Crime-related Postcards

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Special Collections and Archives

Crime-related Postcards

Special Collections & Archives is offering in-person services BY APPOINTMENT ONLY (no walk-in hours). Please contact us to discuss how we can best serve you during this time.

Special Collections and Archives

Crime-related Postcards

Borowitz Crime Ephemera: Crime-Related Postcards

Finding Aid


Author: Cara Gilgenbach, September 2005
Revisions: Updated by Haley Antell, August 2021
Inclusive Dates: 1902-2001; undated
Extent: .5 cubic foot (1 half-size record storage box)
Physical Location: 11th floor
Language: English, French


Scope and Content: This collection contains postcards related to crime and the true crime genre. It includes postcards produced in the United States and internationally. Most postcards are undated, but publication dates are provided when available.

Statement of Arrangement: Items are arranged alphabetically by subject matter.

Related Materials: See also the Borowitz collection of prison postcards.

Alternate Form Available: This collection has been digitized and is partially available online. The inventory below includes links to the digital content.


Box 1
Folder -- Contents

  1. Postcard: Armstrong, Herbert Rowse, 1990
    Scope and Content: Image of the home of Herbert Rowse Armstrong in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Rowse was the last solicitor to be hanged in the United Kingdom.
    Photographer: Booth, Hope
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  2. Postcard: Artrugs, "Murder 2," undated
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for a rug depicting an image of a chalk outline of a body, sold by the company Artrugs.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  3. Postcard: Billy the Kid, 1983
    Publisher: Creative Publishing Company
  4. Postcard: Billy the Kid: “Billy the Kid About to Escape,” undated
    Scope and Content: Painting of the artist's conception of the legendary card game between Billy the Kid and Deputy Bell.
    Author: Painting by Mark Storm; Photograph by Ellis Basha.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  5. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Billy the Kid Museum, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of the exterior of the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
  6. Postcard: Billy the Kid: De Baca County Court House, undated
    Scope and Content: Photograph of the exterior of the De Baca County Courthouse in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
  7. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Lincoln County Courthouse, undated
    Scope and Content: Undated postcard featuring the Lincoln County Courthouse. Also included is a tourism pamphlet that features an article regarding the preservation of the courthouse in Lincoln, New Mexico, and other information on historic sites in Lincoln.
    Photographer: Fay, Mark
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  8. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Patrick Floyd Garrett, 1985
    Scope and Content: Photograph of Patrick Floyd Garrett, the sheriff of Lincoln County who killed Billy the Kid.
    Publisher: Creative Publishing Company
  9. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Patrick Floyd Garrett, undated
    Scope and Content: Photograph of Patrick Floyd Garrett, the sheriff of Lincoln County who killed Billy the Kid.
    Publisher: Old West Collectors Series published by Kustom Quality
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  10. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Shooting of Billy the Kid, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard features a painting by C. C. Clancey depicting the shooting of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett.  
    Author: Clancey, C. C.
  11. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Tombstone, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of a tombstone attributed to Billy the Kid.
    Photographer: Chew, Ed
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  12. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Torreon, Lincoln, New Mexico, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of Torreon in Lincoln, New Mexico. Billy the Kid worked on a ranch nearby.
    Photographer: Chew, Ed
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  13. Postcard: Billy the Kid: Wortley Hotel, Lincoln, New Mexico, 1988
    Scope and Content: Line drawing of the Wortley Hotel in Lincoln, New Mexico.
  14. Postcard: Boothill Graveyard, 1958
    Scope and Content: Caption: "Graves of Dowd, Samples, Howard, Delaney & Kelly. Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona. These five men were found guilty of killing several people in a store robbery in Bisbee and all hanged on one scaffold in the Court House yard on March 8, 1884.”
    Publisher: Colourpictures Publishers, Inc.
    Author: Parrish, Dick
  15. Postcard: Borden, Lizzie: Miss Lizzie A. Borden Invites You to Tea, 2001
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for the play, Miss Lizzie A. Borden Invites You to Tea, by Marjorie Conn and directed by Frank Avellino.
