The Charley Project-My interview with Meaghan Good.

The Charley Project profiles over 14,000 “cold case” missing people mainly from the United States. It does not actively investigate cases; it is merely a publicity vehicle for missing people who are often neglected by the press and forgotten all too soon. A person must have been missing for at least one year to be listed; see the FAQ for additional information on the site, its goals, and its founder/administrator. This is my interview with Meaghan Good, founder of the Charley Project.

One of the cases we talk about is of Annie McCarrick, 26, of Long Island, New York. She went missing on 26 March 1993. She was living in Sandymount, Co. Dublin. The last confirmed sighting of her was at a post office in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow. However, there was an unconfirmed sighting of her outside Johnnie Fox’s Pub in Glencullen, Co. Dublin. This sighting was by a doorman of the pub who said she was with an unknown man. They left the lounge of Johnny Fox’s Pub and entered the cabaret room where the unknown man paid for both of them to enter. McCarrick had invited her friend, Hilary Brady and his girlfriend, Rita Fortune to dinner at her apartment the next day. When McCarrick was not there, they contacted her parents in New York and she was reported missing. McCarrick’s parents, John and Nancy McCarrick arrived in Ireland shortly after their daughter was reported missing, but left after a six-month long unsuccessful search for McCarrick.

source

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Edith Eleanor McLean- The 1st incubator baby.

Seeing babies in incubators nowadays is a fairly common sight.

Infant incubators are used to provide a warm environment for babies born prematurely or for other infants who are unable to maintain a normal body temperature. The infant incubator is a relatively small, glass-walled box that may have portholes fitted with long rubber gloves through which nurses can handle and care for the infant. Most infant incubators are fitted with special devices that can control the concentration of oxygen inside the incubator; this is necessary because some infants need either greater or lesser amounts of oxygen owing to particular diseases they may have. Infant incubators also regulate the humidity inside the enclosure.

The concept of the incubator was developed in France as early as 1857. The first device in the USA was built by William Champion Deming at the State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York.

The device was warmed by 57 liters of water. The forerunners of this constant temperature sensor in the uterus were the Ruehlsche cradle in Moscow in 1835 and the ” warming bath ” introduced by Credé in Leipzig in 1864.

On September 7, 1888 133 years ago today, an incubator was used for the first time in the U.S. to treat a premature baby. Edith Eleanor McLean, the baby in the photo above, was the first child to be placed into such a device. She weighed 1,106 grams at birth.

There is not much known what happened to baby Edith afterwards.

sources

https://www.onthisday.com/photos/baby-incubator

http://www.nancy.cc/2016/09/07/edith-first-incubator-baby/

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkubator_(Medizin)

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The Billy Joel connections

Today is Billy Joel’s birthday and I was going to do a blog on his musical history, going back to the times when he joined a band called “Echoes”, aged 16, to the times when he joined the bands “the Hassles” and “Atilla”. But that I came across a story which connects Billy Joel with WWII , the Holocaust and a large German retail and travel company, and indirectly to 4 Olympic games and I thought that would make a much more interesting story.

Billy Joel was born William Martin Joel on may 9,1949 in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in Long Island. Billy’s father, Howard (born Helmut) Joel , a classical pianist and businessman, was born in Nuremberg, Germany, to a Jewish family, the son of merchant and manufacturer Karl Amson Joel.

Karl Amson Joel, started a business in household linens in 1927. The business was so profitable that he, his wife and their young son, Helmut, were able to move into an affluent area of Nuremberg. As Karl Joel’s business rose in prominence and the Nazis rose in power, the Nazis put their sights on eliminating the Joel’s and all other Jewish businesses.

After the rise to power of Nazism in 1933, Karl Amson Joel was increasingly discriminated against by the regional Nazi Party leaders, especially Julius Streicher, the founder and publisher of the virulently antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer.

In May 1933, Der Stürmer ran a front-page article calling Karl a “Yid” and accusing him of underpaying and sexually harassing his workers. Billy Joel’s dad Helmut aka Howard was one of four Jews in his Nuremberg classroom; they were directed to sit apart from their classmates.

Karl Amson Joel moved his company to Berlin in 1934, where he rented a factory site in Wedding and installed new packing machines. The stitching department, however, had to remain in Nuremberg. As persecution increased (e.g. deliveries had to be marked with a “J” for Jude, or Jew), and Jewish firms became Aryanized (the forced expulsion of Jews from business life in Nazi Germany, Axis-aligned states, and their occupied territories. It entailed the transfer of Jewish property into “Aryan”hands), Joel was forced to sell his company in 1938 to Josef Neckermann.

