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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

"Most Horrible and Shocking Murders" - National Library of Medicine (USA)

Hundreds of years before television crime shows and Agatha Christie murder mysteries, people got their thrills from "true crime" tales told in murder pamphlets. A new National Library of Medicine Web site, "Most Horrible and Shocking Murders," provides a unique look at these pamphlets, which have been a rich source for crime novelists, historians of medicine, and cultural historians. Michael Sappol, PhD, a historian in the NLM History of Medicine Division says the public has had an appetite for true crime ever since the invention of movable type in the mid-1400s. Murder pamphlets have been hawked on street corners, town squares, taverns, coffee houses, newsstands and book shops for more than five centuries. NLM has several hundred murder pamphlets in its collection. Sappol culled nearly 30 pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s for "Most Horrible and Shocking Murders"

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