Post Number: 1489
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 9:59 am: || |
Can some one please answer a question for me?
I have noticed in pictures of many of the letters (going through Letters from hell)peculiar semi circular indentations into the edges of the letters. I am posting an example below to show what I mean. A surprisingly large numners of the communicatiosn appear to have this.
Is this some kind of Victorian stationery item (some kind of index card?) that a surprising number of the letter writers appear to got hold of, or is it some kind of filing aid that the police would have added to the letters after they were received?
Any help gratefully received
Post Number: 1491
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 10:24 am: || |
Re. the above-
A quick count of the illustrations in Letters from Hell show 15 letters which have these marks
Jennifer D. Pegg
Post Number: 1232
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 10:26 am: || |
not that I know but if it were a filing aid added by the police i would expect it to be on all the letters,
Post Number: 1492
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 10:43 am: || |
I'd have thought so too
Here is a list from Letters from Hell which have these marks:
1) "Whore Killer" letter of 6 October (p55)
2) letter of 4 October to Superintendent, Scotland Yard (p85)
3) Letter of 5 October signed Leather Apron (p86)
4) Letter of 6 October with threats to unknown person (p88)
5) Bryant and May letter of 5 October (pp90-91)
6) Letter of 9 October from Berner street (p 93)
7) Bloodhounds letter of 10 October (p94)
8) Mourning envelope letter of 18 October (p98)
9) Letter of October from Philadelphia (p102)
10) Letter of 9 November mentioning Blackheath (p113)
11) Letter of 10 November (p114)
12) Letter of 12 November - another job (p118)
13) Letter of 15 Novmeber - Packer's story (p122)
14) letter of 21 November to Mr Mackean (p128-129)
15) Telegram of 21 November (p132)
16) Message found in bottle 2 September 1889 (p138)
(Message edited by Chris on November 05, 2004)
Jennifer D. Pegg
Post Number: 1233
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 11:30 am: || |
you have made me curious I will have to go look in the book now.
of course we all know the answer is that Walter wrote them all!
Post Number: 295
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 11:38 am: || |
Hard to tell from the picture you appended, but my guess is that the semi-circles are a means to afix the letter to a sheet of paper. Something like those "photo corners" you find in 1930s photo albums.
Glenn L Andersson
Post Number: 2185
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 12:03 pm: || |
I think you could be right; I have seen something similar to this on other occasions, concerning old collected letters.
Still, it's an interesting observation by Chris, but unfortunately I suspect that the truth plainly may be as simple as that.
All the best
Glenn L Andersson, Sweden
"If you don't understand any of my sayings, come to me in private and I shall take you in my German mouth. Alles klar?"
Herr Wolf Lipp, The League of Gentlemen
Post Number: 95
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 12:23 pm: || |
Could it possibly be some kind of backing to allow better handling of the flimsiest or most dilapidated letters? I'm trying to figure out a reason that some , but not all, would have it.
Interesting observation, Chris.
"The past isn't over. It isn't even past."
Post Number: 1493
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 12:48 pm: || |
Thanks for the comments, folks
Looking more closely, the letter on p98 (for those of you who have Letters from Hell) the semi circle on the bottom edge of the letters cuts off part of the valedictory "Yours truly" so these must have been done after the letters were received
Post Number: 1465
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:05 pm: || |
I distinctly remember these particular shaped cards as forming the basis for the old box filing sysytems as used from an early time right up to the 1980's - for instance in the Yorkshire Ripper hunt such a box filing system was used.
I also remember that there was a peculiar distinction between cards indented thus and then cards which had a 'roving' indent at top and bottom that ran right to left, for ease of access and filing.
The idea was that the thumb or finger could pull out the filed paper via the indent without disturbing the 'box'.
The fact that the letters are glued to the indented files is unusual and probably indicates that it was done at a time when the box files were broken up.
Just a thought is perhaps letters attached to such indented files were not considered important or genuine and were in fact thrown away and then rescued by someone.
'Roving' indents were more serious files than following indents... if I remember correctly.
Post Number: 1466
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:13 pm: || |
I just had another look at your illustration of one of the letters, and it is indeed a 'roving' indent rather than a 'following', which does mean that they are without a doubt filing cards.
As you can see the filing cards could be used in any position, and usually there was a loose method of attachment.
Hope that helps.
Post Number: 1494
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 1:20 pm: || |
many thanks for the helpful info
It does seem a bit odd they would bother mounting these particular ones on to index cards if they throught them unimportant - surely they would have just binned them.
Logically the ones to be mounted up for indexing would be the ones they intended keeping.
Post Number: 1469
|Posted on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 4:30 pm: || |
Logical I never was, Chris.
Originally the files would never have been mounted, this would nullify the entire mechanical design which was to prevent file cards being removed with files, as this would have endangered the entire filing process.
Imagine if you like a modern air filter from a car - with all its tiny ridges - and it was into these ridges that the file cards were jammed thus enabling the complete file system to be rotated through its entirety... but if a card was to be removed then the entire system would fail. Therefore I can only speculate that as this particular box file was taken apart, some interested observer took the precaution of actually sticking the files to the file folder containing them. I suspect if you could turn the file folder over you would indeed see a reference mark indicating their place in the file.
Personally I would consider files treated as such as less important than files free from their file holders.
Almost 'throw aways' if you like.
Just my personal opinion though.
|Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 4:44 am: || |
I found this sketch by Walter Sickert, just a coincidence, but why do this to a work of art?
Note the man standing behind "Poveretta".
Post Number: 374
|Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 6:35 am: || |
I looked at the image and... To put it bluntly, what on earth are you talking about? Why do WHAT to a work of art? WHAT man standing behind Poveretta? Did you give us the wrong link, or are you imagining things that aren't there again because of your strange obsession with finding secret meanings in Sickert's art?
And why did you post it to this thread? It has nothing to do with what the posters here are talking about.
Dan Norder, editor, Ripper Notes
|Posted on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 7:12 am: || |
I think Tommy posted to this thread because the sketch he links to has similar indentations around the edge that Chris was describing on the letters, although the ones on Sickerts sketch look more like tears, maybe from bad framing?
I can't see the man standing behind the model though Tommy, just a lot of shading!!
Post Number: 376
|Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 10:13 pm: || |
Ohh. Hrm. You may be right that Tommy thought that. Expecting Sickert to purposefully mangle the edges of a sketch so that they could match the appearance of letters as they were filed away by the police after the fact and not how they actually look sounds like the kind of thing Tommy tries to convince us of here.
Dan Norder, editor, Ripper Notes