|A Ripperologist Article|
|This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 37, October 2001. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article. Subscribe to Ripperologist.|
Stephen P Ryder
The campus of Duke University is arguably one of the most beautiful in all of the Eastern United States. Its majestic Georgian architecture, punctuated with more than a touch of Gothic influence, propels the visitor from the rolling countryside of North Carolina directly into a European setting of centuries past. Duke Chapel towers majestically over much of the campus, casting its immense, jagged shadow across nearby Perkins Library. Inside that building is the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Department of Duke University. The stately and slightly menacing atmosphere seems appropriate to the Ripper-minded researcher - for it is the current resting place of Sir Robert Anderson's surviving correspondence.
The library boasts one of the largest American collections of items relating to the history of Great Britain, as well as the history of British and American Methodist missionaries. These specialties drew bookseller John Gamble, of Emerald Isle Books in Dublin, Ireland, to offer the collection to Duke University library for a reasonable sum of £400 in January of 1985. It was duly acquired by the library and subsequently housed in its climate-controlled archives.
But where had the collection been before 1985?
Although inquiries to Emerald Isle Books (still surviving in Dublin) have remained unanswered, some of the provenance may be inferred. Soon after the death of Sir Robert Anderson in 1918, his son, Arthur Ponsonby Moore-Anderson published Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D.: a Tribute and Memoir1. Three decades later he released a second revised edition, Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D. and Lady Agnes Anderson2. It would be a reasonable assumption that the correspondence was used as a basis for both books, as several letters quoted therein are found in the collection. Assuming this to be the case, we can place the correspondence in Moore-Anderson's hands until at least 1947. Future research may reveal the intermediary possessors of Sir Robert's correspondence between 1947 and 1985 - useful information indeed if, as is usually the case, items of interest had been plucked and pillaged during the interim.
The collection, as it stands today, is held in three separate boxes. According to the catalogue there are 680 items - mostly correspondence, but also a few photographs, sketches and even a lock of their daughter Alice's hair wrapped in paper. Within the correspondence one finds numerous 18th century documents belonging to Sir Robert's ancestors, as well as early love-letters and poetry penned by Robert and addressed to Agnes. There is an extensive correspondence from the 1871-2 period detailing extensive missionary experiences in India. Other parts of his correspondence deal largely with spiritual debates and discussions of the many books he wrote on religious matters. A fair number of letters are addressed to Lady Agnes. Perhaps the most poignant portion of the collection, however, is an enormous folder of some 150 or more items, all letters of sympathy sent to the Andersons upon the disappearance of their son Graham during the first World War. He was lost at sea while sailing with 283 other officers and crew on the Auxiliary Cruiser H.M.S. Clan Macnaughton, around 3 February 1915, just west of the Hebrides of northern Scotland. His body was never recovered3.
Altogether the collection is a fascinating cross-section of the lives of Sir Robert and Lady Agnes, but one notices a disappointing trend, Ripper-wise - a noticeable lack of correspondence having anything to do whatsoever with Sir Robert's career in the Criminal Investigation Department. One wonders if this paucity of police-related documents is an indication that Sir Robert's priorities in life extended far beyond the C.I.D. - or instead that these documents did at one time exist, but were, over time, either kept separately or sold off to collectors.
Of the three dozen or so letters relating to police matters, the majority discuss Fenian activities and investigations. There is one, however, that mentions the Whitechapel murders. Found in the folder marked "Undated correspondence," a letter comprising two sides of a single sheet of blue letterhead reads:
2 CAVENDISH SQUARE
My dear Anderson,
I send you this line to ask you to see & hear the bearer, whose name is unknown to me. She has or thinks she has a knowledge of the author of the Whitechapel murders. The author is supposed to be nearly related to her, & she is in great fear lest any suspicions should attach to her & place her & her family in peril.
I have advised her to place the whole story before you, without giving you any names, so that you may form an opinion as to its being worth while to investigate.
Very sincerely yours,
As this is the only letter within his entire surviving correspondence having anything to do whatsoever with the Whitechapel murders, one might assume that this item held particular significance for Mr. Anderson. As such, it behooves us to examine it in greater detail.