  16. Postcard: Borden, Lizzie: Police Station, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of the Central Police Station, Fall River, Massachusetts.
    Publisher:  The City News, Co., Fall River, Massachusetts
    Restrictions on Access: This item may be protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  17. Postcard: Brown, John: Courthouse, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of the courthouse in Charlestown, West Virginia, where John Brown was tried on November 2, 1859.
  18. Postcard: Brown, John: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, 1909
  19. Postcard: Brown, John: Home of John Brown, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of the home of John Brown in North Elba, New York.
  20. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Birthplace, 1936
    Scope and Content: Image of John Brown’s birthplace in Torrington, Connecticut.
  21. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Fort, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of a Fire Engine House in Harpers Ferry where John Brown and others barricaded themselves.
  22. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Grave, 1902
    Scope and Content: Image of John Brown’s grave in North Elba, New York.
  23. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Homestead, 1912
    Scope and Content: Image of the John Brown Homestead in Akron, Ohio.
  24. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Monument, undated
    Scope and Content: Artistic rendering of a monument to John Brown in Adirondacks, New York. Caption: "46. Old John Brown's Monument as protected from relic fiends, Adirondack Mountains, N. Y."
    Publisher: Publisher: N.W.P. & P. Company, Potsdam, New York
  25. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown’s Monument, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of a monument to John Brown in Adirondack, New York.
    Publisher: The Valentine & Sons' Publishing Co.
  26. Postcard: Brown, John: John Brown's Tannery, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of John Brown’s tannery, built in 1826.
  27. Postcard: Brown, John: Portrait of John Brown, 1909
  28. Postcard: Brown, John: Kennedy Farmhouse, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of the Kennedy Farmhouse in Maryland, which John Brown leased for several months while preparing for the raid at Harpers Ferry.
  29. Postcard: Brown, John: Shenandoah River, 1909
    Scope and Content: Image of a rock in the Shenandoah River where John H. Kagi, second in command to John Brown, was killed.
  30. Postcard: Capital Punishment, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of a watercolor by Thomas Rowlandson, titled “Last Dying Speech.” Caption: "At the end of the 18th century, death by hanging was the punishment for many crimes, even those as petty as the pocket-picking shown in the background of this watercolour. Executions attracted large crowds, and street sellers sold souvenirs: cheaply printed broadsheets recounting in detail the crime, the prisoner's confession, and the manner of his death."
    Related Material: For examples of such broadsheets, see the Criminal Broadsides of 19th-Century England collection.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  31. Postcard: “Cartouche, le Roi des Bandits,” undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard reproduction of a publisher’s poster for the 1970 work "Cartouche, le Roi des Bandits" (Cartouche, the King of the Bandits), by Jules Grandpre.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  32. Postcards: Château de Chillon, undated
    Historical Note: From possibly as early as the 11th century up to the 18th century, the Château de Chillon, located on the shore of Lake Geneva near Montreux, served as a center of military and legal power. In 1530, François Bonivard (sometimes spelled "Bonnivard"), prior of St. Victor, Genevois scholar, and supporter of the Reformation, was imprisoned for six years in the castle by the Savoyard leaders. After visiting the site in 1816, Lord Byron wrote a long narrative poem entitled "The Prisoner of Chillon" about Bonivard's imprisonment.
    Scope and Content: Three postcards of the Château de Chillon in Montreux, Switzerland: exterior view, "The Great Kitchen," and "Bonivard's Prison."
    Related Material: For more information on the Château de Chillon, see Auguste Guignard's The Castle of Chillon, which also includes the text of Byron's poem.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  33. Postcard: Cleveland, Ohio: Kingsbury Run, undated
    Scope and Content: Image of Kingsbury Run in Cleveland, Ohio, the site where some of the "Torso Murder" victims were found. Eliot Ness served as Cleveland's Director of Safety during the time of these famous serial murders.
  34. Postcard: Cleveland, Ohio: Residence of Cassie L. Chadwick, 1905
    Historical Note: Cassie L. Chadwick was an alias used by Elizabeth Bigley, a con artist who defrauded several Cleveland banks by borrowing large amounts of money by claiming to be the daughter of Andrew Carnegie.
  35. Postcard: Corday, Charlotte, 1989
    Scope and Content: Postcard depicting the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday. Caption: "La Mort du patriote, assassinat de Marat par Charlotte Corday le 13 juillet 1793. Gravure anonyme."
