Image: Page 37 of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground,” digitized by the British Library.
Henry Chu writes a nondupe in the Los Angeles Times about unsuccessful attempts to gain access to Scotland Yard’s records in the Jack the Ripper case.
In a surreal tribunal hearing in May, which saw a senior officer give evidence from behind an opaque screen and cite Judas Iscariot to support his point, the agency argued that laying everything bare would violate its confidentiality pledge to informants, even those long dead, and undermine recruitment of collaborators in the present-day fight against terrorism and organized crime.
Naming names might even put the snitches’ descendants at risk of revenge by the grudge-bearing heirs of those who were informed on, officials said. The three-person tribunal agreed.
The British Library has released digital copies of several rare items, including Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground,” a draft score of Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s own catalog of his works from 1784 to 1791. Carroll’s illustrations for “Alice” may come as a surprise for anyone who is only familiar with the other interpretations done over the years, such as those by John Tenniel.
J. David Hacker, writing in the New York Times Opinionator blog, takes a long, thorough look at the problem of estimating the number of deaths from the Civil War.
Above a certain count, do the numbers even matter? Well, yes. The difference between the two estimates is large enough to change the way we look at the war. The new estimate suggests that more men died as a result of the Civil War than from all other American wars combined. Approximately 1 in 10 white men of military age in 1860 died from the conflict, a substantial increase from the 1 in 13 implied by the traditional estimate. The death toll is also one of our most important measures of the war’s social and economic costs. A higher death toll, for example, implies that more women were widowed and more children were orphaned as a result of the war than has long been suspected.
The Tenement Museum, which tells the story of immigrants who lived in a Lower East Side tenement at 97 Orchard St., will mark the opening of its visitors center by hosting a naturalization ceremony for 18 New Yorkers. AP via Washington Post.
Two teenagers are accused of using a power outage caused by Hurricane Irene to steal Revolutionary War artifacts from Washington Crossing State Park. Officials say everything was recovered. AP via Washington Post.
John Dillinger’s grand-nephew Jeff Scalf says that he is looking for a site for the Dillinger family farmhouse because Mooresville, Ind., officials haven’t responded to his proposals. However Morgan County officials say Scalf has never submitted a formal plan. AP via Chicago Tribune.
The American Folk Art Museum will remain open. Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times.