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Anninyn
06-18-2014, 03:31 PM
I'm writing a ghost story and some of the back story hinges on abuse and murder committed by a woman/group of women in Victorian England - around 1860ish.

I've been doing my own research and have already found a number of useful resources, but it would be helpful if people could direct me towards books (available in the UK or on kobo please), articles, blogs etc that could be useful to me.

I'm especially interested in books that discuss the relationship between victorian attitudes to gender and the punishment of female murderers. I am also very interested in information about murder pacts, the psychology of cults, and any victorian women who killed as part of a group or a pairing.

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 03:44 PM
Lucy Worsley did a series about Victorian murders late last year. But I can't remember what it was called. If you can find a website, it may have some good sources.

Hold on, let me look

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 03:47 PM
It was called A Very British Murder. And it lead me to this (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/21498933)website. But I don't know how much help it will be.

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 03:58 PM
I found this which says that the Ancestry website has details of Victorian prisoners. It also has contemporary reports attached to the photos

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/feb/25/victorian-female-prisoners-records-genealogy

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 04:01 PM
This is very interesting! From a website called Wayward Women.

http://waywardwomen.wordpress.com/

Anninyn
06-18-2014, 04:04 PM
Thanks! I found wayward women already, and have subscribed because I figure they'll be useful. The rest will be good too.

I am especially interested in the baby farmers and brothel madams, as well as cases where a woman may have abused or murdered her staff.

I've already found a few baby farmer cases that have gone in my research folder, but the others are proving harder to track down with my GCSE-level knowledge of history.

Helix
06-18-2014, 04:05 PM
This is very interesting! From a website called Wayward Women.

http://waywardwomen.wordpress.com/


Oh, that's a find! What a bunch of ne'er do wells.

I found this -- Victorian poisoners (http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Victorian-Poisoners/).

ETA: I didn't see the last comment. Have you got Amelia Dyer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Dyer)?

Anninyn
06-18-2014, 04:14 PM
Oh, that's a find! What a bunch of ne'er do wells.

I found this -- Victorian poisoners (http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Victorian-Poisoners/).

ETA: I didn't see the last comment. Have you got Amelia Dyer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Dyer)?

I do have Amelia Dyer. She was the first woman I found in my google search. She gives me chills, that quote about how she liked to watch the babies die.

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 04:14 PM
I am especially interested in the baby farmers and brothel madams, as well as cases where a woman may have abused or murdered her staff.

I've already found a few baby farmer cases that have gone in my research folder, but the others are proving harder to track down with my GCSE-level knowledge of history.

I just found this about Lucy Emms but some of the facts may need checking.

http://www.holme-next-the-sea.co.uk/ryderarc/lucyemms/lucyemmsstory.htm

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 04:18 PM
This Google page has a document about half way down with an interesting view of Magaret Waters and the reaction of press and society to her crime, trial and execution.

https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHFX_enGB512GB512&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#q=victorian%20baby%20farmers

Might be good for background.

Anninyn
06-18-2014, 04:23 PM
Miranda, you are an angel.

mirandashell
06-18-2014, 04:26 PM
I would love a job as a researcher but can't find anyone to pay me enough! :D

Forsooth
06-18-2014, 04:33 PM
What about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Pearcey ?

Anninyn
06-18-2014, 04:52 PM
Oh, she's earlier than I need, but Elizabeth Brownrigg tortured and murdered a 14 year old maidservant. More stuff like her would be good http://murderpedia.org/female.B/b/brownrigg-elizabeth.htm

Anninyn
06-18-2014, 04:52 PM
What about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Pearcey ?

Yep, she's useful too.

Wilde_at_heart
06-18-2014, 05:50 PM
This might be a good site to try as well - http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.ca/

On the right hand side if you scroll down, there are links to other Historical blogs as well.

Maybe look for True Crime books written in the 1920s or earlier - I used to have a really good one that included dozens of cases including plenty of women, but can't find it on my bookshelf right now - closer to that era will convey contemporary attitudes more accurately as well.

