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  #111  
Old 04-24-2016, 03:57 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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[quote=Pierre;378407]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elamarna View Post

Yes, but the journalists used the same types of descriptions for it as for the GSG, THAT is my point. <

So - and thanks for highlighting this - the view on the red herring became the view on the GSG. This means that we have many problems with the 1888 views on the GSG, i.e. the following:

1. Some journalists expected the handwriting to have been looking something like the Dear Boss letter and they distributed this perspective through their newspaper articles - and here we are with it!

2. The GSG was interpreted in different ways, so you have a variety of interpretations about the deciphering of the GSG - and on top of that you have interpretations based on the view on the Dear Boss letter.

3. Swanson did not state anything of the above when he wrote about the GSG!

4. Swanson had another description, in fact two:
a) The text was written in "a normal hand".
b) The text was "blurred".

So I think these discrepancies between the descriptions of the journalists and Swanson - as well as the view of ripperologists on the GSG - are important to discuss.


Hi Pierre,

I have been considering the point # 1 about "Some journalists" who privately or in a peculiar type of cabal joined together to spread this theory regarding the "Dear Boss" letter.

Simple question for you - and as a good researcher you must have the answer.

What were the names of these journalists?

Also, had any of them reputations for being pretty well regarded amateur sleuths on other cases that they stuck their collective noses into?

It's not as stupid a question as you might think or dismiss. About the 1870s and 1880s some reporters and journalists were beginning to demonstrate such a singular strength in their finding, reporting, and analyzing the news, they were beginning to make the job of reporter less hackwork and more a profession.

Most of the case names I can think of were American: Nelly Bly with her exposes on mistreated asylum inmates; New York Herald reporter Henry Morton Stanley, who was so good he was sent by his boss to find Dr. David Livingston in Africa in 1871, did so, and formed the exploration career we remember him for; Richard Harding Davis, who would be one of the first on the scene in his native Pennsylvania to report the Johnstown Flood tragedy of 1889, and later became a notable war correspondent; Stephen Crane, who would report on the Yukon Gold Strike, the Greek-Turkish War of 1897, and the Spanish American War of 1898 (but is better remembered for his novellas and his novels and poems); Henry De Blowitz, one of England's cleverest journalists, who once got the secret sections of a treaty published within days of the treaty being signed.

Besides De Blowitz, and aside from a figure like Editor/writer William T. Stead of the Pall Mall Gazette, the only reporter in London I am aware of in 1888 was Harold Frederic, who worked for a U.S. newspaper. Frederic is however best known for his novels, especially "The Damnation of Theron Ware" (1897), an early example of the "naturalist school" in American fiction.

So who did you have in mind for this cabal or group of clever individual geniuses? What were there names? And again did they actually have reputations (as did some of the New York reporters on the New York World and the New York Journal in the next decade) for doing really good sleuthing on their own?

One thing - not quite in the same at all. Everyone on this "Blurred" thread is discussing the "round hand" description. It was a common one for that time.
In 1877 a fictional character would use it in a stage work. In Gilbert and Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore", Sir Joseph Porter sings "When I was a Lad", and mentions that he "copied all the letters in my big round hand."

I'm not sure, but as Sir Joseph at that point is a clerk in a law office, I suspect the "big round hand" he's describing is what used to be called "copper-plate" hand writing, which was taught in most countries to make penmanship more agreeable and legible to read. A man I knew back in the 1970s when I worked in Manhattan told me he was trained to write "copper-plate" which required much practice in doing circles and other lines and shapes until they flowed naturally from your hand.

Regards,

Jeff
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  #112  
Old 04-24-2016, 04:09 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
I don't know where you get that idea from as if it's a law everyone has to obey but, in any event, newspaper reports of inquests are not "secondary sources", something you would know if you were not an amateur non-historian, because the court reporters were in court reporting what they heard with their own ears and saw with their own eyes.
The inability to tell a Primary Source from a Secondary source is just one of the things that those who are True Academic Historians point to as proof positive that Pierre hasn't studied History, Mrs Gut says that if any of the 14 year olds she has taught made such a basic mistake their work would get a big fat F.

