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Special Collections and Archives

Borowitz Crime Artifacts

Borowitz Crime-related Artifacts, ca. 1820-ca. 2000

Finding Aid

Prepared by Cara Gilgenbach, December 30, 2003; Updated November 2007; Additions made by Edith Serkownek April 2009
20.75 cubic feet (33 boxes = 10 record storage boxes, 2 half-size record storage boxes, 3 flat boxes, 1 large bully box, 9 "shoebox" containers, 8 small flip-top boxes, 1 tube, 1 oversized box), 11th floor


Scope and Content

This collection contains objects (artifacts) related to true crime and its impact on literature and the arts. Most items in this collection were donated by Albert and Helen Borowitz with selected purchases made by the Department of Special Collections and Archives.

NOTE TO RESEARCHERS: The inventory below is only a partial listing of the items in this collection. Additional materials will be added as they are processed. Check back for updates.


Outline of Series

  1. Commemorative Medallions
  2. Figurines, Pottery, and Sculptures
  3. Last Hangman in England, Items Owned by
  4. Presidential Assassinations: Memorabilia
  5. Textiles and Clothing
  6. Miscellaneous Artifacts
  7. Additions

Box 1: Commemorative Medallions

  • Cavell, Edith and Marie Depage. Verso text: "1915; REMEMBER!" Bronze medal made by Fonson and Sons featuring portraits of Cavell and Depage by A. Bonnetain, 1919. [Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was an English nurse who served in a medical institute in Brussels during World War I. In 1915 she was arrested by occupying German forces who executed her on October 11, 1915 for harboring and aiding Allied prisoners and helping them in escape attempts. Depage was the wife of the Belgian doctor for whom Cavell had come to work in Brussels].

  • Dupin, A[ndre]-M[arie]-J[ean]-J[acques]. Verso text: "LA LOI. LIBRE DEFENSE DES ACCUSÉS, NE ÀVARZY (NIÈVRE) LE 1ER FÉVRIER 1783. MÉDAILLER FRANÇAIS CÉLÉBRES XIX SIECLE 1820." Bronze medallion with portrait of Dupin by Caunois on front. [Andre-Marie-Jean-Jacques Dupin (1783-1865), commonly known as "Dupin aîné," was a French liberal/opposition lawyer, magistrate, and prolific author of legal works].

  • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Porcelain medallion featuring a portrait of Mozart in white and pale blue, [no date]. [Similar to several 18th-century reliefs and medallions; believed to be a realistic likeness of the composer. This item supplements the Mozart-Salieri materials in the Borowitz Collection. See KentLINK for holdings information. See also Mozart und seine Welt in zeitgenössischen Bildern (1961) (Mozart and his world in contemporary pictures) for additional images of the composer].

  • Noir, Victor. Text: "VICTOR NOIR mort ASSASSINE a auteuil par PIERRE BONAPARTE le 10 janvier 1870." Bronze medallion with portrait of Noir by A. M. Demay, 1870. [Liberal reporter, Victor Noir was shot and killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte. Noir "had called on him with a companion to present his editor's challenge to a duel because of a journalistic dispute concerning Corsican politics" (Borowitz. Blood & Ink, C.28, p. 132)].

Boxes 2 - 17: Figurines, Pottery, and Sculptures

  • Box 2: Dickens, Charles. Parian bust of the author who based many of his fictional works on true crime. (See Borowitz. Blood & Ink, D.23-29 for more information), [no date].

  • Box 3: Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist:
    • Brass ashtray showing the head of Bill Sikes, [no date].
    • Bronze nutcracker showing Bill Sikes on one side and Fagin on the other, [no date].
    • Figurine of Fagin, Staffordshire pottery, [no date].
    • Oliver Twist plate. Manufactured in England as one of a series. Caption on plate: "Oliver amazed at the Dodger's mode of 'going to work.'" The image shows the Artful Dodger picking the pocket of a shopper, [no date].

  • Box 4: Disraeli, Benjamin. Bronze bust, [no date].

  • Box 5: Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Maquette (model sculpture) by David Cornell, [2000?] [Maquette in bronze, made by sculptor Cornell in preparation for creating a life-sized statue of Doyle; a limited number of reproduction maquettes were made available for purchase by the Conan Doyle Society of the UK].

  • Box 6: "Gasoline Alley" [comic strip]. Mulligan, police officer, painted die-cast bank, [no date].

  • Box 7: Homer. Bronze bust, [no date].