Although there are maddeningly few names and dates within the letter, we can at least discern the source to be the 26th Earl of Crawford, James Ludovic Lindsay (1847-1913). "2 Cavendish Square - W" was indeed his residence during the late 1880s, and the Earl was a known correspondent of Sir Robert's, having had taken a particular interest in the Ripper crimes.
Lindsay is mentioned in Stephen Knight's Final Solution4 as well as in Wilson and Odell's Summing Up and Verdict5 as having penned an article in a December 1888 issue of the Pall Mall Gazette blaming the murders on a "black magician." This story traces back to Richard Whittington-Egan's discovery, in the 1970s, of an unpublished manuscript by journalist Bernard O'Donnell. The manuscript records a conversation between Helena Blavatsky and some friends, sparked by the Pall Mall Gazette article, which they assumed was written by the 26th Earl of Crawford6. In fact, as Melvin Harris points out, the article was written by Roslyn Donston under the pen-name, "One Who Thinks He Knows" on 1 December 18887.
Although he took an interest in many subjects, James Ludovic Lindsay is remembered today largely for his accomplishments as an astronomer and bibliophile.
In the 1890s, upon hearing of a threat to close down the Edinburgh Royal Observatory, Lindsay magnanimously donated his entire collection of astronomical instruments, as well as his priceless library of books on the subject, to found a new Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill in 18968. Along with his father, Lindsay helped build the legendary Bibliotheca Lindesiana, one of the most impressive privately-held collections of books found anywhere in the Victorian world. This library was the source for several dozen major bibliographical works, on subjects varying from English ballads, broadsides and proclamations, to Chinese manuscripts, international philately, Lutheran tracts, and authors of Ancient Greece and Rome. Apart from this, Lindsay was also considered a pioneer in developing new techniques of photography and commercializing the new electrical industry. He was a trustee of the British Museum and a founding member (not surprisingly) in the Bibliographical Society9.
Unfortunately, the identity of the Crawford letter's author is the only riddle we can unravel with relative ease. The letter bears no date and does not name the woman Lindsay was introducing. We can assume, due to the woman's worries that "any suspicions should attach to her," that the incident took place during the height of the Ripper investigation, either during the autumn of 1888 or in the months immediately following.
As for the woman's identity, we can make some general assumptions. The phrase "nearly related" seems to suggest that she was within the extended family of the individual she suspected, perhaps an aunt, niece or cousin. A sister or daughter is possible also, though one thinks that these would not usually be classified as "nearly related" but rather something along the lines of "closely" or "intimately related." One would assume also that the woman introduced to Anderson was of sufficient social standing to merit an audience with someone as elevated as James Ludovic Lindsay. Indeed, her fear that suspicions may "place her & her family in peril" seems to bolster this idea. The family of a criminal usually faces peril not in the form of legal prosecution, but rather in public embarrassment - a family of some standing would be extremely fearful of this type of "peril."
Crawford's statement that the woman's "name is unknown to me" may indicate that he never met the woman, but rather wrote the letter of introduction at the request of an intermediary, who then brought it to her. Conversely, it may be that the woman was brought before Crawford by the intermediary, but she requested to be on terms of anonymity. His statement "I have advised her…" seems to support an in-person meeting. Either way, it is clear that someone acted as a liaison between the unnamed woman and the Earl of Crawford.
Robert Anderson's preferred Ripper suspect, according to his memoirs The Lighter Side of My Official Life (1910), was a Polish Jew10, later named by Donald Swanson as "Kosminski". The natural conclusion, at first, is that this letter may relate to Anderson's suspect, thus explaining his reasoning behind keeping it among his correspondence. It would seem unlikely, however, that anyone "nearly related" to a street vagrant like Kosminski would circulate in the same social spheres as Lindsay.
A more plausible scenario arises when one compares the 1894 scribblings of Sir Melville Macnaghten to the woman's concerns that the murderer was "nearly related to her." In his now famous memoranda, Macnaghten described three Ripper suspects - Kosminski, Michael Ostrog and Montague John Druitt. It is within his description of the latter suspect that a familiar bell seems to toll:
Mr M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family - who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st December - or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer11.
