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Albert and Helen Borowitz were both distinguished authors and prolific collectors of materials documenting the history of true crime. Albert Borowitz (1930-2023) began collecting at the age of 12, when he asked his father, prominent book collector David Borowitz, to buy an edition of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories for him. Arising from the shared interest of father and son, the fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle is now one of the many high points of the Borowitz Collection at Kent State University. Albert Borowitz was a graduate of Harvard University with a B.A. in classics, an M.A. in Chinese regional studies, and a J.D. He was the author of numerous books and articles on true crime, including The Bermondsey Horror (1989), a nominee for the Gold Dagger award for true crime given by the Crime Writers' Association. Other true crime books written by Borowitz include Innocence and Arsenic: Studies in Crime and Literature (1977), A Gallery of Sinister Perspectives: Ten Crimes and a Scandal (1982), and The Thurtell-Hunt Murder Case: Dark Mirror to Regency England (1987). He coined the now commonly-used phrase, "psychological kidnapping," in his article "Psychological Kidnapping in Italy: the Case of Aldo Braibanti" in the American Bar Association Journal 57 (Oct. 1971): 990-995. Borowitz also collaborated with his wife, Helen Osterman Borowitz, on book projects, including Pawnshop and Palaces: the Fall and Rise of the Campana Art Museum (1991). He retired as partner of the international law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. Albert Borowitz's personal and professional papers are included in the collection.
Helen Osterman Borowitz (1929-2012), an art historian with literary interests, was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Radcliffe College and of Case Western Reserve University. She was formerly associate curator of the Department of Art History and Education at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Her articles have appeared in Art Journal, Criticism, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, and Modern Fiction Studies, among others. She authored several books, including The Impact of Art on French Literature: from Scudéry to Proust (1985).
Albert Borowitz’s masterwork, Blood & Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature, is an extensive annotated bibliography and includes coverage of many of the works that make up the Borowitz Collection. The Borowitzes began donating their collection to Kent State University starting in 1989, making annual donations over the next several decades. The collection now numbers over 15,000 volumes, complemented by hundreds of archival, manuscript, and ephemeral materials.