Ramshackle
06-18-2014, 06:01 PM
James Berry was an executioner in the 1880s who wrote down a lot of his experiences. He hung five women, so it might be worth searching up his writing relating to those cases if you haven't already. If I recall correctly, he sometimes put down his thoughts about the people and the crimes, as well as details on the execution.

mrsmig
06-18-2014, 07:22 PM
It may be a little too in-depth for the kind of research you're doing, but Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher recounts the story of an uppercrust child murderess. It's a fascinating read - one of the best true-crime books I've read in years.

ULTRAGOTHA
06-18-2014, 09:46 PM
James Berry was an executioner in the 1880s who wrote down a lot of his experiences. He hung five women, so it might be worth searching up his writing relating to those cases if you haven't already. If I recall correctly, he sometimes put down his thoughts about the people and the crimes, as well as details on the execution.

Things out of copyright can be found on archive.org. It's a bit awkward to search, you might want to use Google instead of their search engine, but they have an astonishing number of books and other documents that are out of copyright.

RN Hill
06-21-2014, 06:48 AM
Do you have this book? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/29/pleasant-thoughts-of-murder-in-the-victorian-era.html (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/29/pleasant-thoughts-of-murder-in-the-victorian-era.html) This looks so good, I think I'm going to get it for myself!

We had a lot of pretty evil women here in America, too, so if you kind of just want to get the mindset, you might look at some of them. Delphine LaLaurie of New Orleans was earlier than you're thinking (1830s) but holy cow, she was sadistic. Belle Gunness, a bit later (1890s) who murdered at least 40 people, mostly men she used for money. There was also a woman in Chicago about the same time who was thought to have murdered several men, and of course the Bender family, who murdered at least 21 victims in Kansas in the late 1800s.

If you have access to JSTOR or another journal catalog, that might yield some more scholarly articles with some good primary source material.

cmhbob
06-21-2014, 07:29 AM
Here's a PDF I saved off a while back about Baby Farmers.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12422258/The%20Baby%20Farmers.pdf

Shakesbear
06-21-2014, 06:16 PM
This is a bit earlier - 1829 - but the way in which the women are described may be of use as a pointer to attitudes at the time. There is also quite a bit of detail.

ESTHER HIBNER THE ELDER, ESTHER HIBNER THE YOUNGER, AND ANN ROBINSON Tried for the Murder of a Parish Apprentice, who died as the Result of Inhuman Treatment, 10th of April, 1829
http://www.britishexecutions.co.uk/execution-content.php?key=2368

flapperphilosopher
06-21-2014, 08:12 PM
Do you have this book? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/29/pleasant-thoughts-of-murder-in-the-victorian-era.html (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/29/pleasant-thoughts-of-murder-in-the-victorian-era.html) This looks so good, I think I'm going to get it for myself!


I read this book (thanks for the link, I could not remember the title!) and I thought it was fascinating-- lots on the media presentations of various murder cases, but also a lot of detail on the murders themselves and the prosecution etc. I don't remember all the details but there were a lot of female murders, the media looooved stories of female murderers.

Anninyn
06-21-2014, 08:40 PM
Oh, wow, thanks, those will all be really useful.

Day Agent
06-21-2014, 11:07 PM
The British Newspaper Archive (http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results/1837-06-20/1901-01-22?basicsearch=murderess&somesearch=murderess&contenttype=article&sortorder=score) might be worth a subscription.

Anninyn
06-22-2014, 08:15 PM
The British Newspaper Archive (http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results/1837-06-20/1901-01-22?basicsearch=murderess&somesearch=murderess&contenttype=article&sortorder=score) might be worth a subscription.

Probably, but I can't really afford one. I have very little money of my own right now.

Hopefully I can afford one not too far in the future.

Day Agent
06-22-2014, 09:04 PM
Probably, but I can't really afford one. I have very little money of my own right now.

Hopefully I can afford one not too far in the future.

According to the British Library's page on the archive (http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/news/bna/) it can be used for free at the British Library’s Reading Rooms in St Pancras and Boston Spa, but given the amount of feedback in this thread it may be more of a research trap than a boon at this point.

Anninyn
06-23-2014, 12:20 AM
According to the British Library's page on the archive (http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/news/bna/) it can be used for free at the British Library’s Reading Rooms in St Pancras and Boston Spa, but given the amount of feedback in this thread it may be more of a research trap than a boon at this point.

I also live around 120 miles away from the closest of those.

It might be useful at a future point, or for another book however.