Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Fitzgeralds are Free

     On February 18, 1896, the New York Tribune reported that the Fitzgerald boys are free due to insufficient evidence.

     The following day, the same newspaper stated 'Eglau Inquest Postponed'.  Although the Fitzgerald boys have been twice discharged for being arrested in the murder of Max Eglau, the police detectives apparently have not given up hope of being able to connect them with the murder.  They asked for a delay in the coroner's inquest to enable them to work up more clues.
     A chemist has been at work analyzing the scrapings from the finger nails of the Fitzgerald boys and from the soles of their shoes.  The detectives hoped to find traces of blood stains in the scrapings.  The fireman in the school has been taken into the presence of William Fitzgerald, in order to identify him as the boy who was seen going into the cellar after the murder.

I found the newspaper articles for all my posts about Max Eglau from the Library Of Congress >;words=Max+Eglau?date1=1896&rows=20&searchType=basic&state=New+York&date2=1896&proxtext=Max+Eglau&y=9&x=14&dateFilterType=yearRange&index=1

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

R.I.P. Mr Eglau

     The New York Tribune newspaper dated February 15, 1896 states that 'The funeral of Max Eglau, who was murdered in the deaf and Dumb Institute, took place at his home in St Mark's Place'.
     Among the visitors to the Eglau home were several public school principals in whose schools Professor Eglau had been engaged.  They all spoke of him as a kind hearted old man, against whom no one could say an unkind word.
     Max Eglau was born 1825 in Baden, Germany and was survived by his wife, a daughter and a son-in-law, John B Zink.

                                                                     Rest In Peace

Library of Congress historical newspapers

Monday, July 25, 2011

Max's Money

So, what was the motive?  was it money?

     According to the NY newspaper, the Sun, dated Tuesday, February 11, 1896, Max Eglau's watch and chain and other valuables were found undisturbed.  He also had in his pockets three bank books which all showed considerable deposits.  There was one book for the Metropolitan Savings Bank, another for the Bank for Savings and the third for the German Savings Bank.
     Whether the $100. in bank notes which Mr Eglau was known to have had when he left home was stolen or if he actually deposited it on his way to the institution is a question which has yet to be answered.  john B. Zink, Max Eglau's son-in-law, was the last family member to see him alive.  Mr Zink said that his father-in-law had shown him $100. which he got by cashing his check for last month's work at Cooper union.  He left at 11:00am en route to the German Savings Bank to deposit the money.
     The following day, February 12, 1896, the newspaper, the Sun, stated that the statement of police Captain Casey that Eglau had no money is a direct contradiction of the statement made by his son-in-law.  The professor's friends told the reporter that it was his habit to carry a large roll of bills with him which he displayed liberally.  "If he bought anything, no matter how small, when he put his hand in his pocket to get the money he would always pull out a roll, and seemed to be proud of it.  He was careless of it, too".  About three weeks ago, Mr Eglau left an $80. roll in a closet at the institution.  It was found by one of the inmates and he got it back.  Mr Zink confirmed this story.
     On February 14, 1896, the newspaper, New York Tribune stated that the money which Max Eglau had when he was murdered was found at the bottom of the dumbwaiter shaft in the "Deaf and Dumb Institute".
     If money was not the motive, then what was?

Historic Newspapers at Library of Congress:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Suspects, More Clues

     On the afternoon of February 12, 1896, two more students from the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes were arrested "on suspicion of being implicated in the murder" of art teacher, Max Eglau.  The new prisoners were William Fitzgerald, aged 20 and his younger brother James, 18 years old.  The lived with their parents at 37 W 92nd St and attended the institution as day scholars.
     In the coal bin of the blacksmith's shop located on the first floor of the school, the police found a handkerchief, a pair of cuffs with spots of blood and a pistol.  There was the appearance that an effort had been made to conceal the evidence.  The police found it anyway after digging through the coals and had identified it as property belonging to William Fitzgerald.  The cuffs had been shown to William's mother who said that they looked like cuffs her son had worn.  William claimed to have lost the cuffs about two years ago yet a laundry mark on the inside of the cuffs identified the laundryman and that laundry had been in existence only three or four months.  The pistol was identified as William's by another boy in school who said that he saw William have a pistol just like the one the police found.  William denied owning a pistol.
     These two new suspects had nothing to do with the three who were already arrested nor did it clear away the suspicion.  The pupils who were taken into custody on the day of the murder were still being held.  Captain Casey did not allow the boys to speak to anyone on the outside.
     Edward J. Wolfe, Peter's father, found out about his son's arrest from the newspaper.  Mr Wolfe told Captain Casey that Peter was a day pupil who studied hard, liked the school and the teacher.  He also said that his son was the kindest and most loving child who wouldn't hurt a fly.  He was sure that his boy wasn't involved in the murder.
     Mr Wolfe had barely left the police station when Adolph Pflander's brother Charles came in.  He had heard about the arrest from a fireman at their neighborhood firehouse.  He was very upset that his parents were not notified.
     Edward Eck's mother arrived soon after Charles left.  She spoke to the detectives working the case and explained that her son was home with her until 3:00pm on Monday, February 10th and not at the institution at the time of the murder.  The police questioned Mrs Eck thoroughly and seemed satisfied with her story.  They told her that she needn't be afraid.  Mrs Eck left but wondered why her boy was still locked up and why she couldn't see him.
     The police had apparently given up any thoughts that the murderer could be someone outside the school.  They had not looked for anybody else and confined their work to the students.