  • Box 8: Maltese Falcon. Sculpture, plaster of paris, painted black, [from the same mold that produced the statue used in the 1941 film classic], [194?]

  • Box 9: Orton, Arthur. Figurine, Staffordshire pottery, [1873?]

  • Box 10: Phrenology by L. N. Fowler. Bust, ceramic, [no date]. Text printed at back of bust: "For thirty years I have studied Crania and living heads from all parts of the world, and have found in every instance that there is a perfect correspondence between the conformation of the healthy skull of an individual and his known characteristics. To make my observations available I have prepared a Bust of superior form and marked the divisions of the Organs in accordance with my researches and varied experience -- L. N. Fowler."

  • Box 11: Poe, Edgar Allan. Bust, Lefton China, #KW2509, [no date] [Poe is considered to be the "father of the detective story" and wrote some fact-based works related to crime, such as "The Mystery of Marie Roget"].

  • Box 12: Royal Doulton pottery:
    • Captain Henry Morgan, pottery bust in form of pitcher, Royal Doulton, copyright 1957.
    • Captain Henry Morgan, pottery bust in form of pitcher, Royal Carlton Company copy of the Royal Doulton design, [no date].
    • Robin Hood, pottery bust in form of small pitcher, Royal Doulton, #D6541, copyright 1959.
    • "The Sleuth" [Sherlock Holmes-like character], pottery bust in form of pitcher, Royal Doulton, #D6631, 1972.

  • Box 13: Schiller, Johann Christoph Friedrich. Parian bust of the author, [no date]. ["Schiller (1759-1805) played an important role in persuading Germans that valuable psychological insights were to be gained from the study of crime. In addition to basing imaginative works on crime...Schiller contributed a foreword to a 1792 German-language edition of selections from Gayot de Pitaval's groundbreaking Causes Celebres series" (Borowitz. Blood & Ink, S.9, p. 387)].

  • Box 14: Stanfield Hall. 20th-century reproduction of a Staffordshire pottery sculpture of the building, [no date]. [This was the site of the massacre perpetrated by J. B. Rush].

  • Box 15: Tussaud, Madame. Art nouveau plaster bust, [no date].

  • Box 16: Turpin, Dick:
    • Figurine. Turpin on horseback. Staffordshire pottery, [1860?]
    • Pottery bust in form of pitcher [masked], Royal Doulton, #D6528, copyright 1959.
    • Pottery bust in form of pitcher [mask raised], Royal Doulton, [stamped with number 5, no date].

  • Box 17: Vidocq, Eugene Francois. Bronze bust, limited edition, commissioned and executed by the Vidocq Society, [no date].

Boxes 18 and 19: "Last Hangman in England," Items Owned by

  • Model gallows [wood, string, clay figurine], [19??]

  • Hangman's noose and hood, [19??].

Box 20: Presidential Assassinations: Memorabilia

  • Garfield, James. Memorial plate with portrait of Garfield, Kettlesprings Kilns, Alliance, Ohio, #3516S, [no date].

  • Garfield, James. Memorial plate in pressed glass with portrait of Garfield, [no date].

  • Garfield, James and Abraham Lincoln. "Our Country's Martyrs." Memorial mug in pressed glass, [no date].

  • McKinley, William. Memorial plate in pressed glass with image of McKinley, [no date].

Box 21: Textiles and Clothing

  • Armchair Detective canvas tote bag -- 13 X 15.5

  • Dartmoor Prison. Printed cotton dishtowels (4), Printed in England, [no date]. (12th floor map case)

  • Jane Austin's House, Chawaton 'carrier bag tidy'. Linen tube for storing plastic bags printed with scenes from Austin novels, [no date] Reference: See A Gallery of Sinister Perspectives, 'The Trial of Jane's Aunt.'

  • Live Fast Die Young t-shirt -- Featuring the movie poster image from the 1958 film -- T-shirt, XL adult

  • Mata Hari t-shirt. Printed, "Mata Hari" with four photographic images of her. Attached note, "Mata Hari made by artist Bonnie Dolin."-- T-shirt, XL adult

  • [Our Society]. Our Society necktie. Given to Dean H. Keller by the British true crime author Jonathan Goodman, Secretary of Our Society. Our Society is a group of British crime writers, lawyers, judges and others interested in crime literature. [Gift of Dean H. Keller], [no date].

  • [Police, England]. "Bobby" necktie with silhouette policeman figure, [no date].

