Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Crime/Law Enforcement

Need Bonnie & Clyde and Smoot Schmid Memorabilia?

bonnie-and-clyde_ring_rr-auction_june-2017Nothing says “I love you”…

by Paula Bosse

Thank you, Robin McLauren, for making me aware of the upcoming “Gangsters, Outlaws, & Lawmen” auction presented by RR Auction (the sale is June 24, 2017, with the lots available to be previewed here and bidding to begin next week). Of particular interest to those of us in Dallas are the lots concerning Bonnie & Clyde and the lots concerning Dallas County Sheriff Smoot Schmid (known for, among other things, his involvement in the Bonnie & Clyde case) — these Dallas-specific lots can be viewed separately, here (there are three pages, see the page numbers at the bottom of the page).

There is everything from photos of B&C’s bullet-ridden car, photos of the two West Dallas outlaws lying on morgue slabs, Bonnie’s blood-stained glasses, Schmid’s gun, and even his Shriners fez. Here are a few of the items I found interesting.

The first one is pictured at the top: a 3-headed serpent “promise ring” Clyde made for Bonnie while in prison (information on the lot can be found here). It’s kind of cool. (Most images on this page are larger when clicked.)

Another lot (here) contains four photos: two show the crowds attending Bonnie Parker’s viewing at the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home on Forest Avenue, taken by Dallas Times Herald photographer Denny Hayes, and two show the gravesites of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

bonnie-parker_mckamy-funeral-home_rr-auction_june-2017

bonnie-and-clyde_funeral-home_rr-auction_june-2017

bonnie-parker_grave-marker_rr-auction_june-2017

clyde-barrow_grave-marker_rr-auction_june-2017

Another lot (here) has 36 photos concerning Blanche Barrow, wife of Clyde’s brother Buck Barrow. Here she is marcelled and striking a pose.

blanche-barrow_rr-auction_june-2017

By far the best item is the bitter and angry letter of April, 1934 sent by Clyde Barrow to ex-Barrow Gang member Raymond Hamilton who was incarcerated in the Dallas County jail. Clyde dictated the letter to Bonnie, who must have had better penmanship (he signed it). A month later, Bonnie & Clyde were dead. The content of the 4-page letter is fantastic — read it here.

barrow_letter-to-raymond-hamilton-april-1934_rr-auction_june-2017

barrow_letter-to-raymond-hanilton_april-1934_signature_rr-auction_june-2017

There are several items that once belonged to Sheriff Richard A. “Smoot” Schmid, including this 14K gold diamond-studded badge presented to “Smoots” Schmid by his detectives in 1933.

smoot-schmid_badge_front_rr-auction_june-2017

smoot-schmid_badge_back_rr-auction_june-2017

And, his boots, with his “SS” initials on each.

smoot-schmid_boots_rr-auction_june-2017

And just because it’s odd, I have to admit I’m quite taken with this photo tucked into a lot containing several photographs which shows Schmid slapping cuffs on a robot.

smoot-schmid_robot_jail_rr-auction_june-2017

Bidding begins June 15!

***

Sources & Notes

The RR Auction website is here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on Bonnie and Clyde are here.

Most photos are larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Advertisements

“Enemy Aliens” and the WWII Internment Camp at Seagoville

japanese_dallas_wwii_corbisDallasites rounded up the day after Pearl Harbor… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I think most of us know about the sad period in American history of Japanese internment camps when, following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States “interned” men, women, and children of Japanese descent (often including whole families, some of whom were born in America or were naturalized American citizens). I’ve always thought of these camps as being in the western part of the country. I had no idea until just a couple of days ago that there were three “enemy alien” internment camps in Texas — and one of them was in Dallas County.

For a full history of the camp in Seagoville — which is a mere 20 miles southeast of Dallas — there are several links at the bottom of this post. But, briefly, the “camp” was originally built as a federal women’s prison in 1938 on 800 acres of farmland. The United States entered World War II as a result of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and, suddenly, authorities began scrambling to round up enemy aliens living in the U.S.: people born in countries we were now at war with — primarily those of Japanese, German, and Italian descent — were rounded up and questioned. Many were arrested, and some were interned in camps where they were basically kept prisoner for the duration of the war. Even though the bulk of the initial internees were, oddly enough, from Latin America (most of them Japanese, most sent from Peru), there were also several who, before the war, had been living in the United States for decades without any problems. (See a dizzying number of links at the bottom of this post for more on the Texas internment camps at Seagoville, Kenedy, and Crystal City.)