For fear of further persecutions Karl Amson Joel moved to Switzerland in July 1938 and later to the USA, via Cuba.

Neckermann made his fortune as the owner of one of Europe’s largest department stores. His business made him director of a very successful mail-order company under the slogan Neckermann macht’s möglich (Neckermann makes it possible) and also a travel company.

Shortly after World War II, Neckermann was sentenced to one year in a military prison.

In 1949, Karl Amson Joel successfully sued Neckermann for compensation in a Nuremberg court. After eight years, the parties settled and the files were closed.

In 1957,Karl Amson Joel got a compensation of 2 million West German marks for his former company from Neckermann who at that time ran the most successful German mail order selling company.

As I said earlier on in this blog there is also a connection to 4 Olympic games, albeit indirect . Josef Neckermann was also a German equestrian and Olympic champion . He was one of the richest private citizens to have ever competed at the Olympic Games, and he did quite well, winning six medals in the dressage. Neckermann’s Olympics medals were as follows: 1960 – individual bronze, 1964 – team gold (both for the mixed German team), 1968 – team gold and individual silver, 1972 – team silver and individual bronze, all for West Germany.

Other members of Billy Joel’s family were killed during the Holocaust.

I could not finish this blog without at least including one of his many songs. This is my favourite Billy Joel song.

sources

https://www.sarahlawrence.edu/magazine/then-now/campus/outback.html

https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/stranger-no-more/

https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/12487

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Typhoid Mary

mary

How could a seemingly healthy woman spread a potentially deadly disease?

Typhoid or Typhoid fever fever is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious complications and can be fatal.If typhoid fever isn’t treated, it’s estimated that up to 1 in 5 people with the condition will die. However at the start of the 20th century that number would have been greater.

The main symptoms of typhoid fever are:

  • a high temperature that can reach 39 to 40C
  • headache
  • general aches and pains
  • cough
  • constipation

Additionally it can cause diarrhea and a rash.Typhoid fever is caused by a type of bacteria called Salmonella typhi. It is basically spread by poor hygiene.

Mary Mallon was an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. This means although she was infected she didn’t have any signs of the symptoms. Although she herself did not have the symptoms, she was a carrier and could infect others around her.

She  was born in 1869 in Cookstown, County Tyrone, in what is now Northern Ireland.Orphaned as a child, Mary lived with her grandmother. Her Grandmother taught Mary how to scrounge for food and cook with what they had, making potato cakes and nettles over a peat fire.

In 1883 or 1884, Mary immigrated  to the US  where she lived with her Aunt and Uncle.In 1900  , she found employment in Mamaroneck, New York, as a cook.

Mary ccok

Soon a number of residents of the houses where she worked developed fever and diarrhea.

In 1901, she moved 18 miles to Manhattan, where members of the family for whom she worked developed fevers and diarrhea, and the laundress died. Mallon then went to work for a lawyer and left after seven of the eight people in that household became ill.

In 1906 she moved to  Oyster Bay ,Long Island.Where again she got a job as a cook. Within two weeks, 10 of the 11 family members were diagnosed with typhoid and hospitalized. Mary moved jobs again, this time for a wealthy New York banker, Charles Henry Warren. The Warrens had rented a house in Oyster Bay for the summer of 1906, Mallon went along too ,where she infected  six of the 11 people in the family.

Eventually one of the families Mary had worked for hired George Soper, a typhoid researcher

soper

After his investigation Soper released his  results on June 15, 1907, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He had the believe that Mary Mallon could be the source of the outbreak.He wrote:

“It was found that the family changed cooks in August 4. This was about three weeks before the typhoid epidemic broke out. The new cook, Mallon, remained in the family only a short time, and left about three weeks after the outbreak occurred. Mallon was described as an Irish woman about 40 years of age, tall, heavy, single. She seemed to be in perfect health.”

Soper looked into the employment agencies which staffed private kitchens and retrieved the name of Mary’s employers from 1900 to 1907. He found out that typhoid had struck seven of the last eight families where she worked. He also discovered, , that in all the stricken households she had lovingly iced and nursed the victims ,even receiving a tip of $50 from  one employer.

Soper tracked Mary Mallon to a house on Park Avenue,home of Walter Bowen, where a daughter and maid had already come down with typhoid. When Soper  approached  Mary about her possible role in spreading typhoid, she was furious.

