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Borowitz: Collection Descriptions & Finding Aids

Special Collections and Archives

Borowitz: Collection Descriptions & Finding Aids

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Special Collections and Archives

Borowitz: Collection Descriptions & Finding Aids

You are here

Borowitz Collection Descriptions & Finding Aids

The Borowitz Collection includes an extensive book collection complemented by archival, manuscript, ephemeral, and artifact-based collections. To view more detailed information and descriptive finding aids for these collections, please see the listings below. Some materials in the collection have not yet been cataloged. Please contact Special Collections & Archives for assistance in locating materials in the Borowitz Collection.


The Borowitz Collection includes nearly 15,000 books, and while the main subject focus of this book collection is crime history and fact-based crime literature (or true crime literature), the collection has other special subject emphases as well. Listed here are some of the major subjects represented with links to a list of the titles for each subject. The books are cataloged in the Kent State University University Libraries' catalog, KentLINK. Researchers are encouraged to search for topics of interest in KentLINK (at in addition to following the links below for selected highlights of the Borowitz book holdings.

Books by Albert Borowitz: Books and other publications written by Albert Borowitz who has written extensively on topics in true crime literature.

Books by Helen Osterman Borowitz: Books and other publications by Helen Osterman Borowitz who has written on French art and literature, true crime, and other topics.

Humor Collection: A smaller, but fine collection of literary humor.

Jack the Ripper: The Borowitz Collection of true crime literature includes a large collection of items relating to the Whitechapel murders. This book collection is complemented by a collection of Ripper ephemera and other non-book materials.

Arthur Machen Collection: The Borowitz Collection includes a group of books by and about British author Arthur Machen in addition to a collection of correspondence between Machen and book collector Montgomery Evans.

Mystery and Detective Fiction: An extensive collection of works of mystery and detective fiction.

True Crime: This category of books in the Borowitz Collection includes crime histories, case studies, and works of historical fiction based on actual criminal cases.

Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle: The Borowitz Collection includes an excellent collection of books by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Wild West Collection: Books on western outlaws and lawmen, notably Billy the Kid, Jesse James, the Dalton Gang, and Wyatt Earp.

Manuscripts, Ephemera, Archives, and Artifacts

The Borowitz Collection includes a number of archives, manuscripts, ephemera, and artifact collections dealing with true crime, crime in literature, and crime themes. These items are often closely related to subject areas represented in the book collections. Below are links to finding aids for non-book holdings in the Borowitz Collection. Collections listed below marked with the "ONLINE" button have some or all of their content available in digitized format on our digital archive. Please note that there are extensive connections between the book holdings and archival holdings. Both portions of the collection should be searched in order to discover materials on a given case or topic.

American Crime Pamphlet Collection, 1798-1978: Pamphlets (usually 32 or fewer pages in length and bound in paper wrappers) about murders, executions, scandals, outlaws, etc. The majority of the pamphlets in this collection were published in the 19th century.

Joseph Bell collection, 1899-1953: The collection includes three letters from Joseph Bell to his longtime friend, the Rev. Hugh Black. The collection also includes correspondence between Black's son, Robert K. Black, and Vincent Starrett. Robert K. Black relates anecdotes that his father told about Joseph Bell and describes (and transcribes) five Bell letters that Black's father found among his papers.

Albert Borowitz papers, 1944-2010: The Albert Borowitz papers include correspondence, manuscripts, research, newspaper clippings and reviews, much of it relating to the true-crime books and articles written by Albert Borowitz from the late 1970s through the present.

Helen Osterman Borowitz publications, 1970-1987: This collection contains articles, essays, and other publications written by Helen Osterman Borowitz.

Borowitz Crime Manuscripts, 1663-2005: This collection includes a variety of manuscript materials relating to true crime and to crime, detective, and mystery writing.

Borowitz Crime Photographs, 1870-1986: This collection contains over 500 photographs related to various criminal cases. Most are 20th-century press photos, but some 19th-century examples are also included.

Borowitz Crime Subject Files, 1940-2015: This collection contains subject files on various prominent murder cases and other crimes. Files, most of which date from the 1990s, contain articles, clippings, essays, and other secondary sources.

Borowitz Sheet Music collection, ca. 1850-1985: This collection of nearly 7000 pieces of sheet music contains a wide variety of music from the mid-19th century to contemporary music of the mid-1980s. Some notable large holdings include composers Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Harry Warren and performers and productions such as Al Jolson and the Ziegfeld Follies.