Yet Pierre claims to have a M.A, in history.
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  #113  
Old 04-25-2016, 12:40 AM
Pierre Pierre is offline
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[quote=Mayerling;378429][quote=Pierre;378407]

Hi Pierre,

I have been considering the point # 1 about "Some journalists"
Quote:
who privately or in a peculiar type of cabal joined together
Did they? What are the sources for that?

Quote:
to spread this theory regarding the "Dear Boss" letter.
And you say "to spread": So that was their purpose? What are the sources for that?

Quote:
Simple question for you - and as a good researcher you must have the answer.
You do not define the quality of my research capability on a website. And you do not decide what answers I must have, since you do not decide what questions I pose.

Quote:
What were the names of these journalists?
You mean the journalists in your proposed "peculiar cabal". Well, since you postulate there was one, do you know who they were?
Quote:
Also, had any of them reputations for being pretty well regarded amateur sleuths on other cases that they stuck their collective noses into?
There you seem to have another hypothesis to research.

Quote:
It's not as stupid a question as you might think or dismiss. About the 1870s and 1880s some reporters and journalists were beginning to demonstrate such a singular strength in their finding, reporting, and analyzing the news, they were beginning to make the job of reporter less hackwork and more a profession.

Most of the case names I can think of were American: Nelly Bly with her exposes on mistreated asylum inmates; New York Herald reporter Henry Morton Stanley, who was so good he was sent by his boss to find Dr. David Livingston in Africa in 1871, did so, and formed the exploration career we remember him for; Richard Harding Davis, who would be one of the first on the scene in his native Pennsylvania to report the Johnstown Flood tragedy of 1889, and later became a notable war correspondent; Stephen Crane, who would report on the Yukon Gold Strike, the Greek-Turkish War of 1897, and the Spanish American War of 1898 (but is better remembered for his novellas and his novels and poems); Henry De Blowitz, one of England's cleverest journalists, who once got the secret sections of a treaty published within days of the treaty being signed.

Besides De Blowitz, and aside from a figure like Editor/writer William T. Stead of the Pall Mall Gazette, the only reporter in London I am aware of in 1888 was Harold Frederic, who worked for a U.S. newspaper. Frederic is however best known for his novels, especially "The Damnation of Theron Ware" (1897), an early example of the "naturalist school" in American fiction.

So who did you have in mind for this cabal or group of clever individual geniuses? What were there names? And again did they actually have reputations (as did some of the New York reporters on the New York World and the New York Journal in the next decade) for doing really good sleuthing on their own?
You seem to have done some reading on that subject, which explains your ideas of a cabal. What were their names, according to you, since you are the one postulating this cabal? And what were their reputations?

Quote:
One thing - not quite in the same at all. Everyone on this "Blurred" thread is discussing the "round hand" description. It was a common one for that time.
In 1877 a fictional character would use it in a stage work. In Gilbert and Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore", Sir Joseph Porter sings "When I was a Lad", and mentions that he "copied all the letters in my big round hand."
That is not an adequate source for the GSG.

Quote:
I'm not sure, but as Sir Joseph at that point is a clerk in a law office, I suspect the "big round hand" he's describing is what used to be called "copper-plate" hand writing, which was taught in most countries to make penmanship more agreeable and legible to read. A man I knew back in the 1970s when I worked in Manhattan told me he was trained to write "copper-plate" which required much practice in doing circles and other lines and shapes until they flowed naturally from your hand.