Soper reported this to the authorities  and eventually, the New York City Department of Health arranged for Mallon to be taken into custody. Doctors found typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder, but she refused to have it removed as she didn’t believe she carried the disease. Mallon was held in isolation for three years at a clinic located on North Brother Island.

hospital

In 1910 it was agreed that Mallon could be released from the Hospital if she agreed to stop working as a cook, and take precautions to ensure that she didn’t infect more people with  typhoid. She returned to the mainland and got a job as a laundress. But Sbecause this was a low paid job  she changed her name to Mary Brown and resumed working as a cook.

For the following five years, everywhere she went, typhoid followed. In 1915 she set off a major outbreak in New York in which 25 people were infected and two died. She was arrested and on March 27,1915 the health authorities  returned her to quarantine on North Brother Island,where she remained for the rest of her life.

isolation

Despite her isolation she became a minor celebrity and was occasionally interviewed by the media.Visitors  were  strongly urged warned not to accept even a glass of water from her . On November 11,1938, died of pneumonia at the age of 69.

poster

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Irish Times

Irish America

 

9/11 : 2996 minus 19

9 11

9/11 they used to be just 2 numbers until that fateful day in 2001. Ever since then it has become ingrained in the human psyche as one of the days the world changed.

Even now ,19 years later it is hard to fathom the events of that day. Even when it happened it was hard to believe even though we could see it unfold in front of our eyes on TV screens or otherwise.

It was the day where we experienced evil and ruthlessness on so many levels. I say ruthlessness for it wasn’t only displayed by the terrorist. I worked at a telecom company at the time and about half an hour after the attacks, I received a call from a Banker in Switzerland complaining about telephony and data loss between Zürich and New York. He complained even though he was well aware what had happened, to him all that mattered was money transfers.

The one thing that bothers me is the fact that the reported number of casualties is 2996. This includes the 19 who committed the attacks, as if they were victims. Those 19 evil monsters, should not be included in that number. It diminishes the respect and the memories of the real victims.

These are the numbers we should focus on

Total number killed in attacks in New York: 2,753

Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

Number of NYPD officers: 23

Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

Total Number of people killed on United Airlines Flight 93: 40

Total Number killed at the Pentagon attack:184.

2977, each a different story of innocent lives destroyed.

I don’t know all the stories but I know a bit of the story of ‘Victim 0001’

Judge

Mychal Judge

Mychal Judge was born Robert Emmett Judge on May 11, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of immigrants from County Leitrim, Ireland. His father died when he was still a child.To earn income following his father’s death, Judge shined shoes at New York Penn Station.

After spending his freshman year at the St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn, where he studied under the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, in 1948, at the age of 15, Judge began the formation process to enter the Order of Friars Minor.In 1961, he was ordained a priest.

In 1992, Judge was appointed a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. As chaplain, he offered encouragement and prayers at fires, rescues, and hospitals, and counseled firemen and their families, often working 16-hour days.

When the planes hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Father Mychal Judge ran into the North Tower alongside the firemen he served..

At the time, French documentary filmmakers were inside the North tower. Their camera captured some of the last moments of Mychal Judge’s life. In the film, according to his friend, Father Michael Duffy, you can see the priest standing by the plate glass window, watching the bodies fall on the patio outside.

“And if you look closely at that film, you’ll see his lips moving,” Duffy stated. “Now, for those of us who know him, he wasn’t one that talked to himself. He was praying. And absolving people as they fell to their death.”

Moments later, the South Tower collapsed. The force of the explosion shattered the windows and flung the priest across the lobby. In the darkness, some firemen stumbled over his body.

Mychal Judge was designated as “Victim 0001” and thereby recognized as the first official victim of the attacks.

mykhal

How Curious George nearly didn’t make it.

george

I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of Curious George, you may not have read the books or watched the cartoons or movies, but you will recognize the iconic Chimpanzee when you see him.

Although it is an iconic children’s book character and has a strong brand recognition, it could have easily been a different story, His origin tells a story of luck but indirectly also a tale of a false sense of security.

Curious George was written by H.A Rey and his wife Margret.

Rey

Hans Augusto Reyersbach was born in September 1898 in Hamburg , Germany,near the world-famous Hagenbeck Zoo, which gave him a lifelong love for animals and drawing.  His wife Margret was born on May  16 1906 also in Hamburg, her father Felix Waldstein had been a member of the Reichstag. the German parliament from 1871 to 1918. Hans and Margret both Jewish. The two first met in Hamburg at the 16th birthday party of Margret’s sister. They met again in Brazil, where Hans had a job as a bathtubs salesman Margret had moved to Brazil to escape the rise of Nazism in Germany. On August 16, 1935 they got married and went to Paris on their honeymoon, they fell in love with the place and decided to stay there.

