out in 1914.

I've always been of the view that Swanson was merely adding information to Anderson's description but the wording "Kosminski was the suspect" seem a bit odd. One explanation is that Swanson was emphasizing Kosminski over against other proposed suspects.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:07 AM
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harry
22nd January 2006, 08:14 AM
My understanding of Anderson's memoirs,is that the suspect in question,was identified during investigations while Anderson was on the Continent and Swanson was holding Anderson's posistion.

That being so,it was not Swanson who provided the information that led to this suspect taking prominence,but officers under and including Aberline,who reported to Swanson.

Anderson was provided this information on his return from the Continent,which was after the double event,but before that of Kelly.This person,seems to be the suspect that was later supposedly identified by a witness,according to Anderson,who maintains that he was ,without reservation,the Ripper.

Swanson seems to accord with Anderson as to when the suspect first became that,(when Anderson was on the Continent) and on an identification,but disagrees on some essential points.

As no other officer engaged in the Ripper investigations mentions such a suspect,there must be doubt that both Anderson and Swanson were ever aware of such a person,and this is reinforced by Anderson's remarks late in October,that there were no suspects in the killings that had taken place.
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Grey Hunter
22nd January 2006, 08:48 AM
The suspect was not identified 'during investigations while Anderson was on the Continent...' In fact, what Anderson wrote was:

"During my absence abroad the Police had made a house-to-house search for him, investigating the case of every man in the district whose circumstances were such that he could go and come and get rid of his blood-stains in secret. And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were certain low-class Polish Jews...And the result proved that our diagnosis was right on every point."

What this indicates is that the police had made their 'house-to-house search' and, probably compiled a lengthy list of all persons found during this inquiry that fitted their assumed 'profile' of the killer. Then, at some later date, when they identified their suspect he fitted the criteria that Anderson lists. We know from the official reports that no specific suspect was identified in October 1888.

Swanson did not 'hold Anderson's position' while he was abroad. Swanson was a mere Chief Inspector and Anderson was an Assistant Commissioner. Anderson's office duties were performed by the senior Assistant Commissioner, Alexander Carmichael Bruce, whilst Anderson was away. The other problem is that Anderson is wrong in his book as the main house-to-house enquiries were carried out after he returned, and not while he was still abroad.

It all adds to the great doubt that surrounds this mysterious suspect.
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jason_connachan
22nd January 2006, 06:20 PM
"The other problem is that Anderson is wrong in his book as the main house-to-house enquiries were carried out after he returned, and not while he was still abroad."

Could these house-to-house enquiries have taken place when Anderson was still on leave(after returning abroad)? He certainly doesn't appear to have been a workaholic during the Ripper investigation.

Do we know which date Anderson resumed his official duties?
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Natalie Severn
22nd January 2006, 07:14 PM
Hi Jason,
Anderson definitely appears to have been totally committed to his Secret
Service work during the months of the Ripper scare.He had been working flat out Winter, Summer and the Autumn of 1888---------but not on the Ripper Case.
Monro had resigned in the Summer of 1888, because of a dispute with Charles Warren, and Anderson was then appointed Assistant Commissioner in charge of CID.
Monro remained in Head of Secret Dept and was appointed Chief Commissioner at the end of 1888 where he remained until 1890.
Meanwhile Anderson was very wrapped up in the Special Commission that began 22 October 1888!
A momentous time indeed for British politics----suspect the Ripper investigation had to come second!
Best
Natalie
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chrisg
23rd January 2006, 03:56 AM
It is not unusual for handwriting to vary, especially as one gets older. However, basic structures usually remain the same. Certainly age is a factor, and as people get older their handwriting very often deteriorates.

I started this thread to analyse the first appearance of the marginalia and its subsequent dissemination to the public. However, it seems to have quickly devolved into the question of whether it is authentic or not. It is a very important and influential item of Ripper documentation, therefore its authenticity is of the utmost concern. Indeed its influence was immediately felt when it was first published just before the Ripper centenary in 1987. It had the effect of turning previous Ripper thinking about as regards the then most popular viable Ripper suspects. Prior to 1988 Druitt had held sway amongst the leading authorities as the most probable Ripper. After 1988 Kosminski quickly became the favourite, directly as a result of the 'Swanson Marginalia.' As we know, both Druitt and Kosminski had been named by Macnaghten in his 1894 memorandum.