Library of Congress historical newspapers:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Suspicious Scholars

We have the 'What'  -- Max Eglau's murder
We have the 'Where'  -- art studio on 4th floor of school
We have the 'When'  --  afternoon of February 10, 1896
We need the 'Who', 'Why', and 'How' to solve the case.

     Superintendent David Greene found professor Max Eglau lying dead on the floor of his art studio.  He immediately sent for the doctor and police.  The investigators started that afternoon and continued into the night with no one permitted to enter or exit the building except for police or any person belonging there.  Coroner Fitzpatrick, who had arrived at 7:00pm, was in the studio where the murder occurred, assisting Captain Casey until 9:00pm.  All the day scholars were permitted to return to their homes at 8:30pm, except for three of the older pupils who were placed under arrest and locked up in the East 67th Street police station under suspicion that they, or at least two of them, may have been the murderers.
      The suspects were Peter Wolfe, aged 18, a blacksmith who resided at 414 E 66th St; Adolph Pflander, aged 16, also a blacksmith who resided at 7 Extra Pl; and Edward Eck, aged 18, a vendor who resided at 154 W 25th St.  The suspicion against Peter Wolfe and Adolph Pflander were aroused from the fact that they worked for Mr Eglau in the studio.  Adolph received 50 cents a month to clean paintbrushes but was replaced by Peter when he became ill.  Adolph returned to work and he exchanged words with Mr Eglau the Saturday before the murder.  The police would not say how Edward Eck was connected with the murder or why they suspected him.
     When the police examined the studios after the murder they found in the painting room, near an easel, where Mr Eglau had been at work on a painting, part of a bone cuff button.  In Peter Wolfe's pocket they found the other part of the same button.  Nothing in the painting room had been disturbed.  There were only a few drops of blood in the painting room and those were near the door leading into the room.  Mr Eglau was found lying on his back in front of the door leading to the painting room.  On the floor beside him lay a shovel (the kind used for mixing clay).  in the modelling room a heavy short stepladder was found overthrown and among the tables was another blood smeared weapon.  This was a piece of hard wood about 18 inches long, square on one end and rounded at the other and used as a pestle in working with clay.  Right beside the door leading into the painting room in the wooden wainscoting was found a deep fresh cut and two dents beside the door, one in the wood of the door frame and one in the plaster beside it.  Coroner Fitzpatrick believes the attack started here.  The first blow struck with the shovel, missed its intended victim and cut into the wainscoting.  Then blow after blow until Mr Eglau was down and that last fatal blow kept him down.  There was blood oozing from the cuts in his head and neck, which seem to have been made by the sharp edges of the shovel, and his nose seem to have been crushed by a blow from the wooden pestle.  The wounds which seem to have been made by the shovel consisted of a long deep cut in the left side of the neck, another smaller cut just above this one, and a long deep cut which reached to the bone, almost squarely across the back of his head.  In one place on the floor was a large blood mark.  On one side of this mark was the print of a bloody right hand, and on the other side a similar print of a left hand.  Mr Eglau's thumb and another finger on the right hand were broken.
     Coroner Fitzpatrick didn't think any of the regular 'inmates' (students who 'live' at the school) had anything to do with the murder.  He said that the front door of the Institution was usually left open so anyone could walk in and through the building.  He also said that there was a fire escape to the yard opening from one of the windows in the painting room.  Coroner Fitzpatrick believed that whoever committed this murder was concealed in one of the rooms when Mr Eglau arrived and attacked him almost immediately.  The coroner also said that the murderer either entered the room from the fire escape or left that way because the window was closed but not fastened.
     It had been ascertained that all three boys under arrest were in their places at the dinner table.  The coroner suggested to Captain Casey that he ascertain whether they could have had time to have gone to Mr Eglau's room and committed the murder between the times when they left their different classes and when they appeared in the dining room.
     Coroner Fitzpatrick believed that the guilty person (or persons)was someone who had been an inmate of the school and knew their way around the building.

-these facts taken from the New York City newspaper, The Sun.;words=Max+Eglau?date1=1896&rows=20&searchType=basic&state=New+York&date2=1896&proxtext=max+eglau&y=16&x=18&dateFilterType=yearRange&index=5

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.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Investigating the Murder

     I have not forgotten my blog.  I am sifting through articles from 1896 and trying to piece it all together to find out Who Done It? and Why?  I am currently writing the draft copy and hope to post it to this blog tomorrow.

Library of Congress articles regarding the murder...  >

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Canvas for Murder

     In a previous post entitled 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil', I had mentioned a murder taking place in the school that my great-grandmother attended.
     While searching the internet for any information about Josie's school, I came across an article about an artist named Max Eglau who was murdered at the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf-Mutes.  It was actually just a snippet of an article from the New York Times.  I tried to view the full article but it wouldn't come up; maybe it was too old?  I was curious to know when this horrible event occurred.  Was my great-grandmother in the school when it happened?  I needed to know more.  I searched and searched the internet for any information about Max Eglau.  I mostly found art galleries featuring his work but I did find a few more 'snippets' of articles regarding the murder.  I was a bit frustrated but determined to learn who Max was.
     I finally located news about the murder from historic newspapers at the Library of Congress and will write about this tragedy over the next few days.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th

                 HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY !

View Image
Thomas Jefferson (right), Benjamin Franklin (left), and John Adams (center) meet at Jefferson's lodgings, on the corner of Seventh and High (Market) streets in Philadelphia, to review a draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Remembering MaMa

          ♥ Today is 29 years in Heaven for my maternal grandmother, Eleanor ♥ 

      MaMa, you are missed so much but I know that you are with the other Angels watching over me.