British Crime Pamphlet Collection, 1700-1990: A collection of crime pamphlets published in the United Kingdom.

British Criminal Broadsides collection, circa 1680s-1882: In the early nineteenth century, much of the news of England's murders and executions was brought to the masses through penny and half-penny broadsides. The execution broadsides, which comprise most of this collection, usually describe the crime, trial, and hanging, and often provide verses emphasizing the sorrow and remorse of the convicted killer.


Crime-related Artifacts, circa 1820-2000: A collection of artifacts (sculptures, objects, memorabilia, and textiles) related to true crime and its impact on the arts and literature. Many of the artifacts in this collection are related to cases covered in the Borowitz book and archival collections.

Crime-related Board and Card Games, 1958-1990: Contains crime-themed board games.

Crime-related Book Dealer Catalogs, 1982-2008: A small collection of book dealer catalogs and trade publications featuring crime literature and related materials.

Crime-related Drama collection, 1935-2000: This collection consists of scripts based on factual criminal events, as well as crime-themed drama. See also the Stage Thrillers collection listed below.

Crime-related Film Stills and Lobby Cards, 1958-1982: This collection consists of film stills (photographs) and lobby card posters from crime-related movies.

Crime-related Films, 1916-2006: A small collection of selected films related to materials in the Borowitz Crime Collection.

Crime-related Graphics collection, 1800-1999: This collection consists of graphic materials related to true crime and crime themes in literature and the arts. Included are posters, prints, engravings, drawings, cartoons, and other printed items.

Crime-related LPs, 1956-1986: A small collection of LP audio recordings, with some connection to true crime or crime themes.

Crime-related Playbills and Programs, 1875-2008: This collection consists of playbills from crime-related plays, musicals, operas, that related to true crime events or have crime themes.

Crime-related Postcards, 1902-2001; undated: This collection contains a selection of postcards related to crime.


Crime-related Sheet Music, 1878-1985: This collection includes popular sheet music related to true crime incidents and crime-related themes and is a sub-set of the more extensive Borowitz Sheet Music collection described above in this listing.

Criminal Broadsides of America collection, 1820-1997: This collection contains criminal broadsides of the United States dating from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.


Detective and True Crime Magazines, 1930-1994: A small collection of detective and true crime magazines, most of which date from 1939-1955. Included are many issues of Official Detective Stories and True Detective.

Richard Austin Freeman correspondence, 1920-1941: The collection includes letters to Vincent Starrett discussing Freeman's work, publications, and his hope to become better known in America. There is also a letter to P.M. Stone, describing his writing, and a letter from Vincent Starrett to Dave Borowitz presenting Freeman's autograph letters.

Charles George Hodgson collection, 1812-1868: This collection includes various correspondence and papers both written and received by Charles George Hodgson who served as Superintendant of the London City Police Force. The collection includes both personal letters and several dealing with professional matters and police business. Letters pertaining to the forgery through photography case of Pietro Rinaldi v. the Queen are also present.

Jack the Ripper collection, 1888-2006: This collection contains ephemeral material related to Jack the Ripper and other "Ripper"-style murderers. Included are films, manuscripts, artifacts, penny dreadfuls, and other ephemeral materials. See also the extensive Jack the Ripper book collection linked in the above Book Collection listing.

Lindbergh Kidnapping Case Photographs, 1932: A collection of press photographs related to the Lindbergh Case.

Lindbergh Kidnapping collection, 1927-1992: A collection of ephemera, including newspaper clippings, press photos, and other material related to the Lindbergh kidnapping case.

Newspaper Articles Relating to Criminal Cases, 1823-1921: This collection contains newspaper articles and issue relating to various murder cases. Most of the articles are photocopies and are contemporaneous to the time of murders and trials.

Prison Postcards, 1900-1980s: This collection consists of postcards of prisons from the United States and a handful of other countries.


Sherlock Holmes Ephemera collection, 1900-1999: This collection contains a variety of ephemeral items related to the Sherlock Holmes stories and character created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Included are cigarette cards, postcards, greeting cards, and other collectibles.

Stage Thrillers collection, 1898-2001: This collection consists of plays in the genre of mystery thrillers. See also the Crime-related Drama collection listed above.

Street Ballads of Victorian England, circa 1681-1870: This collection contains approximately 200 English street ballads, printed on portions of broadside sheets, dating from around 1850-1870. The ballads centered on popular subject matter such as love, sex, marriage, politics, religion, fantastic tales, humorous anecdotes, and social reform.