  • [Police, England]. Kent Constabulary official necktie, [no date].

  • Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Oven mitts, [no date].

  • Sing Sing Prison t-shirt -- T-shirt, XL adult

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street apron. Printed, "Mrs Lovett's Meat Pies * The best pies in London; Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Musical Thriller. [no date].

  • Richard III t-shirt -- XL adult

Box 22 - 25: Miscellaneous Artifacts

Box 22

  • Carry Nation axe. Cast pewter with chrome and bronze plate, [1900?]

Box 23

  • Antique blue bromo seltzer bottle, from the era of the Molyneux poisoning case, [no date].
  • Blue poison bottle, ridged, [no date]. [Poison bottles were ridged so that a person would know by touch that the poison bottle contained poison and would not mistake it for medicine or other household materials].
  • [Chappaquidick]. Button: "Remember the Alamo! Remember Pearl Harbor! But Don't Forget Chappaquidick" [no date].
  • [Choiseul-Praslin, Duc Théobald]. Candy bag: "Au Duc de Praslin," Paris: Mazet S.A. [Duc Praslin murdered his wife in their home, Hôtel Sébastiani, 55 rue du Faubourg St. Honoré, Paris. The candy bag reflects the continuing popularity of the "praline" named for the Dukes's ancestor whose cook invented the confection. See Blood & Ink, entry L.35].
  • Cleveland Police. 150th Anniversary. Coffee mug, [1986].
  • Gendarmerie. Sugar cubes with pictorial wrappers celebrating the history of the Gendarmerie [French police force], [1998].
  • John's Grill San Francisco, "Home of the Maltese Falcon." Souvenir drinking glass, [no date].
  • Joseph, Franz [Francis]. (1830–1916), emperor of Austria (1848–1916), king of Hungary (1867–1916). Amulet with profile portraits of Franz Joseph (in foreground) and Crown Prince Rudolph (in background), silver, [no date]. [Franz Joseph's tragic son, Rudolph, died at Mayerling].
  • Mata Hari. Small circular hand mirror (looks like a button) with image of Mata Hari, [no date].
  • Medina Courthouse (Cat's Meow wooden façade), site of Martha Wise poisoning trial, [199?]
  • Munyon bottle [brown glass, no date]. [Dr. Crippen was employed by the Munyon company].
  • Munyon's Rheumatism Remedy [one vial in box, no date]. [Dr. Crippen was employed by the Munyon company].
  • [Ness, Eliot]. Button: "Cleveland Needs Ness for Mayor" [1947?]
  • [Ness, Eliot]. Eliot Ness beer [Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio, 1 bottle, 1999?]
  • Richard III coin cufflinks [sold in conjunction with a 1973 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery curated by Pamela Tudor Craig].
  • Tylenol caplets with safety seal, [no date, expiration date: 1987]. [In 1982, extra-strength Tylenol capsules were found to be laced with cyanide and then put back onto store shelves to be purchased by unsuspecting consumers. Seven people died from ingesting the poisoned capsules. Introduction of tamper-evident safety seals on food and drug products was a direct result of this crime.]
  • Windows on the World restaurant. [World Trade Center, Floor 107], match books, [199?]

Box 24

  • Sherlock Holmes. Souvenir umbrella from the Swiss Sherlock Holmes Museum near the Reichenbach Falls, [no date]. (oversized tube box)

Box 25: Oversized Box

  • Munyon Cabinet, [no date, but circa 1890?]. Store display cabinet. Front panel text: "Doctor Yourself. Positive Cures. Munyon's Homeopathic Remedies. Relieve Immediately." Front panel includes list of 36 ailments and the price per remedy. Rear of cabinet is made up of cubby holes for storage of remedies for sale. Glass panel at rear of cabinet is missing from this cabinet. Accompanied by a brief article about Munyon Cabinets.

    [Note: This item is related to the Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen case. Crippen obtained a homeopathic medical degree in Cleveland, Ohio. At one time he worked for the Munyon Patent Medicine Company. He and his wife Cora moved to London in 1897. He took a lover, his typist, named Ethel Le Neve. In 1910, Cora was reported as missing and when asked about her, Crippen replied that she had died on a trip to California. However, suspicions were raised by Crippen's relationship with Le Neve (which at this point included the pair living together at the Crippen residence) and the fact that she was seen wearing the missing wife's jewelry. Dismembered remains were eventually found under a brick floor in the Crippen house's coal cellar. The remains were tested, and found to contain a lethal level of a drug called hydrobromide of hyoscine. Despite attempts to escape the country, Dr. Crippen was arrested July 30, 1910 and was found guilty of his wife's murder and sentenced to death in October 1910.]