It would be interesting to hear the opinion of posters on this rather important subject.

Hi Grey Hunter et al.

In the matter of whether the marginalia are genuine, of course, you are correct, Grey Hunter, that the authenticity of these notes should be considered. Comparing the writing in the book, in the samples you posted, and particularly the clear copy you say is an early photocopy rather than the more recent photographs which show the writing to be faded and difficult to read, the writing seems shakier and less steady than the strong, authorative writing seen in the other samples of Swanson's handwriting, when he was not up in age. But then, we know that the marginalia were written after 1910 when Anderson's book came out, after he had retired from Scotland Yard, which he did in 1903, and as a gloss written on his former boss's book. Thus, they could have been written when Swanson was a number of years older than he was when he wrote in a stronger hand during his police career. We know that Swanson was born in 1848 and died in 1924. In 1910 he would therefore have attained the age of 62 that year, but the notes could have been written any time from then until his death, in 1924, at age 76.

The notes, if they were written by Swanson, had to have been written by a man alert enough to read a book on a serious topic, and alert enough to write notes about it. But his health might have been deteriorating by the time he made the notes, which might account for the lack of steadiness of the handwriting and the lack of authority than the stronger hand that characterized his writing during his working career.

The other thing to say is that even if the marginalia are the real McCoy, Swanson is merely saying, "Kosminski was the suspect" which confirms what we might expect, from the Macnaghten Memoranda, that Kosminski was the unnamed suspect, the poor Polish Jew, that Sir Robert Anderson meant. This does not necessarily mean that he agreed with Anderson's assessment that it was "a definitely ascertained fact" that this particular suspect was the Ripper. Yes he might have held the same view that his superior held but he might very well not. All he is saying is that the suspect that is being mentioned went by the name of Kosminski, a clear distinction. Another aspect is that these were notes written for himself not anyone else, so he wasn't seeking to persuade a reader or any outside body, just, as it were, refreshing his own mind, that the individual Anderson meant was Kosminski.

It might be said that the abrupt surfacing of the marginalia just prior to the centennial of the Ripper case in 1988 is somewhat suspicious, but such coincidences do happen, and it may not necessarily flag that the writing is a forgery. Rather, if someone at that time was to mock up something Ripper related, why would they write something that supports previously held ideas? Rather would they not be more likely to strike off in an entirely different direction and point the finger elsewhere? Just a thought that logically it does not, perhaps, make much sense to go to all the work of mocking up some notes that appear to merely support Macnaghten and Anderson. Wouldn't a forger have bigger Ripper fish to fry?

Chris George
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:08 AM
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Grey Hunter
23rd January 2006, 06:10 AM
Chris,

I think that I have more or less already said what you have posted above as regards Swanson, his age and the nature of the marginalia etc. What I must repeat is that this thread was started to address doubts raised over the authenticity by Paul Harrison in his 1991 book and various points that were troubling me about the annotations. One of the points was the 'convenient' appearance of the marginalia in 1987, just before the Ripper centenary and just after the appearance of Martin's book proposing the Polish Jew suspect for the first time. Up until then Druitt had been the 'favourite' suspect amongst the leading, serious, Ripper authorities. However, its appearance did not have to be a coincidence as obviously Jim Swanson had been reading all about the Ripper in the newspapers in 1987 when there were seven books published that year in the build up to the centenary. This would have triggered his interest thus obviating the idea of a coincidence.

The other unfortunate thing about this was, of course, that if any of the marginalia was not written by Donald Swanson, then the only real possibility was that Jim Swanson was responsible. This I did not think likely for the reasons given above. You say, "...if someone at that time was to mock up something Ripper related, why would they write something that supports previously held ideas? Rather would they noy be more likely to strike off in an entirely different direction and point the finger elsewhere?...it does not, perhaps make much sense to go to all the work of mocking up some notes that appear to merely support Macnaghten and Anderson. Wouldn't a forger have bigger Ripper fish to fry?" This, I am afraid is totally missing the point. In the unlikely scenario that Jim Swanson wrote all or part of the marginalia the obvious thing he would do would to be to try and credit his grandfather with identifying the Ripper (and he did, in fact, state that publication of the marginalia was to 'get some recognition of the part my Grand father played') - and that would mean adopting one of the officially named suspects. The two available were Druitt and Kosminski, both named by Macnaghten in the memoranda. Also there was the Polish Jew as described in the very book the notes were made in. The eventual effect of the marginalia was, in fact, to cause the Ripper world to reassess the suspects and replace Druitt with Kosminski, at the same time attaching huge importance to the marginalia.