    Publisher: Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  36. Postcard: Corder, William: Relics of the Red Barn Murder, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard showing Corder's pistols, scalp and ear, death mask, and a book bound in his skin.
    Publisher: Beric Tempest & Co.
    Restrictions on Access: This item may be protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  37. Postcard: Corder, William: Relics of the Red Barn Murder, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard showing Corder's pistols, scalp and ear, death mask, and a book bound in his skin.
    Photographer: Portlock, Graham
    Publisher: Jones & Palmer, Ltd.
    Restrictions on Access: This item may be protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  38. Postcard: Crime Fiction: Fangs, undated
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for the play Fangs, by Cornelius Eady and directed by Diane Paulus.
  39. Postcard: Crime Fiction: Fantomas, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard reproduction of the cover of the first volume of Fantomas, by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain, published in 1911. The illustrator is unknown.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  40. Postcard: Crime Fiction: Film by Zecca, Ferdinand, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard reproduction of a poster for the 1905 film, Les Apaches de Paris, directed by Ferdinand Zecca. Beginning in the late 1800s, the term "apaches" began to be used in France to describe criminal organizations and their members. The use of the word is racist, and is based on racist portrayals and concepts of Native Americans.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  41. Postcard: Crime Fiction: Le Mystere de la Chambre Jaune, undated
    Scope and Content: Postcard reproduction of an illustration, by Simont, for the novel The Mystery of the Yellow Room, written by Gaston Leroux. The novel was first published serially in the periodical L’Illustration in 1907.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  42. Postcard: Crime Fiction: Scenes from an Execution, undated
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for the play Scenes from an Execution, written by Howard Barker and directed by Yelena Gluzman.
  43. Postcard: Crimmins, Alice: Two Small Bodies, undated
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for the play Two Bodies, by Neal Bell and directed by Carl Andress, based on the Alice Crimmins case.
  44. Postcard: Crippen, Hawley Harvey: Crippen's House, undated
    Scope and Content: Photograph of the exterior of 39 Hilldrop Crescent, London, N. with Sandy McNab, the new owner. Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged for the murder of his wife Cora Henrietta Crippen.
  45. Postcard: Hale, Nathan, undated
    Scope and Content: Figure of Nathan Hale, an officer in the American Revolutionary War. He was hanged by the British on September 22, 1776.
  46. Postcard: "Help the Poor Struggler," undated
    Scope and Content: Drawing of a man seated below a street lamp with the caption “Help the Poor Struggler.”
    Author: Wood, Franklyn
  47. Postcard: "L'Auberge Sanglante de Peyrebeilhe," 1995
    Historical Note: The proprietors of The Red Inn of Peyrebeille, Pierre Martin and Marie Breysse, along with their servant Jean Rochette were accused of robbing and murdering dozens of their guests. In 1833, the three were tried and executed. See Blood & Ink, entry B.41 for more information.
    Scope and Content: Caption: “L’Auberge sanglante de Peyrebeilhe-- Ardeche -- Alt 1265 m. 2 octobre 1833 furent guillotines Jean Rochette le domestique, les patrons Pierre Martin et Marie Breysse apres 26 ans d'assassinats."
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  48. Postcard: “La Justice et la Vengeance divine poursuivant le Crime,” 1997
    Scope and Content: Postcard reproduction of an 1808 painting by Pierre Paul Prud'hon, titled “La Justice et la Vengeance divine poursuivant le Crime” (Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime). Prud’hon was a French painter whose career was successful, but whose personal life was tragically marked by the suicide of his longtime pupil and lover, Constance Mayer, in 1821.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  49. Postcard: McKinley, William, 1908
    Scope and Content: Caption: "Nearer My God to Thee; Last words of McKinley. Born Jan. 29, 1843. Died Sept. 14, 1901." The postcard includes an image of William McKinley and a portion of the sheet music for the song, “Nearer My God to Thee.”
  50. Postcard: McKinley, William, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: "113; Temple of Music (where President McKinley was shot), Buffalo, NY."
  51. Postcard: McPherson, Aimee Semple, undated
    Historical Note: Aimee Semple McPherson, a California-based evangelist who built the huge Angelus Temple funded by donations of her followers, disappeared while swimming near Venice Beach in 1926. She showed up, after having been missing for 32 days, at the edge of a desert in Arizona claiming that she had been kidnaped and escaped her captors. Her alleged kidnapping was believed by some to be fabricated in order to hide secret or illicit activity.
