No announcement yet.

Swanson's Marginalia: Our Perceptions

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #91
    Hello SPE

    What is perhaps unusual in the part of a letter by Donald Swanson that you have just posted is the number of words that are joined together (showing joins here as dashes):

    ...."pectful regards to-Lady Agnes-&-you and my good wishes for the New-Year.

    "Yours gratefully

    "Donald S-Swanson

    "Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LLD
    39 Linden-Gardens

    Such joining-together of words is not seen at all, as far as I can see, in the Marginalia or the end note under discussion, except for the Marginalia and endnote initials D-S-S. I am not necessarily saying there is anything fishy in that disparity. It could just simply be that when he was writing formally and carefully compared to when he was just making notes for himself, he had a habit of joining words together.

    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


    • #92
      Originally posted by SPE View Post
      In the Anderson archive that I bought a few years back was this undated Swanson letter with New Year good wishes. I wonder if it was in response to the letter above?
      It might be - note the "Yours Gratefully" valediction, which suggests a response to a gift of some kind.


      • #93
        Anderson's letter to Swanson seems very abrupt being addressed to Dear Swanson and signed off as yours faithfully Anderson.

        Would it have been too much to write Dear Donald? Yours faithfully Robert? Especially at Christmas

        I expect to be told that that was normal for the LVP/ police but it does sound a bit condescending to me -


        • #94
          Higher Level

          Originally posted by Nemo View Post
          Anderson's letter to Swanson seems very abrupt being addressed to Dear Swanson and signed off as yours faithfully Anderson.
          Would it have been too much to write Dear Donald? Yours faithfully Robert? Especially at Christmas
          I expect to be told that that was normal for the LVP/ police but it does sound a bit condescending to me -
          In Victorian social circles Anderson would have been considered to be at a considerably higher level than Swanson, virtually gentry as compared to working class.

          In the police force Swanson was a career officer who had worked his way up through the ranks whereas Anderson was a qualified barrister and civil servant who had never been a policeman. In those days the top ranking police officers were an officer corps type elite. The relationship between Anderson and Swanson, although friendly, would never have been anything but formal and in accordance with accepted social graces.


          • #95
            Thanks to Nemo for bringing up the issue...and thanks a lot to SPE for verifying the social distinctions within the force. Much appreciated.

            I have been trying to get an answer or rather, opinions from others on the Marginalia,not necessarily in relation to the graphological aspects...but the nagging ( to me ) issue of why Swanson didn't mention Kosminski's first name, considering he was in charge of the operation.

            I know that its impossible to give a concrete answer to the question....but what do you two gents and anyone else make of this omission ( not an intentional one, let me stress that point...), but does it lead you to think or consider that by the omission of Kosminski's first name...that it may indicate that Swanson was NOT in attendence at the identification of the 'suspect' and that the omission of Kosminski's first name from the Marginalia may be a result of him being merely told about the identification from Anderson or even someone else?

            Considering that Swanson was in charge of the is very hard for me to understand how he could have NOT been in attendence ...but in light of the social delineations brought up and discussed by SPE & it possible that only certain police officials would have been privy to the first hand accounts of the identification and like Swanson...simply told what happened ?

            I hope thats not too convoluted ....because I think its possible that neither one were in attendence.

            Thanks in advance.
            To Join JTR Forums :


            • #96
              It's possible that Swanson and Anderson were only given Kosminski's last name by the City CID - not his given name. I think you have to look into the possibility that City DI Robert Sagar was involved with the identification - if it ever did take place. He could have recorded his impressions of the encounter and sent them on to the MET to interpret as they would. Sagar would have then reported to his boss, Henry Smith, that the ID failed becuse the witness wouldn't talk, so Smith came to believe that Kosminski was a non-starter.


              • #97
                Sagar would have then reported to his boss, Henry Smith, that the ID failed because the witness wouldn't talk, so Smith came to believe that Kosminski was a non-starter.--Scott Nelson

                Thanks for the comments,Scott.