Below, the Seagoville camp.

seagoville_aerial_thc

seagoville-internment-camp_ut-inst-texan-cultures

In December, 1941, authorities in every city in the country were swooping down on foreign nationals (or sometimes just people who looked foreign or spoke with an accent), hauling them in for questioning, often arresting them for nothing more than the fact that they had been born in another country. Dallas was certainly no exception. Unsurprisingly, immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dallas’ few Japanese residents were rounded up. All ten of them. The photo at the top shows five of the first detainees, at the Dallas jail.

Most of Dallas’ Japanese residents worked for the Japan Cotton Company, an important cotton broker which had occupied space in the Dallas Cotton Exchange building since the late 1920s. (For a bit of weird trivia, the father of famed gossip columnist Liz Smith was working as a cotton buyer for the company during the war, commuting to work from Fort Worth.) If they weren’t working for the Japan Cotton Company, they were probably members of two Japanese families with long ties to Dallas: the Muta and Sekiya families, owners of the respected Oriental Art Company since at least 1903.

The first internees arrived in the Dallas area in April, 1942. The group was comprised of 250 women and children (“citizens of the Axis nations”) who had been arrested in Panama. They were interned in Seagoville, displacing the federal women prisoners who had previously been held there — they were transferred to a prison in West Virginia.

Jewish refugees sometimes found themselves tossed into enemy alien internment camps — simply because they had fled homelands which happened to be “Axis-controlled” countries with which the U.S. was at war (even though is seems highly unlikely that a German Jew would be an ardent Nazi sympathizer, gathering classified information to send the Führer’s way). Yes, Seagoville had detainees from all over the place. It was quite the melting pot. There was even a Bavarian princess in there. I wonder if a single person in that camp, held against his or her will for months and years, posed any actual threat to Allied forces.

seagoville_wwii_wisconsin-jewish-chron_milwaukee_052843
Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, May 28, 1943

Germans and Italians were able to “blend in” to American society, but Asian men and women had a harder time and were more often harassed. The person who seems to have most disliked and distrusted Japanese people was top Dallas police detective Will Fritz — in fact, The Dallas Morning News called Fritz “one of Dallas’ most enthusiastic Jap-haters” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943). Let’s just say that Capt. Fritz wasn’t going to be sending the wartime Welcome Wagon to any prospective Dallas residents of Japanese descent.

One Dallasite who was pretty angry and unhappy with the situation was Masao Yamamoto, an executive with the Japan Cotton Company who had lived in Dallas since 1928. He and his wife and two young sons (one of whom was born in Dallas) were living what appears to have been a nice life in the M-Streets when they were “detained.” Ultimately, the Yamamoto family was deported and sent to Tokyo, six months after the photo at the top of this post was taken (Mr. Yamamoto is the third from the left in the top photo) — they were part of a sort of prisoner swap.

After his deportation, Mr. Yamamoto complained to the Japanese press about his treatment in Dallas, where he said he was arrested, relieved of his possession, and thrown in jail with “burglars, murderers, deserters and other criminals.” (Click to see larger image.)

yamamoto_santa-cruz-sentinel_021843UPI wire story, Feb. 16, 1943

Will Fritz just about had a seizure when he heard of Yamamoto’s complaints, insisting that he was not mistreated and that he was a dangerous enemy agent: “Any apology that may be due should go to the murderers and burglars instead of Yamamoto. […] He was deported for we have absolute proof he was an agent of the Imperial Japanese Government and that his cotton-buying story was just another Jap blind. I consider him one of the most dangerous of enemy agents” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943). (This is from the article which described Fritz as “one of Dallas’ most enthusiastic Jap-haters.”)

