No announcement yet.

Pathological Museum's Sub-curator's identity

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Pathological Museum's Sub-curator's identity

    During the Annie Chapman inquest, the Coroner, Wynne Baxter, made the following remarks:

    Within a few hours of the issue of the morning papers containing a report of the medical evidence given at the last sitting of the Court, I received a communication from an officer of one of our great medical schools, that they had information which might or might not have a distinct bearing on our inquiry. I attended at the first opportunity, and was told by the sub-curator of the Pathological Museum that some months ago an American had called on him, and asked him to procure a number of specimens of the organ that was missing in the deceased. He stated his willingness to give 20 for each, and explained that his object was to issue an actual specimen with each copy of a publication on which he was then engaged. Although he was told that his wish was impossible to be complied with, he still urged his request. He desired them preserved, not in spirits of wine, the usual medium, but in glycerine, in order to preserve them in a flaccid condition, and he wished them sent to America direct.
    I tried to find the name of the sub-curator in the British Newspaper Archives and no name came out. Since I don't want to subscribe to the Royal London archives or the UK National Archives only for that purpose, I was wondering if anyone knew who he was.

    Oh! I forgot to mention that almost all my JTR reference books are in Canada and I'm currently living in Merida, Yucatan and won't get back until June 2015 which limits my research capacities.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
    Bernard Beaule

  • #2
    Good question, BB.....hopefully someone will come up with an answer for you....
    To Join JTR Forums :


    • #3
      Bernard or How-
      Do we know which teaching hospital it was?


      • #4
        Hello Bernard

        As with a number of episodes in the Ripper case, further enquiries showed that Wynne Baxter's sensational claims at the inquest on Annie Chapman were not quite what he represented them to be. The London correspondent of the Chicago Tribune appears to set the record straight in the issue of Sunday, 7 October 1888:

        "I learned today from a Scotland Yard man working on the case that the mysterious American who was here a few months ago offering money for specimens of the parts taken from the bodies of the victims has been discovered. He is a reputable physician in Philadelphia with a large practice, who was over here preparing a medical work on specific diseases. He went to King's College and Middlesex Hospitals and asked for specimens, and merely said he was willing to pay well if he could not get them otherwise. The statement that he offered 20 each or named any other large sum seems to be a delusion of the Coroner. These facts were given the police by an eminent London physician, who saw a great deal of the Philadelphian when he was here, but would only divulge the information on a written guarantee from Sir Charles Warren that neither his name nor the name of the physician in question should be given to the public. He said the doctor had gone back to America, and his mission here was purely legitimate.

        "An American who used to live in New York keeps a herb shop now in the Whitechapel district. A detective called at his place this week and asked him if he had sold any unusual compound of herbs to a customer since August. Similar inquiries were made at other shops in the neighborhood. The basis of this investigation has a startling Shakespearean flavor. An eminent engineer in London suggested to the police the theory that the murderer was a medical maniac trying to find the elixir of life and was looking for the essential ingredient in the parts taken from the murdered bodies; that, like the witches in 'Macbeth,' he spent the time over a bubbling caldron of the hellbroth made from the gory ingredients looking for the charm.

        "The fact that the police are spending time looking up wild theories like this only shows the utter absence of anything like a clew. . . ."

        See the following URL for the entire article in the Chicago Tribune:

        I wrote an article entitled "The Search for the 'Eminent Philadelphia Physician'" for Ripperologist No. 43, October 2002. Also there is further discussion of the question involving myself, the late Chris Scott, and David O'Flaherty and others in a 2004 thread on Casebook: Jack the Ripper entitled, "The mysterious American specimen purchaser." We can now celebrate that thread's tenth anniversary!

        Best regards

        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical" Hear sample song at

        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


        • #5
          Thank you so much Chris for your quick response.

          To bad I didn't have the #43 issue of Ripperologist, I wouldn't have wasted your time but really appreciate the clear explanation you present me with of the 'sub-curator' reference Baxter gave. I was using 'sub-curator' and 'pathology museum' as keywords and only the newspaper articles containing those words came out without identifying him.

          I thought I could have added the sub-curator's name and 'story' in the novel I've just finished as I'm going through a 'final' revision. But it now serves no purpose using it.

          Respectfully yours,