I first became aware of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen’s existence around 1988, when I found Dr. Crippen’s Library: An Invention by Emlyn Williams in a small bookstore on Market Square Mall uptown.
I already knew about Emlyn Williams because he had given one man performances in 1976 at the University of Tennessee here in Knoxville. He gave performances as Charles Dickens and as Dylan Thomas Growing Up.
Emlyn Williams was an actor and a playwright. He was the one who wrote the play Night Must Fall. It was first performed in 1935. In the play the main character carried a hat box around with him that had the head of a woman that he had murdered in it. Emlyn Williams was strongly affected by hearing people in his family talk about the Crippen Murder Trial which had taken place from October 18-22 of 1910. Emlyn Williams himself was born on November 26, 1905. He was almost 5 years old when Dr. Crippen was being tried for murder.
After reading Emlyn Williams’ novel about Dr. Crippen, I decided to find actual historical accounts about him. One article that I found on the Internet was originally published in 2007. The 2007 version is the one that I printed out. But it can be found online now at the following location. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~crippen/Dr_H_H_Crippen.htm
The webpage above was hosted by Rootsweb.com. On the last page it says to “send comments, enquiries, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This webpage has the following interesting black and white photos or photocopies on it: photo of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen as a young man, a copy of the telegram that was sent by the captain of the ship Montrose to say that he had Dr. Crippen and Ethel Le Neve on board his ship, a photo of Crippen and Ethel Le Neve in court (with Ethel Le Neve heavily hatted and veiled to cover her boy’s length shortened hair), a photo of 30 Hilldrop Crescent in London – where the murder allegedly took place, a not very clear photo of the basement of 30 Hilldrop Crescent, 2 large photos (one each of Cora Crippen and Ethel Le Neve), and a police poster from Stockholm, Sweden with Crippen’s and Le Neve’s photos on it.
Some documents list the building as being at 30 Hilldrop Crescent. Other documents list it as being at 29 Hilldrop Crescent.
Also, around 1988 or so, I contacted the Interlibrary Loan office of the uptown library and requested this book. See below for details.
THE TRIAL OF HAWLEY HARVEY CRIPPEN. Notable Trials Series. [Hardcover]
It turns out now that Amazon has hardcover editions of this book. I might eventually buy a copy of it!!!
The Trial of Hawley Harvey Crippen also has several good photographs in it. There are also copies of statements that Dr. Crippen made that were published in the newspapers.
Possibly in a future post I will investigate alternate theories about what happened to Cora Crippen. My personal feeling is that Dr. Crippen accidentally poisoned her with hyosine and then dissected her. Since she was so hungry for publicity in connection with her “singing” and “acting” (in quotes because she was not good at either of those things), I do not think she would have missed the chance to let people know she was alive – if she had left Crippen. She would have thrived on all the attention from photographers and newspaper reporters!!