Boxes 26-31: Additions

Box 26

  • Cleveland Torso Murders Clock (souvenir) -- Clock with map of area in Cleveland in which victims were found -- 5 x 7
  • Dartmoor Prison glasses (4) (souvenirs) -- “Property of H. M. Prison Dartmoor Not to be Removed” -- 4 Glasses, 2 X 2.75 (each)
  • Dartmoor Prison mugs (5) (souvenirs) -- “Property of H. M. Prison Dartmoor Not to be Removed” -- 5 Ceramic mugs, 3.25 X 3.25 (each)
  • Jean Bart cigar box -- Jean Bart was a popular hero of the French Navy, but was also labeled by some as a pirate -- 5.125 X 8.5 X 2.5
  • Man in the Iron Mask prison tile -- Ile Ste. Marguerite piece of corridor tile from the prison -- 5 x 4.5, Reference, Blood and Ink, see Index

Box 27

  • Billy the Kid baseball cap -- “Yesterday, Today & Forever! Lincoln, New Mexico”
  • Billy the Kid t-shirt -- “Billy the Kid Pageant, Lincoln New Mexico” -- T-shirt, XL adult
  • Deacon Brodie’s Tavern memorabilia -- Includes polo shirt, menu, and flyer. Brodie was an accomplished carpenter who broke into people’s houses at night and stole from them. He is one of the sources of Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. -- XL adult (shirt), Reference: Blood and Ink, vS.53
  • Jeremy Bentham portrait plaque -- Bronze portrait plaque of Jeremy Bentham, signed 'David' [Pierre Jean David/David d'Angers] [Note: Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher, jurist and legal and social reformer. He sought the abolition of physical punishment, to critique the death penalty and to decriminalize homosexuality. He also designed a prison called the Panopticon which allowed for the ready and unknowing observation of prisoners.]-- 6 diameter

Box 28

  • “Poison” drink set -- Ceramic flask, shot glasses, and tray. Flask is in the shape of skeleton and reads “poison”; shots are skull-shaped -- 7 (tall; flask), 1.75 X 1.75 (shots), 6.25 (wide; tray)
  • “The Lawyer” cup -- Royal Doulton cup/mug; D6504; 1958 -- 3 X 3.5
  • Brooch in red leather box--Transfer image of Guido Reni's turbaned girl, identified traditionally (but erroneously) as Beatrice Cenci-- Reference, Blood and Ink, see Index
  • Cleveland Police Department uniform buttons (14) -- Ten small and four large buttons. -- .625 (small), 1.125 (large)
  • John Peel cup -- Royal Doulton cup/mug; 13F --2.25 x 2.5
  • Skull poison ring -- Ivory
  • Skull bolero tie (?) -- Small plaster skull; part of a bolero tie? (has two holes in the back suggesting this use) -- .75 X 1.25 (several teeth broken)
  • J. Oswald skull rolling eye skull clock -- Carved wood with plastic eyes. The clock is not in working condition currently, but all parts are present -- 3 X 4 plus stand
  • Falstaff statue -- Royal Doulton statue; H. N. 2054; 1949 -- 7.25 x 4.5

Box 29

  • Wooden open book -- Hand carved open book, "1983, Prost, 194" carved into the spine. -- 6.75 x 13.5
  • Charles R. Pratt lawyer sculpture -- Painted clay and wood sculpture; Base of sculpture reads “Trial by What, Me Lord?” Label inside base with Charles R. Pratt signature and “Original Creation 7367.” Designed by Albert Borowitz’s father, David Borowitz.-- 11.75 (tall)
  • Vaux-le-Vicomte souvenir tray -- Home of Nicolas Fouquet. Metal tray with color illustration and decoration. -- 12.5 X 16 -- Reference: Blood and Ink, B.27; Crimes Gone By “Fouquet’s Trial…”