Macnaghten's comments relating to the Druitt family's suspicions have usually been regarded either as hearsay or as private gossip between the supposedly connected Macnaghten and Druitt clans12. Either way, no source has been discovered to substantiate his claims that the Druitt family suspected Montague of being the murderer. Could this "Crawford letter" be the source of Macnaghten's private information?
The Druitt family was certainly of sufficient social stature to circulate among similar spheres as the eminent Earl of Crawford. In the past, conspiracy theorists, eager to secure a link between Druitt and society's upper crust, have found several such tenuous associations. J.K. Stephen's brother, Harry, held offices at No. 3 King's Bench Walk, a few doors down from Montague's rooms at No. 9. Directly across the street from No. 9 there was another Stephen brother, Herbert, working at No. 4 Paper Buildings13. Prince Eddy's tutor, Canon John Neale Dalton, was educated at the Blackheath school at which Druitt was a master14. Evelyn Ruggles-Brise, Private Secretary of Henry Matthews, was a contemporary of Druitt's at Oxford - the two men played against each other in a cricket match during June of 187615. Perhaps most illustrative is the discovery of a guest list for a ball held in Wimborne on 17 December 1888 - the guest of honor was none other than Prince Albert Victor, and among those invited was (by that time, an almost certainly dead) Montague John Druitt16.
Other family links exist to bolster the Druitts' social standing. William Druitt, Montague's father, was a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Anglican Church Governing Body, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons17. Tom Cullen relates a tantalizing bit of oral history surrounding William's house in Wimborne: "Some say that this long, low English country house of grey stone was used by Mr. [William] Druitt as a private mental hospital for aristocratic patients, but I have been unable to verify these rumours. [emphasis added]" 18
Meanwhile, Montague's uncle, Dr. Robert Druitt, was a distinguished author, having published The Surgeon's Vade Mecum (1839) and The Principles and Practice of Modern Surgery (1842), both being standard medical texts of the 19th century. Dr. Druitt was also Medical Officer of Health for the area of St. George's, Hanover Square, and lived and worked within a few hundred yards of the Earl of Crawford in the 1870s19. His son, Robert Jr., would marry Alice May Tupper in 1884, daughter of Daniel Tupper, of Lord Chamberlain's office, St. James Palace20. The younger Robert's sister, Isabella, also married into the aristocracy, becoming in 1880 the second wife of Major Horace-Miles Hobart-Hampden, of the 103rd Regiment, youngest son of the sixth Earl of Buckinghamshire21.
It fact, it is within this section of the Druitt family that we find the most tantalizing link between the Druitt and Lindsay clans. Emily Druitt (b. 1856), daughter of Dr. Robert, sister to Lionel and cousin of Montague22, collaborated on six books between 1884 and 1887, all being facsimile reprints of rare editions of the poetry of William Blake. Leading the editing team for all six of these books was William Muir, who obtained his original copies of the Blake material from his friend, the famous antiquarian book-dealer and bibliographer Bernard Quaritch. Quaritch, in fact, published one, and acted as the agent for at least two of these Blake facsimiles, released between 1886 and 1887, each being limited to only 50 copies23.
Bernard Quaritch (1819-1899) was raised in Northern Saxony, and developed at an early age a love of books and publishing. After working at several bookshops in Nordhausen and Berlin, he set off for London in 1842 and, through sheer persistence, landed employment with Henry Bohn, the premier book dealer in all of London. Within five years he had gained enough experience and raised enough capital to begin his own modest shop in 1847. Within another five years, Quaritch had successfully networked himself among many of the leading bookdealers of Europe. His already well-established reputation brought him to the attention of Lord Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford, who wrote to him in 1852 asking for nine foreign language books he wished to acquire for the Bibliotheca Lindesiana. The ease with which Quaritch filled the Earl's order endeared him to Lindsay, and by 1855 Quaritch had become Lindsay's main source for any and all books he wished to acquire. He had also become a devoted friend of the Lindsay family24.