But even in the midst of all this paranoid nastiness, there were occasional heartwarming moments. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Oriental Art Company — the 40-year-old business owned by Hideo Muta (who came to Dallas in 1900) — was ordered closed. In a show of support, 200 of his friends, neighbors, and customers signed a petition vouching for his staunch American patriotism (which is plainly evident in his 1951 obituary in which he is described as a “patriot”). In the ad below, the 73-year-old Muta acknowledged the support of his Dallas friends and announced the reopening of his business in an ad taken out on Dec. 15, 1941: “Thank You — Dallas friends have been wonderful to us … their expressions of friendship and confidence have made us very happy. The United States Government has licensed us to continue business. Oriental Art Co., 1312 Elm.”

oriental-art-co_dmn_121541
Dec. 15, 1941

Mr. Muta was spared the “enemy alien” internment camp, but, along with other Asian men and women residing in the United States, he was barred from becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen because of the “Oriental Exclusion Act.” The inability of Mr. Muta to become a U.S. citizen did not dampen his enthusiasm for American democracy: he paid his poll tax every year, even though he was not allowed to vote, and he was a proud member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years.

The Seagoville Enemy Alien Detention Station was closed in May, 1945, and the site was returned to the Bureau of Prisons.

***

Sources & Notes

Photos of the Seagoville camp are from the Institute of Texan Cultures (UTSA).

Articles of interest from The Dallas Morning News:

  • “Six Japanese Taken in Custody By Local Police” (DMN, Dec. 8, 1941)
  • “Dallas Japs Questioned” (DMN, Dec. 9, 1941)
  • “Six Suspected Germans Held in Dallas Roundup of Aliens; Total of Jap Prisoners Rises to 10” (DMN, Dec. 9, 1941)
  • “Enemy Aliens In Dallas, 776; Arrested, 30: But All Suspects Are Closely Watched By G-Men and Police” (DMN, Dec. 19, 1941)
  • “FBI Rounds Up 50 Enemy Aliens, Seizes Arms, Cameras, Radios” (with photos of Dallas residents of Japanese, German, and Italian descent as well as seized “contraband”) (DMN, Feb. 25, 1942)
  • “Women Aliens Are Interned At Seagoville; 250, Including Their Children, Arrive Here From Panama” (DMN, April 11, 1942)
  • “Chilly Welcome Given 15 Japs From Coast; O.K. to Come to Dallas, Were Told; Still More On Way, Inform Police (DMN, April 23, 1942)
  • “Japs Leave Dallas” and “Tokyo-Bound Jap Lad Takes Candy Six-Gun as Souvenir” (about the deportation of the Yamamoto family, with photo) (DMN, June 6, 1942)
  • “Fritz Sheds No Tears For Mr. Yamamoto” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943)
  • “Japanese Woman Revisits Seagoville” by Roy Hamric (profile of Masayo Ogawa) (DMN, Sept. 8, 1970)
  • “American Gulag: When Seagoville Housed the Aliens” by Kent Biffle (DMN, July 23, 1978)

More articles on the Seagoville internment camp:

  • One of the best articles I’ve read on the camp was an interview with two men (Erich Schneider and Alfred Plaschke) who, as American-born children of German parents, were interned at Seagoville and were later deported to Nazi Germany (in a prisoner exchange) where they experienced the terrifying bombing of Dresden. Both families returned to the United States after the war. The article by Mark Smith — “German-Americans Recall Horror of Deportation — Hundreds of Detainees Sent to Nazi Germany in POW Trade” — appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Nov. 11, 1990, and can be read here.
  • “Seagoville Enemy Alien Detention Station” (Texas Historical Commission), here
  • “World War II Internment Camps” (Handbook of Texas), here
  • “Seagoville, South America, and War — A Historic Intersection” by Kathy Lovas (Legacies, Fall, 2000), here
  • “Seagoville Detention Facility” (Densho Encyclopedia), here (and for more on the Japanese-American experience overall, see the main page, here)
  • “The Japanese Texans” by John L. Davis (Institute of Texan Cultures), here (opens a PDF)

Thanks to Facebook friend Julia Barton for posting about (and suddenly making me aware of) the Seagoville camp.