Although Hitler had come to power in Germany it is apparent that the Rey’s felt safe in their new home, as most of the Parisians and the rest of France felt. Although the French were anxious of the developments in Germany, they did not envisage any danger to come from their eastern neighbour.

While in Paris, Hans’s animal drawings were noticed by a French publisher, who commissioned Hans  to write a children’s book. The book was to be” Rafi. and the Nine Monkeys” or “Rafi et les neuf singes” in French. It was published in 1939.

9 monkes.JPG

One of the characters in the book was George, although he was called Fifi in the French version. Hans Rey thought that George deserved a book of his own.

But alas, war broke out.

On June 10, 1940, German troops were a few days away from Paris. People were trying to flee by  every way possible, cars,bicycles or whatever they could find. The Rey’s had left it a bit late but they managed to get 2 bikes.In fact Ray built the bikes himself, he had bought enough spare parts for 2 bicycles.

They left Paris only a few hours before it fell. Among the few possessions they were able to bring was the illustrated manuscript of Curious George.

Their journey  took them to Bayonne, France.On June 20, 1940.They crossed the Spanish border, where they purchased train tickets to Lisbon. Because they still had Brazilian passport  they returned to Brazil, they journeyed on from Brazil to New York.

The couple soon went to Houghton Mifflin publishers , they bought the manuscript for $1,000 and an additional three stories. The only demand  was that they change the name of Fifi to George.

The rest is history.

So next time you read a Curious George story yourself or to your children or other youngsters, remember that George nearly didn’t make it.

george fifi

 

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New York city, can be so pretty from a bird’s eye view.

Manhattan_from_Weehawken,_NJ

The title is from the song “When I first kissed you” by Extreme. A song I used on my wedding day. A bit of a lie really because I never been in New York, but I hope to go there someday soon. It is a beautiful song though

New York has captured the imagination of many people on the globe, whether you have been there or not its rich history  and influence will interest anyone. Therefore following below some historical aerial  pictures of the city that never sleeps.

The Hindenburg flies over New York City, just hours before meeting its fateful end. 1937.

hindenburg

The sun sets over the smog, clouds, and skyscrapers of New York. 1932.

sunset-over-new-york

The Carnegie Hill section of New York, long before skyscrapers. 1882.

carnegie-hill-new-york

Smog obscures New York’s Chrysler Building. 1952.

chrysler-building

Aerial view of Manhattan from New York Harbor, with the then-new World Trade Center’s Twin Towers looming above Wall Street buildings. Circa 1970.

manhattan-skyline-seventies

Aerial view from Upper New York Bay, looking north over Battery Park and the lower Manhattan skyline. 1923.

twenties-manhattan

View of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

aerial-worlds-fair

A Canadian plane flies over New York’s George Washington Bridge as it makes its way up the Hudson River en route to Montreal, Canada. 1939.

aerial-canada-airplane

New York’s Woolworth tower pokes through the clouds. 1928.

aerial-woolworth

An aerial view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Circa 1912

aerial-bk-bridge


 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

All that is interesting

Library of congress

The other impact of 9/11

US DOMESTIC NEWS

I was struggling to come up with an appropriate title ,this is the best I could come up with. In this blog I am not looking at the obvious impact of that awful day but to the impact it had on the entertainment industry and also how we looked at different aspects of climate change.

The entertainment industry.

There were many TV shows and movies affected by the attacks but I am only highlighting the aftermath of 9/11 on the 2 most popular shows at the time.

The Sopranos

the-sopranos-

Definitely in my top 3 of all time favourite TV shows, it really raised the bar for other shows coming after it.

I only started watching the show on box sets several years after it aired. For the first 3 season it had the World Trade Center in the opening credits. Where Tony Soprano catches a  quick glimpse of the buildings in the rear view mirror of his car.However in season 4 that sequence has been removed and changed.

SOPRANOS

Friends

friends

Although I never really got the show and why so many people were so fascinated by it, I do realize it is the most popular sitcom to have ever aired on a global scale.

In episode 3 of season 8, titled ‘The One Where Rachel Tells Ross”  which was filmed before the attacks. The original script included scenes where Chandler made fun of airport security and Monica seemed to issue terrorist commands to Joey and Phoebe by phone. The episode was supposed to be aired 2 weeks after the attack. The subplot was changed to Monica and Chandler newlywed privileges.

