ancestryink fisherman

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders

The Harvard Law School Library (HLSL Historical & Special Collections) has published a collection online entitled:  "Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides." 

I'm grateful to Rob Stanhope, a fellow BU alum forum member,  for pointing out this intriguing, historically significant,  (sometimes horrifying!) collection.

'The Idle 'Prentice Executed at Tyburn' -William Hogarth 1747

A broadside is defined as the following:  (from the website)

"Broadside. A sheet of paper printed on one side only or containing one large page without columns. The term is applied to such works as copies of a "last dying speech" of some celebrated criminal, and other similar street literature."

Forgery, murder, treason, heinous crimes punishable by public execution - all were reported in broadsides and sold for around a penny or less, to rubbernecking (so to speak)  citizens gathered to witness the demise of these criminals of 18th-19th century Great Britain.

The collection features more than 500 Broadsides, searchable by keyword,   category  - or you can "browse the collection."   Once you make your choice, you will see a link taking you to a copy of the original newspaper image of the account.

The "category" choice allows you to search by crime - and there are many!  From "Adultery" to "Uxoricide" and "Wife Abuse."  You are able to search by name of "Condemned" and "Victim," as well. 

A quick review of the "browse the collection" option, took me to the following example. 
I particularly love the devious masquerade - two men posing as "shipwrecked sailors!"


Murder most image to view separately.

Resources and Bibliography for this collection and above images:

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