Sunday, July 17, 2011

Max is Dead !

     On Monday, February 10, 1896 at 2:15pm, Max Eglau's art students waited for his arrival.  When the professor did not appear after a few minutes the superintendent David Greene went to Mr Eglau's studio to look for him.  The elderly artist was lying on the floor dead.  It was a bloody mess.  Messengers were dispatched to nearby Mount Sinai Hospital.  The doctor arrived and declared that Mr Eglau had been dead for at least 45 minutes.  He had been killed sometime between 12:05pm and 1:30pm.  The time of Mr Eglau's arrival at the school was confirmed by Dwight L. Elmendorf, the chemistry teacher whose classroom was located immediately under the painting room.  Mr Elmendorf dismissed his class at 12:00pm and was walking downstairs as Mr Eglau was walking up, they met on the stairs.
     Sergeant Hussey along with detectives Keating and Collins arrived from the E 67th Street police station located only half a block away.  The investigation was under way.  All the outer doors were locked and guarded and the entire building searched for some type of evidence which might lead the investigators to the murderer or murderers.  The search continued until 8:30pm when the day students went home.  The Institute for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes is a residential school for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14 but anyone older than 14 can take classes as a day scholar. 
     Assisting with the investigation were Acting Captain Casey, Detective Sergeant Weller and Detective Sergeant McCarthy.  Coroner Fitzpatrick, who arrived around 7pm joined Captain Casey in the room where the murder took place and assisted with the investigation.  He came out after 9pm and described his findings.
     The room where the murder was committed was on the fourth floor of the building on the 68th Street side.  Here, on the top floor of an extension of the main building, are two large rooms which were used as studios by Mr Eglau.  Each room is lighted from the top by skylights and by windows.  There is only one entrance to these two rooms from the main hall of that floor.  The room on the east side of the extension was used as a studio and a classroom for teaching modeling in clay.  The room to the west was a studio and a classroom for painting.  The first room which was for modelling had about five or six long tables where the pupils worked.  At the other end of this room, beside the door was a box in which the clay was wet and mixed, and beside that was a sink.  Between these and the tables, and opposite the door into the painting room, was a clear space.  It was in this clear space the the artist,  Professor Max Eglau was found dead.  Evidence showed that there was a struggle.


  1. How can I learn more about Max Eglau? You're doing great research on his life.

  2. My great grandfather, William Peter, was Max Eglau's student. A historic marker was just placed in Union City, NJ in his honor. Max Eglau is included on the marker.

  3. Was Max Eglau deaf? Would the Lexington Avenue School for the Deaf have any information about Max Eglau?

    Toni Pappas

  4. Toni, I already contacted the Lexington School for the Deaf and they didn't have any information. Whatever info I found is included. I might have found info about the school from the historical society but that would require a visit in person which I really didn't want to do.

  5. Thank you for all your good work on researching the death of Max Eglau. I might visit the New York Historical Society myself. I am stunned by the beauty of his paintings, and wish I could see more of them. I wonder if we can discover more clues about Eglau's life and murder? Don't you think this is a fascinating story? You have teased out some fascinating details about the life of a talented artist.

  6. I have contacted the New York Historical Society. They suggested looking at Google Books which has many 19th. Century publications. We might find more information about Max Eglau.

  7. Max Eglau was a relative of mine...
    Robert Stork (

    grandparents: H.M. Stork Elizabeth NJ
    Alma Kidd, Virginia
    any info would be appreciated

  8. Robert,
    I have no other information. I was researching his murder because he was the art teacher in the school that my great-grandmother had attended although she was not a student at the time of his murder. Good Luck on your research.