All photos and clippings are larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

November 22, 1963: Will Fritz and the JFK Investigation

jfk_dpd_post-assassination_ebayThe men of the Homicide & Robbery Bureau at work (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

After the unthinkable had happened on the streets of Dallas — the assassination of a U.S. president — the Homicide and Robbery Bureau of the Dallas Police Department, led by Will Fritz, Captain of Detectives, sprang into action and quickly apprehended Lee Harvey Oswald as a suspect in the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. The FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and the whole of the Dallas Police Department worked together, but Fritz was the face of the investigation.

Will Fritz (1895-1984) was born in Dublin, Texas and grew up in New Mexico. He joined the Dallas Police Department in 1921 and remained on the force for 49 years, retiring in 1970 at the age of 74. He was considered one of the top police interrogators in the state and was a dedicated lawman — so dedicated he lived just steps away from police headquarters in the White Plaza Hotel (originally the Hilton Hotel, now the Indigo).

The success rate of Fritz’s detectives was impressive:

The record of Fritz and the Police Department’s Homicide and Robbery Bureau — which he has led since its formation — is a nationally enviable one. Over the past quarter century, he and his aides have solved roughly 98 per cent of the 54 to 98 homicides committed each year. (Dallas Morning News, March 1, 1959)

Fritz served for almost half a century with the DPD, involved in all sorts of colorful cases, but he’ll always be most remembered for the events surrounding the JFK assassination. The photo above shows his detectives at work in the Homicide office in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination; the photo below shows him exiting the Texas School Book Depository with DPD detective Elmer Boyd (carrying rifle).

jfk_fritz_school-book-depository_112263_portal

*

*

jfk_fritz_albuquerque-journal_112463-photo

jfk_fritz_albuquerque-journal_112463a

jfk_fritz_albuquerque-journal_112463b

jfk_fritz_albuquerque-journal_112463_sidebar
Above photo and clippings from the Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 24, 1963

***

Sources & Notes

Top photo showing a Dallas police officer standing outside the Homicide and Robbery Bureau is from a 2015 eBay listing. The reverse of the photo is stamped “Paris Match/Marie Claire.”

Photo showing Fritz walking down the steps of the Texas School Book Depository, taken on November 22, 1963 by Dallas Times Herald staff photographer William Allen. It is from the Sixth Floor Museum’s Dallas Times Herald Collection, which is hosted online by the University of North Texas Libraries, via the Portal to Texas History, here (with additional information here).

More about Capt. Will Fritz from the Handbook of Texas History, here.

A really interesting profile of Fritz can be found in the 1959 Dallas Morning News article “Captain Fritz: Stays With the Case” by Don Freeman (DMN, March 1, 1959).

Other Flashback Dallas posts related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy can be found here.

Click on photos and clippings to see larger images.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas Police Department — 1914

dallas-police-dept_opening-of-city-hall_101714_cook-colln_degolyer_smuOn the steps of the Municipal Building (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

dallas-police-dept_frank-rogers_101714_cook-colln_degolyer_smu

police_1914_det3

police_1914_det4

police_1914_det5

***

“Officers & Members of Dallas Police Dept. Assembled on Steps of New City Hall, Opening Day, Oct. 17th 1914,” photo by Frank Rogers, from the George Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information here. I have edited the image.

All images very large when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Mrs. Hartgraves’ Cafe, and Bonnie & Clyde Earning Paychecks on Swiss Avenue

swiss-circle-front_070516The Swiss Circle building, 2016 (click for larger image) / Photo: Paula Bosse

by Paula Bosse

Bonne and Clyde were famous for being from West Dallas, but each actually spent a good amount of time in East Dallas. Working. Earning an honest living. Bonnie worked as a waitress, and Clyde worked in a mirror and glass company. Both worked in establishments on Swiss Avenue, though probably at different times. They hadn’t met yet, but it’s interesting to know they worked at businesses only a few blocks apart: Hartgraves Cafe was at 3308 Swiss, and United Mirror and Glass was at 2614 Swiss. Both buildings are still standing.

The Hartgraves Cafe (the name of which is always misspelled in historical accounts as Hargrave’s Cafe — even by Bonnie and Clyde enthusiasts) was in a curved building at the corner of Swiss and College (it is now at the corner of Swiss and Hall). 50-something-year-old Mrs. Alcie Hartgraves (her first name usually appeared in directories as “Elsie,” sometimes as “Alice”) opened the restaurant a few months after her husband, Ben, had died in 1923. It lasted until late 1930 or early 1931. (All clippings and photos are larger when clicked.)