Regards,

Jeff
Kind regards, Pierre
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  #114  
Old 04-25-2016, 01:27 AM
Pierre Pierre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
I don't know where you get that idea from as if it's a law everyone has to obey but, in any event, newspaper reports of inquests are not "secondary sources", something you would know if you were not an amateur non-historian, because the court reporters were in court reporting what they heard with their own ears and saw with their own eyes.
David. You talk and talk but make mistake after mistake. Consider these questions and then tell me why you believe that newspaper articles for inquest descriptions per se are primary sources:

What are the relations between the writing on the wall and the Dear boss letter respectively and the journalists who wrote the articles?

Did the journalists see the GSG?

How close in time to the GSG were the journalists who wrote about the GSG?

How close to the actual writing were the journalists who wrote about the GSG?

Did the journalists see the Dear Boss letter?

How close in time to the Dear Boss letter were the journalists who wrote about the Dear Boss letter?

How close to the actual writing were the journalists who wrote about the Dear Boss letter?

What is the value of a narrative told by an eyewitness when it is reconstructed by a journalist?

What possibility had the journalists to understand the narrative of the eyewitness of the GSG?

What possibility had the journalists to write the "truth" about the GSG?

What knowledge did the journalists have about the writing(s) from the killer, before they understood the eyewitness narratives about the GSG?

These questions focus only on the Dear Boss letter and the GSG. But you could apply them to many newspaper sources in the case of Jack the Ripper.

For example:

Why is there often a great variation between statements in different newspapers when they try to describe the same phenomenon?

Are the newspaper articles for the murder on Kelly reliable? Why are they talking about McCarthys mother as a finder of the victim, why are they talking about Kelly having a son?

Are the statements of Hutchinson "in the original"? Is there a source free from the interpretations of journalists for the statements of Hutchinson? Do we have such a source? Yes, we do.

Does this mean that everything in the narrative of this source is "true"? No. We need to use source criticism for it, to be able to tell.

Are the statements of Morris Lewis "in the original"? Are the statements of Morris Lewis "in the original"? Is there a source free from the interpretations of journalists for the statements of Lewis? Do we have such a source? No, we do not.

The only sources we have is newspaper articles with variation.

Does this mean that everything in the narratives of those sources are "false" or "true"? No. We need to use source criticism for it, to be able to tell.

It is a matter of source ciriticism and a matter of research question what sources are to be regarded as primary and secondary sources. To be able to argue for or against the quality of a source, you must use source criticism.

The sources that give the perspective of the "schoolboy / round / good hand" are the primary sources for what the journalists wrote about the GSG.

They can not be considered primary sources for a witness in court, since there is a variation between sources and since the journalists use the same types of descriptions for the GSG as for the Dear Boss letter - and because there is no "schoolboy / round / good hand" in the original inquest sources, which must be considered primary sources since they are produced by the legal system and not by newspapers. As long as there are sources produced by the legal system for the inquests, they are primary sources, and newspaper articles are often considered to be secondary sources.

David, the problem with you saying that newspapers are not secondary sources for inquests is that people here, who believe what you say, are being fooled to believe that they can read the newspapers and see what actually happened in 1888.

So it generates ripperology, i.e. ideas that are not academic history.


And one more thing: Of course we could use secondary sources. But we have to tell people that they are secondary sources, if there is a primary source. Also, we can use both primary and secondary sources for establishing facts. But we must tell others how and why we do it.

We can not tell others, like you do, that a certain type of sources per se is to be regarded as primary sources without having performed source criticism on them.

Regards, Pierre

Last edited by Pierre : 04-25-2016 at 01:37 AM.
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  #115  
Old 04-25-2016, 01:51 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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Quote:

We can not tell others, like you do, that a certain type of sources per se is to be regarded as primary sources without having performed source criticism on them.
So the great Historian is wrong about primary sources again.

What a surprise.
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  #116  
Old 04-25-2016, 02:28 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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So the great Historian is wrong about primary sources again.

What a surprise.
Put simply a first year undergrad in history would (or should) know that Source criticism is whole different issue than classifying a source as Primary or Secondary.