James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford, grew up with Quaritch as a regular fixture at their estate. At the early age of eleven, the bookdealer contributed an impressive assortment of postage stamps to Ludovic's burgeoning collection (hence beginning his lifelong interest in philology). James Ludovic continued the friendship, as had his father, and he maintained a life-long correspondence with Quaritch, who remained the major source of rare books for the Bibliotheca Lindesiana until his death in 189925.
Bernard Quaritch Ltd. still exists in London to this day as a small-scale publisher and dealer of antiquarian and rare books. The company's web site offers a short biography of its founder, noting his most "impressive clientele." The names of Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (Napoleon's brother), Gladstone, Disraeli and Fitzgerald are listed, but the site notes Lord Crawford "above all." 26 Indeed, Quaritch himself described the Lindsays in 1894 as "the family to which I am greatly indebted for the success in my commercial career." 27
Now the importance of the Druitt-Quaritch connection can truly be appreciated. Emily Druitt, Montague's cousin, worked in collaboration with William Muir and Bernard Quaritch on at least three small-scale facsimile poetry volumes between 1886 and 1887. William Muir was known to be a friend of Quaritch, who supplied the rare original material for the Blake reproductions, and considering the small scale of the publication it is not unreasonable to assume that Emily Druitt met and even possibly developed a relationship with the famous bookdealer during these collaborations. Quaritch, meanwhile, was the chief supplier of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, as well as a life-long friend of both the 25th and 26th Earls of Crawford.
Here we have a female Druitt of significant social standing, with only Bernard Quaritch separating her from the 26th Earl of Crawford. A possible scenario explaining the Crawford letter now presents itself. Emily Druitt develops a friendship with Quaritch during their collaborations on the Blake volumes between 1886 and 1887. Late next year, haunted by thoughts that her cousin Montague may be involved in the Whitechapel murders, Emily mentions her suspicions to Quaritch. The bookdealer then relays the story to his friend, James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford. He, in turn, is sufficiently interested in Quaritch's account to offer to introduce the woman, whose name, he admits, "is unknown to me," to his friend, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Robert Anderson. Emily Druitt takes up the offer and meets with Anderson, presenting him with Crawford's letter of introduction and her suspicions against cousin Montague. The investigation into Druitt begins soon after, later sparking Macnaghten to comment on him in his 1894 memoranda - confusing Montague's profession as a barrister perhaps with the profession of Emily's father and brother, who were both doctors.
Although at this point there is not proof enough to state with absolute certainty that the "Crawford letter" refers to a relative of Montague John Druitt, there are several points of coincidence that seem to identify Emily Druitt as the bearer. Regardless, we still must ask why Anderson kept this one letter, the only one having anything to do with the Whitechapel murders, in his personal correspondence. Saved between love-letters, family photographs and even a lock of his daughter's hair, it seems a reasonable assumption that this letter was of some importance to Sir Robert28. But why? If the letter does relate to Druitt, we know Anderson's later remarks showed no support for him as a suspect. Perhaps he saved it as a means of refuting Macnaghten's memoranda - as proof that he was the first to investigate the alleged "family suspicions" and that he found no compelling evidence to link Druitt with the Whitechapel murders. Or perhaps Anderson was a Druittist before he was a Kosminski supporter.
Unfortunately, as with most discoveries, the "Crawford letter" creates more questions than it answers. One would hope that future research in the U.K. will find more evidence to either cement or destroy the link between Crawford, Quaritch and Emily Druitt. The correspondence of the 26th Earl of Crawford currently resides at the National Library of Scotland, including a prodigious number of letters from Quaritch, and may provide some interesting avenues of research. On the other hand, the firm of Bernard Quaritch Ltd. still holds the correspondence of its founder in its own noteworthy reference library in London29. Due to geographical constraints, both of these resources were inaccessible to me, but may indeed provide information useful to this line of inquiry.
It would indeed be a thrilling idea to validate Tom Cullen's 1965 premonition that "perhaps [the truth] lies buried in some musty attic among letters that have long since been forgotten, photographs that have faded, the lock of hair that is mouldy with age."30 We have already found within the Anderson collection the forgotten letters, faded photographs and even the lock of hair… an optimistic mind might wonder if "the truth" may, in fact, be buried within the cryptic lines of the Crawford letter.
