Crime and murder, in particular, is a facet of Polonia history both misunderstood and very often overlooked. True crime stories, especially those involving murder, are among the most popular genres in popular culture. Fascination with murder is not a recent development but dates back to the beginning of journalism. For many readers, their first encounter with murder is in the pages of the daily newspaper. Between 1876 and 1925, the local press reported twenty-one murders involving Baltimore Poles as both victims and perpetrators. These real-life homicides from Baltimore's Polonia history offer an opportunity to explore how their contemporaries regarded perpetrator, victim, and the act itself. They also offer insights into the harmful impact of immigration within the Polish community. The loss of kin support networks found in the old country and poverty experienced in their new homes sometimes lead to dysfunctional families. This disorder could result in heavy drinking, juvenile delinquency, and both petty and significant crime. Murder, as the most atypical of crime, also generated more print in the local press. These case studies were selected because they were all given extensive newspaper coverage. Family reminiscences supplement the newspaper accounts. Even today, two of these murders still resonate in local folklore.

You do not currently have access to this content.