Pierre would do much better if he stopped pretending to be an Historian while displaying such an appalling ignorance of the basics.
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  #117  
Old 04-25-2016, 09:58 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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David. You talk and talk but make mistake after mistake. Consider these questions and then tell me why you believe that newspaper articles for inquest descriptions per se are primary sources:
Pierre,

Your questions, I'm afraid, reveal a basic lack of understanding.

The newspaper reports of the inquest proceedings are not primary sources for the GSG. They are primary sources for what Detective Halse said in evidence about the GSG. They are not "articles" about the inquest proceedings, they are actual reports as to what was said in in the coroner's court without, for the most part, any journalistic interpretation, additions or flourishes. Detective Halse saw the GSG with his own eyes and the newspaper reports, written by court reporters, were reporting what he said he saw. They were doing this on the basis of what they heard with their own ears (i.e. the words said by Detective Halse). It is, in other words, first hand reporting of the testimony of Detective Halse. That is why it is a primary source for the evidence of Halse, equivalent to his deposition.

In the same way that I've already explained to you why this "source criticism" that you seem to love so much is inappropriate for witness evidence and depositions, the same is true for reports of court proceedings: the reason being that there is no narrative involved here, in the usual sense of the word, and, to the extent the reports are in the form of "text", it is not the same type of text that historical methodology is designed to cope with. Given that the reporters were doing no more than recording in their notebooks what they were hearing in court, there is no question of any bias (or "tendency") on their part. Unless there is any reason to believe that they were involved in a conspiracy to falsely represent what a witness said in the witness box - a bizarre notion considering the number of people present in the court room, including the coroner and witness himself, who could have exposed the conspiracy by writing to their editors - there is absolutely no reason to believe that they were doing anything other than faithfully recording what the witness said, something which is not an easy task, thus explaining minor differences between the reports - and if you think it is an easy task you should try it yourself one day.

You also need to understand that copies of the depositions taken at the inquest were not provided to the police. So what records did the police, who were investigating the murders keep? Guess what, it was newspaper reports! I appreciate that your research does not extend to visiting archives and examining the original files relating to these murders but if you were to inspect the police files held at the National Archives in Kew, e.g. MEPO 3/140, you will find that the Metropolitan Police kept cuttings of the newspaper reports of the inquests: the reason being that the newspaper reporters were skilled at accurately recording oral evidence given in court which the police officers who attended the inquests were not (and the Eddowes inquest was in the City Police jurisdiction in any case). The newspaper reports were basically reliable and were relied on by the police themselves, as well as the Home Office.

With some of your comments about the reliability of newspapers you appear to be trying to re-argue previous arguments in other threads but the key point for this thread is that the reports of the inquests are in a different category to other newspaper reports about the murders such as whether Kelly had a son because, for the inquest reports, the court reporters were simply reporting what was being said in the witness box. As to Kelly's son, presumably someone told a reporter (wrongly) that Kelly had a son so that story was reported. Just look at the evidence of Mary Ann Malcolm at the Stride inquest. She said that the body at the mortuary was her sister, Elizabeth Watts (who was later found to be alive). Is that the fault of the newspapers who reported this or the fault of Mary Ann Malcolm for misidentifying the body? If we had the depositions from the Stride inquest we would find it stated by her that the body was Elizabeth Watts. So official primary sources can contain inaccurate information, just like newspapers. In the Eddowes depositions the spelling of the second word in the GSG is given as "Jews" and "Juwes" by different witnesses. They can't both be right (and I assume you would say neither is right) yet they are in the official depositions. You cannot just point to one inaccurate fact in a newspaper and then say that this means that every single report in every other newspaper must be discarded. It is irrational madness. It would be like saying that because Sarah Lewis' address is wrongly stated in her deposition at the Kelly inquest then we must discard not only the entirety of her deposition but also every other deposition.