Climate Change

Global Dimming

One of the definitions of Global Dimming It is a phenomenon that happens due to reduction in the solar rays falling on the earth’s surface. The residues and particulates such as sulfur dioxide, ash, soot (black carbon), that are produced after combustion of fossil fuels cause global dimming .

I am not a climate expert but the way I understand it Global Dimming is the opposite of Global Warming.

dimming

Although the term Global Dimming had been branded about since the 1950’s,it was after the attacks where a more serious look was taken at the phenomenon.

Dr David Travis of University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, was on his way to work on September 12 2001, about 800 miles west of New York. He looked at the skies and noticed they appeared to be bluer  and much clearer then before.

For 15 years Dr Travis had been doing research on this  apparently obscure topic, on the effect of  vapour trails left by aircraft  and if they were having a significant effect on the climate. Because of all flights being grounded in the US directly after the attacks, Travis finally had a chance to find out.  During the period, an increase in diurnal temperature variation of over 1 °C (1.8 °F) was observed in some parts of the U.S.The 1 degree Celsius reduction in temperature is may not mean anything for a common man, but scientific records show that this sort of abrupt reduction in temperature can have adverse effects in the future.

Ironically this opportunity to study the effects of the contrails was one of the few positives to come from the 9/11 attacks.

WTC

 

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

BBC

HBO

Friends

Help Save Nature

When the Dutch gave New Netherland to the Brits

treaty

Although the Dutch and the Brits are good friends now, it was not always thus. There have been several Anglo-Dutch wars.

The 3rd ,  Anglo-Dutch war ended this day in 1674 by the signing of the Westmnster Treaty of 1647. The English were dismayed by the unexpected fact that Dutch raiders managed to capture more English ships than vice versa and that New Amsterdam had been retaken by the Dutch in 1673.

New Amsterdam was the Capital city of New Netherland

New_Netherland_'NOVI_BELGII_NOVAEQUE_ANGLIAE_NEC_NON_PARTIS_VIRGINIAE_TABULA'

It was located on the east coast of North America(the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod,  part of the Mid-Atlantic States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, and  outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.)

Part of the treaty was that New Netherland was to be returned to the Brits, while the Dutch kept Surinam.

The official peace was proclaimed  was proclaimed at Whitehall on 27 February at 10.00 am.

New Amsterdam is now called New York of course.

New_York_City_harbor_print

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The Case of the Treasonous Dolls

Dickinsondollshop

The facts of the case are odd.

Five letters were written in early 1942 and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at a Buenos Aires, Argentina, address.

Velvaleedickinsonfeb221942letter

In early 1942, five letters were written and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even more strangely, all of them bounced “Return to Sender”—and the “senders” on the return address (women in Oregon, Ohio, Colorado, and Washington state) knew nothing about the letters and had not sent them.

The FBI learned about all this when wartime censors intercepted one letter postmarked in Portland, Oregon, puzzled over its strange contents, and referred it to cryptographers at the FBI Laboratory. These experts concluded that the three “Old English dolls” left at “a wonderful doll hospital” for repairs might well mean three warships being repaired at a west coast naval shipyard; that “fish nets” meant submarine nets; and that “balloons” referred to defense installations.

One of the letters, supposedly sent by a Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, did indicate her home address – 1808 E High Street – but had been postmarked in New York, a place she had never been. The letter, primarily discussing dolls, contained references to a “Mr. Shaw, who had been ill but would be back to work soon.” The letter corresponded to information that the destroyer USS Shaw, which had been damaged in the Pearl Harbor attack, completed repairs on the West Coast and was soon to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.

Another letter, given to the FBI in August of that year and said to have been written by a woman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was postmarked from Oakland, California. That letter, written in February, made reference to seven small dolls which the writer stated would be altered to look as though they were “seven real Chinese dolls”, designed to mimic a family of parents, grandparents and three children. The FBI determined that the letter was written shortly after a convoy of ships had arrived at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. The letter contained certain details about the ships, that if made public, would have been detrimental to the war effort.

 

The FBI immediately opened an investigation.