    Scope and Content: Caption: “618; Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, Angelus Temple, Los Angeles, Calif."
    Publisher: Longshaw Card Co., Los Angeles, California
  52. Postcard: Mayerling Incident, undated
    Historical Note: On January 30, 1889, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary and his pregnant seventeen-year-old mistress were found shot to death at the Mayerling hunting lodge in the Vienna Woods, their deaths the result of an apparent murder/suicide.
    Scope and Content: Photographic postcard showing Mary Vetsera, graves of Vetsera and Crown Prince Rudolph, and the Mayerling lodge along with other sites of relevance to the case.
  53. Postcard: Mayerling Incident: Crown Prince Rudolph, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: “Kronprinz Rudolph.”
  54. Postcard: Metropolitan Police: Thames Division, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: "Thames division; Like its modern counterpart at Waterloo Pier, the Brig “Royalist” was used as a floating police station during the period 1856-94."
    Publisher: Printed for the Metropolitan Police by J. Arthur Dixon.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  55. Postcard: Metropolitan Police: Scotland Yard, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: "The Three Scotland Yards. The Metropolitan Police Headquarters has always been close to Whitehall. The original Scotland Yard in Whitehall Place (1829); the second New Scotland Yard on the Embankment (1890); the present “Yard” in Victoria Street (1967).
    Publisher: Printed for the Metropolitan Police by J. Arthur Dixon.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  56. Postcard: Metropolitan Police: Uniforms, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: “Uniforms Throughout the Ages; The distinctive uniform of the London “Bobby”; Police Constable, 1979, 1829 , 1929; Woman Police Constable, 1979, 1919."
    Publisher: Printed for the Metropolitan Police by J. Arthur Dixon.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  57. Postcard: Natchez Trace: Natchez Trace Parkway, undated
    Historical Notes: Notorious highwaymen, including the Harpe brothers and Samuel Mason's gang, robbed and murdered travelers along the Natchez Trace in the late 18th-century. For more information, see Blood & Ink, entry W.12 and The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock by Otto A. Rothert (1924).
    Scope and Content: Caption: "Natchez Trace Parkway ... Yowani Overlook and picnic area, near the historical town of French Camp, Mississippi."
    Photographer: McCormack, D. F.
  58. Postcard: Normand, Mabel, undated
    Scope and Content: Portrait postcard of actress Mabel Normand. Following the 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor, Normand, along with other actresses with whom Taylor had relationships, was thrust into the national spotlight.
    Publisher: Kraus Mfg. Co., New York
  59. Postcard: Packer, Alfred, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: "The Wax Museum; 919 Bannock Street, Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Maneater. A bizarre episode in Colorado history was the cannibalism of Alfred Packer. Heavy snows immobilized a gold prospecting party in the high country. Packer, with five others, set out for a nearby Indian agency, but Packer arrived alone. Although evidence was conflicting, he was convicted of killing all five victims and eating their flesh.”
  60. Postcards: Rasputin, Grigori: The Yusupov's Palace, undated
    Scope and Content: Set of 12 postcards showing interiors and part of an exhibition called "Grigory Rasputin: pages of life and death." Rasputin was murdered at the palace.
    Restrictions on Access: This item may be protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  61. Postcard: Riel, Louis, undated
    Scope and Content: Caption: "Louis Riel the day before he was executed in 1885."
    Publisher: Musée Royal, Ste. Anne de Beaupré
  62. Postcard: Smith, Susan: Brutal Imagination, undated
    Scope and Content: Promotional postcard for the play Brutal Imagination, by Cornelius Eady and directed by Diane Paulus, based on the Susan Smith case.
    Restrictions on Access: This item may be protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.
  63. Postcards: Thaw, Evelyn Nesbit, undated
    Historical Note: Evelyn Nesbit's jealous husband, Harry K. Thaw, murdered prominent New York City architect, Stanford White, in the rooftop restaurant theater of Madison Square Garden in 1906. White had been a former lover of Evelyn Nesbit.
    Scope and Content: Set of nine postcards in which Thaw depicts a character type/role or a certain mood or activity including: "The Bride," "The Coquette," "The Dawn of Hope," "A Day Dream," "In a Reverie," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Pensiveness," "The Village Belle." Two versions of "The Village Belle" are present.
  64. Postcard: Thaw, Evelyn Nesbit, "Diana," 1985
    Scope and Content: Image of a gilded bronze reduction of the sculpture "Diana," by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. A version of the sculpture was commissioned by Stanford White to be the weather vane for the tower of Madison Square Garden.
    Restrictions on Access: This item is protected by copyright and cannot be published online at this time.