Box 30

  • "Rob Roy in Glasgow Tollbooth," ceramic tile -- [Plate shows a scene from Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy]. Mintons China Works, Stoke on Trent imprinted on back, signed Moyr Smith, CA . XXIII. (Exh. D.3) -- 6 x 6
  • Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate showing a scene (probably historical) of embezzlement or theft from the Chemin de Fer du Nord-Bruxelles-E- (Northern Railroad --Brussels). The safe (caisse) is open and empty and the legend reads 'Ou est le cassier?' ('Where is the cashier?')] (Exh. D.6) -- 8 diameter
  • Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate in series Balancoires (hearsay). A prisoner before a judge says: 'Mr. Le Juge me cite deux temoins qui m'ont vu moi je lui en citreai plus de mille qui ne m'ont pas vu.' (His Honor cites to me two witnesses who saw me; but I will cite more than a thousand of them who didn't see me.) (Exh. D.8) -- 8 diameter
  • Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate shows a seated gentleman saying: 'One hears of nothing but crimes (i.e. murders). The make me shiver; my hair stands up on my head.' The other gentleman answers, "Me too, Monsieur." His hat jumps of his head to illustrate his words.] (Exh. D.10) -- 7.75 diameter
  • Souvenir plate -- [A plate in the series "Divorce." A woman client complains,'C'est a peine s'il me regardait l'insolent. Remettez votre affaires entre Mes mains. Je responds de notre succes.' ("He hardly looked at me.' The lawyer responds: 'Put your case in my hands; I guarantee our success.')] (Exh. D.9) -- 6.25 diameter
  • [The Wandering Jew] Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate 5 from a series illustrating Eugene Sue's crime novel, Le Juif Errant (the Wandering Jew)] (Exh. D.7) -- 8.25 diameter
  • [Vices and Virtues] Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate showing burglar entering a women's bedroom, 'Si elle se veveillait!. . . .ma foi tant pis pour elle.' (If she were to awake. My God, so much the worse for her!")] (Exh. D.4) -- 8 diameter
  • [Vices and Virtues] Souvenir plate -- [Lithograph plate showing prisoners for life in a prison camp, 'Vices et Virtus. a perpetuite!. . .v'la done ou tout ca m'a conduit. . . .si j'avais su!' (Vices and Virtues. for life! That's what all that led me to. . .if I had only known.') This scene is taken from a history of prison-camps (bagnes) in our collection, probably Maurice Alhoy, Les bagnes; or his books on Prisons in several volumes.] (Exh. D.5) -- 8 diameter
  • "Le Chevalier du Guet" souvenir plate --[Plate features 18th century children's song about Chevalier du Guet, a commander of mounted and foot police patrol dating from the time of Charlemagne.] (Exh. D.2) -- 7.5 diameter
  • [Robin Hood] "Robin des Bois" souvenir plate -- [Plate features song from Castil-Blaze's French opera, Robin des Bois (Robin of the Woods, French name of Robin Hood), set to music of Weber's opera, Der Freischutz.] (Exh. D.1) -- 7.25 diameter

Box 31

  • Billy the Kid license plate -- “Member, Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang Inc., New Mexico Historical Society; Wanted Dead or Alive! -- 6 X 12
  • Billy the Kid print on marble -- Sellable Products, 1985 -- 5.75 X 8.75
  • Billy the Kid belt buckle -- Metal belt buckle In the form of a wanted poster with text of a wanted poster offering a $5,000.00 reward -- 2.25 X 3.25
  • Scotland Yard sign (souvenir) -- “New Scotland Yard SW1 City of Westminster” -- Hand-printed porcelain enamel, 9 X 15

Box 32

  • Jane Austen paperweight -- Glass paperweight with portrait of Jane Austin. [no date] Reference: See A Gallery of Sinister Perspectives, 'The Trial of Jane's Aunt.' -- 2.75 diameter

Box 33

  • Punch-character bookend: English Staffordshire Prattware Punch figure. This figure is often referred to as a doorstop and was in production from the 1860s to the 1920s. [Note: "Punch and Judy puppet plays emerged in England as early as the mid 17th century. At a time when public executions were a common means for imposing social order, Punch embodied working class contempt for legal, social, and religious authority. Punch and Judy shows incorporate slapstick physical comedy and darker violent themes. Storylines for the plays follow a formula, with Punch committing various violent acts including murdering his wife, child, and other characters. Various characters attempt to control Punch, but he continually evades punishment. Most Punch shows end with a hangman's attempt to execute Punch for his crimes, but often Punch turns the tables. The hangman character is often named Jack Ketch, after a real-life executioner who lived in England in the late 17th century."]

Box 34-35

  • Manning, Maria. Figurine, Staffordshire pottery, circa 1849.
  • Manning, Frederick. Figurine, Staffordshire pottery, circa 1849.
 
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