1928-directory_hartgraves1928 Dallas directory

1929-directorySwiss Avenue between College Avenue and Floride, 1928 directory

According to Bonnie and Clyde histories, Bonnie worked there as a teenaged waitress with an absent husband, from 1928 to early 1929. According to one woman who worked at the Yates Laundry, just across from the cafe’s back door, Bonnie was a very nice person. Here, in a 1972 oral history, Rose Myers — who worked at the Yates Laundry for 25 years — remembers Bonnie from those days at Mrs. Hartgraves’ cafe:

hartgraves-yates_reminiscences
From the book Reminiscences

The laundry is long gone, but here’s what the back side of the building Bonnie worked in looks like today.

swiss-circle_back_070516Photo: Paula Bosse

And here’s a Coca-Cola ghost sign, painted on the end of the building that faces Hall.

swiss-circle_coke-ghost-sign_070516Photo: Paula Bosse

The Bonnie Parker connection is about the only reason people know about this odd little building in Old East Dallas. From looking through Dallas street directories, it appears that this building was built in 1915 or 1916 as a retail strip which, until Mrs. Hartgraves left, usually contained three or four businesses. The question is: why was it shaped like that? Many people think it was a streetcar stop, the cars using the circle as a place to turn around, but old maps showing streetcar routes from this period don’t show cars going down this part of Swiss. Below, a detail from a 1919 map, with Swiss and College streets in red. Streetcar tracks on Swiss turn left at Texas and then right on Live Oak, completely bypassing the circle area. (Another handy map of old streetcar routes laid over a present-day Google map can be found here.)

swiss-circle_1919-map
1919 map detail, via UNT

There’s a great view of the area in the 1921 Sanborn map here (with a different angle here). It may just be that the building was built to take advantage of/conform to the odd jog that Swiss Avenue takes in front of it. Here’s an aerial view from the recent past.

swiss-circle_bing-birdseye
Bing Maps

Our own teensy and unspectacular Royal Crescent! (You know what they say — “Everything’s bigger in Bath….”)

**

But what about Clyde? Clyde worked at a mirror and glass company four-tenths of a mile west. Here’s an ad from 1928 (the same year Bonnie was working at Hartgraves).

united-mirror-glass_1928-diectory-ad_texashideout
via Bonnie & Clyde’s Hideout

Charles “Chili” Blatney worked with Clyde at United Glass and Mirror. In the Dallas Morning News article “He Helps Dallas to See Itself” by David Hawkins (DMN, March 17, 1970), Hawkins wrote: “Blatney remembers him as the friend he was: The little guy who always wore a hat and who would jerk it off and beat the floor with it in merriment when a good joke was told. […] ‘I guess I was surprised to see him turn real bad,’ [said Blatney].”

The building still stands, almost unrecognizable.

So, yeah, East Dallas was the stomping grounds of Bonnie and Clyde, back when they were living paycheck-to-paycheck and before they had begun their short-lived life of crime.

***

Sources & Notes

Photos of the Swiss Circle building taken by me when I stumbled across it yesterday. I knew what it was when I saw it, but I didn’t really know much about it, other than the Bonnie connection. The building is currently vacant, currently for lease, and currently a weird shade of green. It’s a great space and a cool building. The back side is FANTASTIC!

The surname of the property owner (or property manager) is rather unbelievably … Dunaway.

The passage quoting Rose Myers, who worked at the Yates Laundry, is from the book Reminiscences: A Glimpse of Old East Dallas.

A discussion of this building can be found on the Phorum discussion board, here.

Other Flashback Dallas  posts on Bonnie and Clyde can be found here.

Click everything. See bigger images!

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas Police Moonlighting as “Bonnie and Clyde” Movie Extras — 1966

bonnie-and-clyde_movie_dallas-police-extras“Action!” (click for BIG image) Photo: Dallas Police Museum

by Paula Bosse

Need to hire a bunch of movie extras who look comfortable toting rifles? When Hollywood came to Dallas and environs in the fall of 1966 to shoot the movie “Bonnie and Clyde,” they found plenty of law enforcement officers happy to don a pair of overalls and add some local color to their production.

