John Rathbone Oliver Criminological Collection

Description

John Rathbone Oliver (1872-1943), Harvard graduate, priest, classical scholar, and physician specializing in psychiatry, was the Chief Medical Officer to the Supreme Bench of Baltimore from 1917 until 1930 and professor of the history of medicine at the University of Maryland Medical School, from 1927 until 1938. Oliver was a great-grandson of the brother-in-law of the murdered physician George Parkman (1790-1849) and to this fact he attributed his initial interest in criminology and criminal psychiatry. In his 1929 autobiography, Foursquare, Oliver says of his collection, “It has grown into a mass of printed and written material—books and pamphlets and autographs—that cover three sides of my largest room…. There is, I believe, no important English or American trial which is not represented in this collection of mine, for the sake of which I have squandered my earnings and have borne the burden of indebtedness to booksellers in almost all parts of the world. And inasmuch as human inventiveness is very limited, a knowledge of what this collection of mine contains makes even the cleverest crime story of to-day seem dull, and shows up the record of every new murder as an old tale already many times told.”

The Oliver Criminological Collection covers the late 17th century through the early 1930s and includes trial transcripts, rare pamphlets, broadside ballads, newspaper clippings, journal extracts, prints and engravings, and ephemera dealing with murder cases, executions, prisons, and criminal behavior, generally. Dr. Oliver donated his collection to Harvard to form a key historical component of the Magrath Library of Legal Medicine in 1936.

Items in the John Rathbone Oliver Criminological Collection Collection

The Oliver Criminological Collection includes a substantial array of pamphlets, trial accounts, and popular ephemera from the sensational Tichborne Claimant case of the 1870s. Orton, a butcher in Wagga Wagga, Australia, claimed to be Sir Roger…

The Oliver Criminological Collection includes a substantial array of pamphlets, trial accounts, and popular ephemera from the sensational Tichborne Claimant case of the 1870s. Orton, a butcher in Wagga Wagga, Australia, claimed to be Sir Roger…

The Oliver Criminological Collection includes a substantial array of pamphlets, trial accounts, and popular ephemera from the sensational Tichborne Claimant case of the 1870s, including this broadside satirical poem defending the claims of Arthur…

The John Rathbone Oliver Criminological Collection includes a number of popular English broadside ballads commemorating murders, rare trials, and executions as part of Oliver’s interest in psychiatry and criminal motivation. Catherine Lewis, a…

The Oliver Criminological Collection includes a substantial array of pamphlets, trial accounts, and popular ephemera from the sensational Tichborne Claimant case of the 1870s. Orton, a butcher in Wagga Wagga, Australia, claimed to be Sir Roger…

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