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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the The William Heirens Case Newspaper Clippings 1946-1949

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Heirens, William Case. Newspaper Clippings

Dates:

1946-1949

Size:

1 linear ft. (2 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

The William Heirens' Case Collection newspaper clipping file contains clippings about the criminal activity of Heirens, a seventeen-year-old, second-year student in the College of the University of Chicago, who was charged with three brutal murders and some 100 burglaries. The clippings, drawn mainly from Chicago newspapers, the Daily News, the Herald-American, the Sun, the Times, and the Tribune, are arranged chronologically.

Information on Use

Access

No restrictions

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Heirens, William, Case. Newspaper Clippings, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

The case of William Heirens was one of the most sensational in Chicago's history. On January 7, 1946 six-year-old Suzanne Degnan was taken from her bedroom, butchered in a nearby basement, and parts of her body were found deposited in a number of sewers on the north side of the city. A ransom note demanding $20, 000 was discovered after the killer returned to the Degnan home. A few weeks before the Degnan murder, Frances Brown had been found shot to death in her ransacked apartment. Her killer had left a message scrawled in lipstick on the wall that pleaded, "For heaven's sake catch me before I kill more; I cannot control myself." On June 3, 1945 a 43 year-old-widow Mrs. Josephine Ross had been found murdered in her apartment. When accused of the crimes, Heirens maintained that he was innocent and that his alter ego, George Murman, had committed the slayings.

Under these circumstances the local newspapers gave the episode extensive coverage, repeatedly dwelling on Heirens' connection with the University of Chicago. Because Heirens, who had a criminal record since the age of 13, had entered the University at the age of 16, the press constantly referred to him as a "University of Chicago brightboy."

Heirens was a resident of Gates Hall at the University, and much of his loot and an arsenal were discovered in his room and in Woodlawn Hall. Most of the crimes charged against Heirens were committed in the Hyde Park-Woodlawn area near the University of Chicago and on the far north side in the vicinity of Loyola University.

Scope Note

The William Heirens' Case Newspaper Clipping File contains clippings about the criminal activity of Heirens, a seventeen-year-old, second-year student in the College of the University of Chicago, who was charged with three brutal murders and some 100 burglaries. The clippings, drawn mainly from Chicago newspapers, the Daily News, the Herald-American, the Sun, the Times, and the Tribune, are arranged chronologically. They were originally compiled by the University's Office of Public Relations and deal with Heirens' apprehension during a burglary, his link to the murder-kidnapping of six-year-old Suzanne Degnan and two other killings, his confession, trial and imprisonment. The clippings fall primarily in the year 1946, although some material through 1949 is included.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Box 1   Folder 1

June 27-28, 1946

Box 1   Folder 2

June 29 1946

Box 1   Folder 3

June 30 1946

Box 1   Folder 4

July 1 1946

Box 1   Folder 5

July 2 1946

Box 1   Folder 6

July 3 1946

Box 1   Folder 7

July 4-5 1946

Box 1   Folder 8

July 6-8 1946

Box 1   Folder 9

July 9-11 1946

Box 1   Folder 10

July 12-13 1946

Box 1   Folder 11

July 14 1946

Box 1   Folder 12

July 15 1946

Box 1   Folder 13

July 16 1946

Box 1   Folder 14

July 17 1946

Box 1   Folder 15

July 18 1946

Box 1   Folder 16

July 19 1946

Box 1   Folder 17

July 20-21 1946

Box 1   Folder 18

July 22-23 1946

Box 1   Folder 19

July 24 1946

Box 1   Folder 20

July 25 1946

Box 1   Folder 21

July 26-27 1946

Box 1   Folder 22

July 28-29 1946

Box 2    Folder 1

July 30, 1946

Box 2    Folder 2

July 31 1946

Box 2    Folder 3

August 1 1946

Box 2    Folder 4

August 2-3 1946

Box 2    Folder 5

August 4-5 1946

Box 2    Folder 6

August 6 1946

Box 2    Folder 7

August 7 1946

Box 2    Folder 8

August 7 1946

Box 2    Folder 9

August 8-9 1946

Box 2    Folder 10

August 10-15 1946

Box 2    Folder 11

August 16-18 1946

Box 2    Folder 12

August 19-20 1946

Box 2    Folder 13

August 21-28 1946

Box 2    Folder 14

August 29 1946

Box 2    Folder 15

August 30 1946

Box 2    Folder 16

August 31-September 3, 1946

Box 2    Folder 17

September 4, 1946

Box 2    Folder 18

September 5, 1946

Box 2    Folder 19

September 6, 1946

Box 2    Folder 20

September 7, 1946

Box 2    Folder 21

Remainder of September

Box 2    Folder 22

October, 1946

Box 2    Folder 23

November, 1946

Box 2    Folder 24

1947

Box 2    Folder 25

1948

Box 2    Folder 26

1949