On Thursday night, Jon participated in a panel discussion on crime in the 1930's with a focus on the Lindbergh kidnapping. The event was hosted by the Historical Society of Princeton and the event was called The Great Crime Wave of the 1930's. Jon's fellow panelists were Lloyd Gardner, author of "The Case That Never Dies" and John F. Fox Jr., FBI Historian.
Lloyd Gardner started by setting the scene. He wrote a book called The Case That Never Dies which discusses the Lindbergh case in great detail. He's pretty impressive. He teaches at Rutgers and he seems to put out a book a year. He was animated and engaging and pitched his book beautifully and obviously. He wasn't even subtle about it, but he was so charming that his presentation wasn't effected by his book mentions.
Jon was next and he discussed three interesting characters involved in the case but not directly; Ellis Parker, a celebrity detective of the time; governor Harold Hoffman and gangster Longie Zwillman. All three wanted to make an impact on history but ultimately had no real effect on the outcome. For a variety of reasons, Hoffman thought the man convicted of the crime, Bruno Hauptman was innocent. Ellis Parker worked for Hoffman in trying to prove his theory by beating up a false suspect until he confessed. This resulted in a temporary stay of execution for Hauptman. (If you want to learn more about it read Jon's book, Notorious New Jersey.) Longie Zwillman claims to have offered his services to the Lindberghs, to try to find their kidnapped baby, because, Longie Zwillman longed to trade in his criminal reputation for a one that was more reputable.
John Fox spoke about crime in general and explained how FBI and forensic sciences were in their infancy. He also explained a lot about jurisdiction, which I thought was very interesting.
It was a nice event that was very well attended.