I came across this photo on the Dallas Police Department Museum Facebook page. One of the comments under the photo: “I remember when all the overtime slots were allowed (paid by the film company)…. I recognize Chief Curry and the other officers.” Another person commented that an ex-DPD cop told him that he was in the movie, dressed as a farmer, chasing a car across an open field.

Did you  have an uncle Earl who was on the DPD force in 1966? There’s a chance he might be in the movie. Hell, he might be in this photo!

***

More on the Dallas Police Department Museum here.

Read the Preston Hollow Advocate article “A Criminal Record: Dallas Police Department Museum,” here.

Click that photo. It’s big. Real big.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Police Blotter — Drunks, Vagrants, Adulterers

jail-cell

by Paula Bosse

Today, a few snippets from the police and court reports about Dallas people doing things they shouldn’t have been doing. (All clippings are larger when clicked.)

*

Drunkenness seems to have been the most common reason for arrest in the 1870s and 1880s (and probably still is today). The city “popped it to” a lot of people back in the 1880s.

drunk_dal-herald_021483Dallas Herald, Feb. 14, 1883

A “crazy boy” from Collin County eluded lawmen by running off into the Cedars (back when the area we still call “The Cedars” was actually full of cedar trees).

cedars_dallas-herald_042178Dallas Herald, April 21, 1878

A 14-year-old vagrant was given the scared-straight treatment. (Click for larger image.)

blotter_dallas-notes_FW-morning-register_021601“Dallas Notes” section in The Fort Worth Register, Feb. 16, 1901

But the real jackpot for the city looks like it might have been in ferreting out adulterers and violators of the Sunday Law (which in the 1880s usually meant selling alcohol on a Sunday, although it was a violation to operate any business or place of amusement on a Sunday).

In the adultery case below — in which the cheating couple was actually living together outside the bounds of legally-sanctioned wedlock — both parties were fined: the woman’s fine was a surprisingly high $100 (in today’s money about $2,500!), but the man’s fine was — let me find a chair — an unbelievably exorbitant $500 (equivalent today to over $12,000!!). And those who pooh-poohed the Sunday Law took an equally incredible hit. Sunday Law scofflaws such as Mr. R. F. Eisenlohr (who ran a respected market and pharmacy) (and who was the father of noted artist E. G. Eisenlohr) were punished with more than slaps on the wrists — in 1880, they were getting “popped” to the tune of five hundred bucks. (These fines seem excessive. Perhaps because they’re cases brought by the state rather than the city or county? I know that at this time the state was hell-bent on enforcing the Sunday Law because, basically, it was being flagrantly disregarded everywhere, so I’m wondering if a fine this steep was meant to send a message to others. But the adultery fine still seems outrageously high.)

courts_dallas-herald_022580Dallas Herald, Feb. 25, 1880

And sometimes crime beat reporters (and enterprising undertakers) have something of a slow day and can just kick back and ponder.

corpse_dal-herald_020982Dallas Herald, Feb. 9, 1882

***

Top photo is from Flickr — as I recall, it is not a Texas jail — it might be one in Missouri. As I understand it, the 19th-century Dallas cell most drunks and vagrants would have been thrown into was nowhere near as luxurious as the one seen in this photo. More on that to come.

Interested in what those court fines of yesteryear would be equivalent to in today’s money? Check out the handy-dandy Inflation Calculator, here.

See the previous police blotter round-up — “Police Blotter — 1880s” — here.

All clippings larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Bonnie Parker: “Buried In an Ice-Blue Negligee” — 1934

bonnie-parker_mortician-account_cook-colln_degolyer(George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU)

by Paula Bosse

This amazing (and amazingly gruesome) first-hand account of an unnamed McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home undertaker details the incredible amount of work required to prepare the bullet-ridden body of celebrity outlaw Bonnie Parker for burial. This odd little historical document comes from the absolutely fantastic George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection housed in SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The four-page handwritten document can be viewed in its entirety on SMU’s Central University Libraries’ website here. Below is the full account, transcribed by SMU, with a few corrections/additions made by me.

