Monday, December 06, 2004

Sometimes I really like my job. Here's an example of why.

Last week I got a question that was pretty interesting. A woman emailed us asking if we had any way of finding information about her grandfather and great-uncle who were involved with a homemade bomb back in the '30s that killed a woman. I was somewhat skeptical about finding anything on it -- mostly because she didn't have a precise date and it wasn't in Baltimore. So I went back to check our Sun index cards and found entries from 1930. (She is really, really lucky that I was lazy and started with the cards we have moved over so far -- she said 1932 which would have been too late.) The story is quite involved and I found it pretty fascinating. So here goes:

Herman Brady married Naomi Clark in November but didn't reveal the marriage to either of the families until around Christmas time in 1929. Meanwhile, a package was delivered to the Clark home where it stayed unopened until New Year's Day, 1930. Naomi opened the package that day with many members of her family around. The package turned out to be a bomb and it exploded, killing Naomi and injuring six members of her family. Two of them later died from their injuries, including Naomi's younger brother who was around three.

The police eventually questioned several members of the family, including an elderly uncle, Herman Brady, the husband, and Leroy Brady, the brother-in-law. Eventually Herman and Lawrence were arrrested and put on trial for making the bomb. The first trial ended in a mistrial and the case moved to Annapolis for a retrial. This time Herman was acquited of taking part in the crime and Leroy was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to ten years. The motive for the crime wasn't very clear -- and I haven't really gone through the articles carefully -- but apparently Leroy knew Naomi "intimately" before she married Herman and he didn't feel that she was right for his brother.

I checked the New York Times online index (which goes back to 1851) and found that the "Gift Bombing" even made the New York Times.

I find reading about crimes that happened years ago to be really interesting. Especially when they seem just as bad or even worse than what happens now. Most of the time the questions I get at work are pretty routine, but I always enjoy being a librarian a little more when I get to research something interesting.

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