                If Sagar did indeed participate in the identification ( since Eddowes was murdered on City police turf) and did indeed convey the message to Henry Smith that the "witness" didn't identify the suspected man seen with might explain why Smith disparaged Anderson's position of the definitely ascertained fact.

                But,do you think it explains why a Met official ( Anderson ) would concoct the scenario of ...."the individual whom we suspected was caged in an asylum, the only person who had ever had a view of the murderer at once identified him...but when he learned he was a fellow Jew,he declined to swear to him"

                If Sagar was involved, why would Smith not have corroborated Anderson on the point of the witness failing to swear to him as he had found out he was a Jew?

                If Sagar was involved, where does the "we" come from in Anderson's statement?

                How do we reconcile these discrepancies,Scott?

                Could it also mean that the City police and not the Met staff/officials were the ones who did conduct the Seaside identification ? Could it be that one or more of Smith's people were in attendence...and because of that fact, that that is why Smith seems so virulent in his denouncement of Anderson's declaration(s) in March of 1910 and afterward?
                To Join JTR Forums :


                • #98
                  Perhaps it's significant that Macnaghten too fails to give a name to Kosminski - although he gives Ostrog's first name and Druitt's initials.


                  • #99

                    I agree. That makes three officials of the police department who do not mention his first name...albeit that the MM did not appear at the time or at any time in print for the public,as did the Anderson comments 22 years later. We may have never known about the Swanson marginalia either.

                    Its a funny thing... as a sidebar here...but I remembered just tonight that I had made a rather rash assertion over on Ivor's site around 6 years or so ago about the MM possibly being a fake. Scott Nelson asked me if I was stating that the MM was a forgery and I didn't reply. I had meant the Swanson marginalia...which I am not disputing now in regard to who wrote it, because I can't do so since I couldn't back the claim up ....but I remembered thinking then at the time...that it was unusual for someone to apply a signature onto something he himself had written....and apparently had never informed any family members about the notation despite applying a signature to it as if it was some sort of verification of the Seaside identification for posterity. Just tonight, I saw someone on Casebook mention that about the signature.

                    Sorry to ramble....back to thread. I'll shut up.
                    To Join JTR Forums :


                    • Unsatisfactory

                      There is much about the endpaper notes that is unsatisfactory. I have always wondered why, as with Macnaghten's report, only the surname 'Kosminski' is mentioned.

                      The fact that in these notes the words "where he had been sent by us..." were used, as opposed to "where he had been taken by us..." appear to indicate that Swanson was probably not present (assuming these notes to be accurate). I have pointed out many times in the past that the identification described does not appear to be a proper, official procedure. But there seems to be no valid reason why such a thing would remain a secret and remain undisclosed by anyone else who knew about it.

                      In view of the fact that both Henry Smith and Harry Cox have provided lengthy accounts about the Ripper, and in view of the fact that both state the killer's identity was unknown, and do not mention an identification, I do not see how they could have been privy to what Swanson describes. And you would imagine the garrulous Smith would have mentioned such a thing, especially as Anderson had already referred to it in his book.

                      All in all it is a very unsatisfactory situation and one about which there must be greatest doubt that it will ever be resolved.


                      • Hi Stewart

                        I am not really familiar with all the ins and outs of this Seaside Home identification so apologies for my ignorance in advance.

                        I wondered if the reason that the suspect was taken to the home was because the witness was actually a Jewish policeman (were there many Jewish policemen - if any - at the time?)

                        The "City PC" who got a good look at the Ripper is mentioned so many times that I am unsure whether it is a falsity that he did not exist/ was mistaken memories etc

                        Imagine if Kosminski was confronted with the PC only for the PC to refuse to hang the man (you will think that very unlikely I know) - but it would be a very good reason for this identification not to have appeared in notes anywhere and be only known to the highest ranking officers.

                        Do you think there is the slightest possibility that the witness was a PC?


                        • Hi How,

                          You really answer your own questions in post #98 below. I don't have any more suggested answers, other than the "we" probably refers to certain Metropolitan Police "Officials."