I would like to thank the helpful staff of the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library of Duke University, as well as Judith Stock, Stewart Evans, Tom Kelly and Peter Birchwood for their help in researching and compiling this article.
Some of the photographs found in the Anderson collection have been used to illustrate this article.
1 Arthur Ponsonby Moore-Anderson. Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D.: a Tribute and Memoir. London: Morgan & Scott, 1919.
2 Arthur Ponsonby Moore-Anderson. Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., LL.D. and Lady Agnes Anderson. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1947.
3 Ibid., pp. 114-15.
4 Knight, Stephen. Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. Granada, 1981. p. 41.
5 Wilson, Colin, & Robin Odell.
Jack the Ripper: Summing Up and Verdict. Corgi, 1988. pp. 267-8. 6 Ibid.
7 Harris, Melvin. The True Face of Jack the Ripper. Michael O'Mara, 1994. p. 117. Other writers still contend that Crawford was indeed the author of the article, most recently L. Perry Curtis in Jack the Ripper and the London Press.
8 Astronomical Society of Edinburgh, The. A Guide to Edinburgh's Popular Observatory. www.roe.ac.uk/asewww/publications/booklet/
9 Barker, Nicholas. Bibliotheca Lindesiana: The Lives and Collections of Alexander William, 25th Earl of Crawford and 8th Earl of Balcarres, and James Ludovic, 26th Earl of Crawford and 9th Earl of Balcarres. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1978. pp. xiv, 394.
10 Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B. The Lighter Side of My Official Life. Hodder & Stoughton, 1910. pp. 137-38. From the Scotland Yard version of the document, italics added. The version owned by Lady Aberconway does not differ markedly. It reads: "From private information I have little doubt but that his own family suspected this man of being the Whitechapel murderer; it was alleged that he was sexually insane."
11 The authors of The Jack the Ripper A-Z (1996, p. 133) note a distant connection between the two families: "Macnaghten's father, the last chairman of the East India Company, appointed Montague's aunt's brother to the board in 1855."
12 Knight, Final Solution. p. 139.
13 Ibid. p. 138.
14 Howells, Martin and Keith Skinner. The Ripper Legacy: The Life and Death of Jack the Ripper. Sphere, 1988. p. 99.
15 Ibid p. 173-4.
16 Cullen, Tom. The Crimes and Times of Jack the Ripper. Fontana, 1973. p. 224.
17 Ibid. p. 225.
18 Private correspondence. Peter Birchwood to the author, 19 June 2001.
19 Mayo, Charles Herbert. A Genealogical Account of the Mayo & Elton Families of Wilts and Herefordshire and Some Other Adjoining Counties, Together with Numerous Biographical Sketches. London: Chiswick Press, 1908. 2nd edition. pp. 447-49.
22 Bernard Quaritch published Milton, a Poem in Two Books (1886), and is listed as the "sole agent" for There is no Natural Religion (1886) and America a Prophecy (1887). All three were edited by William Muir and Emily J. Druitt.
23 Barker. Bibliotheca Lindesiana. pp. 165-167, 271. Bernard Quaritch would later write the obituary for Lord Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford, upon his death in December 1880. It was published in the Athenaeum.
24 Ibid, pp. 192, 339.
25 Bernard Quaritch Ltd. "Our Founder." www.quaritch.com/founder.htm
26 Barker. Bibliotheca Lindesiana. p 322. Letter from Quaritch to the 27th Earl of Crawford, Lord Balcarres, dated 17 January 1894.
28 As a whole, it seems as though Anderson was highly selective in the correspondence he saved, since there were only a handful of letters pertaining to his thirteen years as Assistant Commissioner of the C.I.D. As stated earlier, however, this may be the result of several decades of pillaging, by collectors and researchers, of highly sought after police-related documents.
29 Barker. Bibliotheca Lindesiana. pp. xvi-xvii.
30 Cullen, Tom A. When London Walked in Terror. Houghton Mifflin, 1965. p. 273.