It was May 20, 1942, when a woman in Seattle turned over the crucial second letter. It said, “The wife of an important business associate gave her an old German bisque Doll dressed in a Hulu Grass skirt…I broke this awful doll…I walked all over Seattle to get someone to repair it….”

ef050db0-bd57-46aa-bc4a-1acdaac1c347

In short order, the FBI turned up the other letters. It determined that all five were using “doll code” to describe vital information about U.S. naval matters. All had forged signatures that had been made from authentic original signatures. All had typing characteristics that showed they were typed by the same person on different typewriters. How to put these clues together?

It was the woman in Colorado who provided the big break. She, like the other purported letter senders, was a doll collector, and she believed that a Madison Avenue doll shop owner, Mrs. Velvalee Dickinson, was responsible. She said Ms. Dickinson was angry with her because she’d been late paying for some dolls she’d ordered. That name was a match: the other women were also her customers.

Velvaleedickinson

Who was Velvalee Malvena Dickinson? Basically, a mystery. She was born in California and lived there until she moved with her husband to New York City in 1937. She opened a doll shop on Madison Avenue that same year, catering to wealthy doll collectors and hobbyists, but she struggled to keep it afloat. It also turned out that she had a long and close association with the Japanese diplomatic mission in the U.S.—and she had $13,000 in her safe deposit box traceable to Japanese sources.

Following her guilty plea on July 28, 1944, Ms. Dickinson detailed how she’d gathered intelligence at U.S. shipyards and how she’d used the code provided by Japanese Naval Attaché Ichiro Yokoyama to craft the letters. What we’ll never know is why the letters had been, thankfully, incorrectly addressed.

Yokoyama_Ichiro

 

FBI Laboratory examination of all five letters confirmed that the signatures on the letters were not genuine, but were forgeries which the experts decided were prepared from original signatures in the possession of the forger. The examination also showed that the typewriter used in the preparation of the letters was different in each case, but that the typing characteristics indicated that the letters were prepared by the same person.

The conclusion reached by the FBI cryptographers was that an open code was used in the letters, which attempted to convey information on the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the ships of the U.S. Navy, their location, condition, and repair, with special emphasis on the damage of such vessels at Pearl Harbo

high

On February 11, 1944, Velvalee Malvena Dickinson was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for violation of the censorship statutes, conviction of which could result in a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

She pleaded not guilty and was held in lieu of $25,000 bail. A continuing investigation by the FBI resulted in a second indictment on May 5, this time on charges of violating espionage statutes, the Trading with the Enemy Act, tradingwithenemy00natirichand the censorship statutes, conviction of which carried the death penalty. She pleaded not guilty and was released on the same bail.On July 28, 1944, a plea bargain was made between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Dickinson in which the espionage and Trade Act indictments were dismissed and she pleaded guilty to the censorship violation and agreed to furnish information in her possession concerning Japanese intelligence activities.

After pleading guilty, she admitted that she had typed the five forged letters addressed to Argentina, using correspondence with her customers to forge their signatures.

She claimed the information compiled in her letters was from asking innocent and unsuspecting citizens in Seattle and San Francisco near the location of the Navy yards there, as well as some details from personal observation. She stated that the letters transmitted information about ships damaged at Pearl Harbor and that the names of the dolls corresponded to a list that explained the type of ships involved. She furthermore stated that the code to be used in the letters, instructions for use of the code, and $25,000 in $100 bills had been passed to her husband by Yokoyama around November 26, 1941, in her doll store at 718 Madison Avenue for the purpose of supplying information to the Japanese. She repeated her claims that the money had been hidden in her husband’s bed until his death.

However, an investigation by the FBI refuted those claims, disclosing that while Dickinson had been a friend of Yokoyama, her husband had never met him. It was also learned that a physical examination done on him at the time indicated that his mental faculties were impaired at the time of the supposed payment. Both a nurse and a maid employed by the Dickinsons at the time emphatically stated that no money had ever been concealed there.

Velvalee Dickinson appeared in court for sentencing on August 14, 1944. Upon sentencing, the court commented:

It is hard to believe that some people do not realize that our country is engaged in a life and death struggle. Any help given to the enemy means the death of American boys who are fighting for our national security. You, as a natural-born citizen, having a University education, and selling out to the Japanese, were certainly engaged in espionage. I think that you have been given every consideration by the Government. The indictment to which you have pleaded guilty is a serious matter. It borders close to treason. I, therefore, sentence you to the maximum penalty provided by the law, which is ten years and $10,000 fine.

Still maintaining her innocence and claiming that her ,at that stage deceased. husband had been the Japanese spy, Dickinson was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution for Women (now the Alderson Federal Prison Camp) in Alderson, West Virginia. She was released with conditions on April 23, 1951.

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