‘City of Brotherly Mayhem‘ is a collection of short reflections, culled from old newspaper clippings, on more than a dozen more prominent crimes and murders in Philadelphia between the 1860s and the 1970s.
Written by longtime Philadelphia newspaperman Ron Avery, the book is short on design and polish, but serves as a good piece connecting the dots on some important cultural moments in Philadelphia’s modern history.
Find it on Google Books here.
Some of the more interesting highlights:
- The Murder of Octavius Catto — The racially motivated 1871 assasination of an early nationally-regarded black civil rights leader.
- The Charley Ross Kidnapping — The 1874 kidnapping of a privileged four-year-old that caused national media attention that rivaled the Lindbergh kidnapping 50 years later.
- Mayhem in the Bloody Fifth — Remarkable Election Day hijinks in 1917 that went straight to the top, including mayoral involvement.
- The Boy in the Box — The notorious 1957 murder of a 4 to 6-year-old boy whose identity and killer were never discovered.
- A Not So Gay Life — In 1975, newspaper chain heir John S. Knight III was savagely killed in his Rittenhouse Square penthouse.