Collection Facts

Extent: 
117 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1815 - 1894
Collection Owner:

Historical Context

Ever since the invention of moveable type in the mid-1400s, the public’s appetite for tales of shocking murders —“true crime” —has been an enduring aspect of the market for printed material. For more than five centuries, murder pamphlets have been hawked on street corners, town squares, taverns, coffeehouses, news stands, and book shops. Typically, a local printer would put together a pamphlet that claimed to be a true account of a murder, consisting of a narrative, trial transcript, and/or written confession of the murderer before his or her execution. Pamphlets varied in length, from eight pages to over two hundred, were printed on cheap paper, and usually sold for a low price.

Scope of Collection

This collection is comprised of the covers of 124 pamphlets.