In the case of Halse's evidence about the GSG we have at least four independent court reporters separately reporting that the GSG was written in a good hand, either "schoolboy" or "round" (both of which Halse no doubt said). The fact that there are variations in the reporting of the exact words actually shows that they are genuine because it means the reporters did not collaborate to put forward a false story. Not everyone hears everything the same in a courtroom, often due to the fact that witnesses mumble and don't always finish off words properly, and no transcript of court proceedings is ever 100% accurate. For the reasons I have already given, the fact that Halse's testimony on this point was not mentioned in the deposition is not in any way surprising, especially considering that he was answering a question from a member of the jury. The phrase "round hand" to describe handwriting was very common so there is nothing odd about the fact that this was also used by different journalists in other newspapers to describe the handwriting of the Dear Boss letter but here we have different words, i.e. "good" and "schoolboy", not used to describe the Dear Boss letter so it must be obvious to you that the reporters who used those words were not making any connection whatsoever with the Dear Boss letter and no-one who read their reports would have made the connection either. The inquest reports were not in the words of the journalists reporting them in any case but the words spoken by Detective Halse and heard by the journalists. If there was any bias or "tendency" involved it would be on the part of Detective Halse, not the reporters, but why would he have given false evidence about the nature of the GSG?

The short point, Pierre, is that any attempt to deny that the GSG was written in a good schoolboy (round) hand has no credibility and, indeed, no basis whatsoever because we have multiple reports of a first-hand witness account by a very reliable witness, being a police officer, given under oath that it was.
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  #118  
Old 04-25-2016, 10:55 AM
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David, your patience with Pierre is commendable, I take my hat off to you!
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  #119  
Old 04-25-2016, 11:06 AM
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I second your comments Albert,

Best regards.
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  #120  
Old 04-25-2016, 11:07 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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[quote=Pierre;378407]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elamarna View Post

Yes, but the journalists used the same types of descriptions for it as for the GSG, THAT is my point. <

So - and thanks for highlighting this - the view on the red herring became the view on the GSG. This means that we have many problems with the 1888 views on the GSG, i.e. the following:

1. Some journalists expected the handwriting to have been looking something like the Dear Boss letter and they distributed this perspective through their newspaper articles - and here we are with it!

Kind regards, Pierre
Gee, it's funny.

You like to break down sentence structure - always been doing that. I take it that it's a combination of a hopeless pedant and an attempt at a version of reduction ad absurdum. If so it is not appreciated, and very irritating.

Don't do it to me again please...and I strongly urge you (so your responses are more acceptable) not to do it to anyone else. You might find your counter-arguments more acceptable.

You were the source (that you enquired of me) for this cabal or group of journalists. It came from your opening in comment # 97 on this thread when you began responding to a comment Steve had put down earlier: "The Dear Boss letter is a red herring".

For a change you seemed to be heading towards an interesting comment about the journalists acting the same way about the letter and the graffito.
At least that was how I read it. I never bothered with this issue - it never seemed really important. But you suddenly made it look interesting. Boy, now that I know you did not know of such a thing (or now claim you don't) you've blown that out of the water! I was considering that you might know of a group of newsmen, admittedly working for rival papers, who were comparing notes and trying to aid in the case by pushing in the same direction regarding the various clues. Now it seems that is totally false.

Moreover I thought you believed they linked the GSG and the Dear Boss letter handwriting somehow. I see I may have misunderstood you in some way. Pardon me for that (and don't say, "You're pardoned"), but I was crediting you with some kind of new insight. Serves me right for thinking that.

As for the comment about HMS Pinafore, as it was a well known and popular work, and it's music sung throughout the English speaking world - people would have known of it in 1888. Also Gilbert probably knew the expression "round hand" when he used it. So he probably was using that phrase because his audiences identified it.

By the way. On another thread you mentioned how April 18th was significant. Historically it represents the date of Paul Revere's ride in 1775 and the day of the San Francisco Earthquake/Fire of 1906. What was the reason you found it interesting?

Jeff
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