*

Tear this up please? Tear this up please?

Heres [sic] first hand on Bonnie & Clyde as we had Bonnie. She was about the size of Rose Grace, weighing a 100 pounds. (a thousand pounds of dynamite though) She was very pretty of course her skin was somewhat tan. Her nails were beautiful. Likewise her toe nails. Her toes looked like fingers. The cuticles pushed back, the nails filed to a point, and a deep coral shade polish on them, the most beautiful toes I ever saw, just perfect. Her permanent just a month old we had it waved. Her face, right side was blown off. We fixed this and you could hardly tell it. Just one bullet went through her brain, however and number grazed her head as there were 3 big holes in her scalp, but not through skull. Her left eye terribly black, however I used eye shadow on other eye to match, so that was covered up. Now, her body was just mutilated and torn to pieces from shots. Her right hand nearly blown off (known as her trigger hand) her body besides being full of bullet holes was full of buckshot, pellets all over her

[Page 2] body. We received body ten minutes of nine. Joe and I sewed on her until three that afternoon. At that time they say 25,000 people were lined up outside. It took 2 hours picking dirt, rocks etc. from her hair then to wash it and have waved. A tattoo on right leg two hearts one read Roy, the other Bonnie. Roy you know was her Husband (Roy Thornton now in Pen) All fluid the undertaker in Arcadia La. used leaked out she was torn up so she was a a [sic] mass of blood, caked & dried. Several hours in bathing her. Had to scrape some of it off, and used gold dust to remove most of it. Had skin slip that night account Fluid leaking from it, began to smell the next morning, turning dark, smelling worse. The last day was rotten so to speak The odor was awful. Her Mother thought [sic] sat in room alone with her head over casket. How she stood it Lord knows. The other children couldn’t. Mother fainted 2:30 that night I asked if she wouldn’t like to go home, she went. By then the entire house smelt. We had to keep her so Sister Billy that was in jail in Ft Worth could get out & come to Funeral. She was buried in an all steel metal casket. Paper said $1000.00 wrong about $600 maybe less. Paper said $1000.00 vault Wrong there was no vault Page 2

[Page 3] Buried in an ice Blue Neglegee [sic] (is this spelled right) She was dressed in expensive clothes when killed. About 40,000 people came to view her. Paper said $1,500.00 damages done to Funeral Home. Wrong about the extent of $2.50. They did not tear windows etc as stated. The woman next door though turned Hose on Them to keep her flowers from being walked on. We had 38 officers stationed (3 shifts) all over house and front & back yard keeping crowd in order and all of us as well. 4 operators on the 4 phones. They rang every minute for two days & nights. More people came to see Bonnie then [sic] to see Clyde. Our new Porch Furniture was damaged. We had a Rubber mat about ½ inch in thickness all over Funeral House. Officers

[Page 4] stationed to keep people on it so as not to wear rug out (Big movie Star) my picture was shown in Movies. The paper stretched their stories. She was not to become a Mother as stated. She was diseased slightly though as stated. Now you have it first hand as I worked on her. Joes [sic] & My work was praised very highly in every other line in papers. And if I do say it, It was good. And she looked swell no trace of disfigures showing. The crowd did not steal anything to take home. All paper talk. Example crowd lined up as Far as Fair Park, now judge how it looked. They brought their Lunches. Such Fools.

*

Below, two photographs of the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home, located at 1921 Forest Avenue in South Dallas, besieged by curious spectators.

mckamy-campbell

mckamy-campbell_dallas-municipal-archives

**

I’m unsure who the “Rose Grace” was who was mentioned on the first page.

The “gold dust” mentioned in the account as being used to remove caked blood from Bonnie’s body was actually Gold Dust Washing Powder or Gold Dust Scouring Soap, a popular, commercially-available “all-purpose cleaning agents” — Wikipedia article is here.

***

Sources & Notes

Top image of the handwritten account on Adolphus Hotel stationery is from the aforementioned George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, viewable here.

First photo of the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home is reproduced all over the internet; the second photo is from the files of the Dallas Police Dept., Dallas Municipal Archives, via the University of Texas’ Portal to Texas History database, here.