The possibility could very well be, as I have said, that the whole Polish Jew suspect story was Swanson's, passed to Anderson years before and that Swanson was merely correcting and adding to what Anderson had written.
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harry
23rd January 2006, 08:10 AM
GH,
It is of course correct that Swanson did not take over Anderson's duties.Swanson was assigned the case by Anderson,the case at that time being the murders of Tabram and Nicholls.Anderson left the day Chapman was killed,and returned after the double event.

However it appears Anderson,after bringing himself up to date with enquiries,formed an opinion of a particular suspect,and did not alter that opinion,later even saying he could name the suspect.

Swanson does name Kosminski,and it could be that name had surfaced during enquiries while Anderson was abroad.

Another puzzling factor,is why it took so long to hold an identification,being that in the meantime the murder of Kelly had taken place,and a witness had come forward who reports he could identify a person seen with the victim.

If that witness was believed,and kosminski was indeed a suspect at that time,or anyone else for that matter,then it would surely be better to hold an identification, than send the Kelly witness on a fruitless search of the neighboor hood.

Too many puzzling aspects to believe that Anderson or Swanson really knew anything of consequence.

You asked for opinions.Those are mine. My observations are in the main taken from the 'Jack the Ripper A to Z.'
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Grey Hunter
23rd January 2006, 08:47 AM
Harry,

Thank you for your reply, just a few observations to make on your post above.

Swanson was assigned to the case by Warren, not Anderson. There is no indication that Anderson formed an opinion of a specific suspect until early 1895 when Griffiths published the statement that Anderson "has himself a perfectly plausible theory that Jack the Ripper was a homicidal maniac, temporarily at large, whose hideous career was cut short by committal to an asylum."

In an interview with Anderson published in June 1892 Anderson is quoted as saying, as he produced photographs of the victims, "There is my answer to people who come with fads and theories about these murders. It is impossible to believe they were acts of a sane man - they were those of a maniac revelling in blood."

So the date that Anderson developed his theory is not known but it was certainly not as early as 1888. What may have been the case, as I outlined above, is that during the house to house enquiries in October 1888 Kosminski's name may have been taken, as well as hundreds of others, and that something that emerged in subsequent years over his insanity led to the belief that he was the murderer. At the time of the Kelly murder there is little doubt that Kosminski's name was not in the frame, hence no identification attempt at that early a date.

It is a very complex story, and one which I have tried to clarify a little throughout this thread which would be worth reading and internalising for a better understanding of the whole marginalia question. But I have to agree with you that it is difficult to believe that Anderson or Swanson knew anything in the nature of positively identifying any suspect.
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Whitechapel Student
23rd January 2006, 10:42 AM
What may have been the case, as I outlined above, is that during the house to house enquiries in October 1888 Kosminski's name may have been taken, as well as hundreds of others, and that something that emerged in subsequent years over his insanity led to the belief that he was the murderer.
But didn't the known addresses for Kozminski's brothers-in-law - Sion Square and Greenfield Street - lie outside the area covered by the house-to-house enquiries?

Isn't it just as likely that the police simply made the connection when that "something" later emerged? We could speculate that the "something" was the incident when Kozminski threatened his sister with a knife. Could this have caused Kozminski's first incarceration, in July 1890? It's interesting that he was admitted to the workhouse from the address of one brother-in-law, Woolf Abrahams, and discharged three days later to the address of the other, Morris Lubnowski Cohen. Whether or not it was Woolf's wife who had been threatened, it looks as though the Abrahams felt they couldn't cope with him any more, and the Lubnowsky Cohens took him in instead.
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