Harold S. Hulbert Papers
Scope and Contents
The Harold S. Hulbert Papers fill four boxes. The first box contains Hulbert's notes and correspondence pertaining to his examination of John Kammerer, a convicted murderer executed February 13, 1925 at Wheaton, Illinois. Boxes 2-4 contain materials relating to the Leopold and Loeb murder case of 1924, for which Hulbert served as a consultant.
Kammerer, a native of Bavaria, came to the United States in 1906. He claimed to have had a difficult and unhappy childhood. Kammerer had hoped to pursue studies leading to ordination in the Roman Catholic Church but was rejected from several seminaries. His experiences with the Church left him with a lasting bitterness toward its clergy. Kammerer held a series of marginal restaurant jobs in Chicago and the Midwest and made few acquaintances and friends. A minor dispute with one acquaintance, Otto Eder of Villa Park, Illinois, prompted Kammerer to kill Eder along with Eder's wife and three children on June 27, 1924. Police apprehended Kammerer for this crime on July 12, 1925, and he was indicted on October 9th of that year. Kammerer stood trial in DuPage County beginning December 1, 1924 and was found guilty on December 8th.
Hulbert was a defense witness at the Kammerer trial and attempted to convince the jury of the defendant's insanity. In this regard Hulbert quoted one juror who spoke after the verdict: “We knew he was crazy, Doc, but we also felt he was too mean to live, so we voted to hang him. Don't you feel badly; it was the information you got which made us realize he was both guilty and crazy.” (Box 1, Folder 3)
Included with Hulbert's examination notes are several of Kammerer's holographic writings, which describe his life, the Eder murders, other crimes committed, and the attempted poisoning in 1916 of George Cardinal Mundelein, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago. Hulbert believed that Kammerer, using the alias Jean Crones, was a primary suspect in this crime.
Hulbert considered authoring a book or article on Kammerer and his crimes but never completed the project.
The first addition to the Harold S. Hulbert Papers consists of Hulbert's contributions as a consulting psychiatrist in the celebrated Loeb and Leopold case of 1924. Hulbert, in conjunction with Karl M. Bowman M.D., conducted lengthy psychiatric and physical examinations of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. The contents of this addition include the write-up of these evaluations, the full confessions and statements by Leopold and Loeb to the authorities, photographic copies of check receipts, examples of handwriting, and examples of typewriting. The photographic copies appear to have been used as court evidence. Also included are the original ransom notes written to Jacob Franks concerning the kidnapping of his son, Robert.
The second addition to the Harold S. Hulbert Papers is a collection of psychiatric reports associated with the Leopold and Loeb case—the work of Harold S. Hulbert, Bernard Glueck, William A. White, William Healy, and possibly of Ira Darling and H.W. Mitchell. This collection apparently had been in the custody of Drs. Darling and Mitchell, both of whom held affiliation with the State Hospital for the Insane (Warren, Pennsylvania), before its acquisition by Northwestern University Archives in 2017. The reports, dating from 1924, support diagnoses of insanity for Leopold and Loeb by prominent medical authorities and counter the conclusions supported by documents found elsewhere in the Hulbert collection. A few related news accounts supplement the psychiatric reports.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Language of Materials
The Papers of psychiatrist Harold Hulbert include notes and correspondence pertaining to his examination of John Kammerer, a convicted murderer executed February 13, 1925; and statements, reports, and evidence Hulbert obtained as a consultant in the celebrated Leopold and Loeb murder case of 1924.
The case notes and Kammerer's writings are arranged according to an index prepared by Hulbert. The index, filed with the series, explains the nature or purposes of the various documents included. A few biographical materials pertaining to Hulbert are filed at the end of the series.
Method of Acquisition
The Kammerer materials were separated from the papers of John H. Wigmore, November 18, 1987 (Accession 87-243); the Leopold and Loeb materials were separated from the John H. Wigmore Papers on June 21, 1988 (Accession #88-138). The psychiatric reports were acquired by Northwestern University Archives, November 2, 2017 (Accession 17-256).
Kevin B. Leonard, November 19, 1987; Carter A. Roeber, June 22, 1988; Kevin B. Leonard, January 3, 2018.
- Guide to the Harold S. Hulbert Papers
- Kevin B. Leonard
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
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