Even though the identity of the person who wrote this account is not known, he (…it was probably a man) mentions that he was seen in newsreel footage of the funeral of Bonnie Parker. My wild guess is that he can be seen in this clip from a longer newsreel on the funerals and burials of Bonnie and Clyde at the 2:34 mark. I could never find who his co-worker “Joe” was.

*

Is this our man laying flowers on Bonnies casket?

bonnie-burial_newsreel-screengrab

If you really want to see the state of the bodies of Bonnie (and Clyde) — before and after their time with their undertakers — they’re easy to find via your favorite search engine.

More Flashback Dallas posts on Bonnie & Clyde here.

All images larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Official Government Reenactment of the Kennedy Assassination — Nov. 27, 1963

reenactment_agent-at-windowAgent Howlett at window with “rifle” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday I received a comment on a previous post I wrote about the first official reenactment of the Kennedy assassination, and that got me to wondering if that film was online anywhere. The film was made as part of the Secret Service investigation and was filmed in Dealey Plaza and in the Texas School Book Depository; the motorcade sequence was filmed on November 27, 1963, just five days after the assassination. Even though my knowledge of the events of November 22 is fairly limited (and what I do know is mostly due to osmosis), just growing up here you kind of feel you’ve seen everything connected with the assassination. But I’d never seen this film or the one made a few months later with the production assistance of local TV station KRLD which included much of the same footage. Apparently the original film had not been made public until fairly recently.

It’s very interesting to watch, and the fact that there is no sound makes it appropriately eerie. I have to admit that I was most interested in seeing the footage of downtown streets. And the interior of the Texas School Book Depository beyond just the “sniper’s nest” we always see. (I can now say I’ve sneaked a peek inside the depository’s employee lunchroom.)

So here are the two films. The first one was made by the Secret Service, with the Dealey Plaza reenactment filmed on Nov. 27, 1963. It has no sound. I thought it was interesting, but a lot of people might find it a little dull and repetitive. Below this video is one which uses this footage to lay out the government’s findings, with lots of details and no-nonsense narration by KRLD’s Jim Underwood. (I’m not sure why — or for whom — this educational film was made. It doesn’t seem to have been screened for the public.) The silent film has more footage, but the narrated film is easier to follow. And below that are screenshots from the government’s “reconstruction.”

The 1963 film (silent):

*

And the one from 1964, made with the assistance of KRLD.

*

*

A few screenshots from the government footage (all of these are quite big — click for larger images). The one at the top shows Special Agent John Joe Howlett sitting at the sixth floor window, as if holding a rifle.

Below, Elm St. looking east from Dealey Plaza, with the white Records Building at center right.

reenactment_elm*

The one-car-two-motorcycle motorcade turning from Main onto Houston St. Looking south from … you know where.

reenactment_houston-st*

Houston St. looking  north, with the School Book Depository on the left and a disconcertingly empty space straight ahead.

reenactment_houston-st-north*

A nice artsy shot of the book depository and the old John Deere Building.

reenactment_tsbd-ext*

Camera with “scope” attachment.

reenactment_scope*

Windows, boxes, looking toward the west end of the building from the “nest” end of the sixth floor.

reenactment_tsbd-int*

A trip to the second-floor lunchroom, with its vending machines which are, apparently, important in Lee Harvey Oswald’s alibi. These images show Special Agent Talmadge Bailey walking past the vending machines and sitting at a table.

reenactment_tsbd-bldg-lunchroom1

reenactment_tsbd-bldg-lunchroom2

reenactment_tsbd-bldg-lunchroom3

***

See Dallas Times Herald photographs that were shot while the Dealey Plaza “reenacting” was going on in my previous post, “The First JFK Assassination Reenactment — 1963,” here. (As for the comment that started me off on this, I’m still not sure whether the cameramen in the car are KRLD employees or not.)

All pictures are BIG. Click ’em.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird

to-kill-a-mockingbird_jacket

by Paula Bosse

“…Remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

*

mockingbird_dmn_012900_pauline-periwinklePauline Periwinkle in The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 29, 1900

mockingbird_dmn_112905DMN, Nov. 29, 1905

mockingbird

***

RIP, Harper Lee — and thank you.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: