Nathan Leopold, Birdwatcher and Assassin – Ornithology


You may be acquainted with probably the most well-known murders of the 20th century, that dedicated by Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, youngsters who killed a 14 yr outdated Bobby Franks in 1924 apparently for thrills, cash, and the thought that they had been good sufficient to get away with it. They had been intellectually astute and completed – Leopold spoke 5 languages fluently and skim one other ten; Loeb graduated from the College of Michigan on the age of 17. They had been caught 10 days after the homicide. Defended in courtroom by the well-known Clarence Darrow, they had been convicted and sentenced to life plus 99 years. It’s an attention-grabbing story that’s been tailored into screenplays, movies, and fiction.

Nathan Leopold

Rereading the story within the e book The Leopold and Loeb Files, I used to be fascinated to study that Nathan Leopold was an avid birdwatcher who amassed a big private assortment of birds and taught subject courses in ornithology to youngsters and married (no singles) ladies (attention-grabbing). He spent many hours birdwatching within the Chicago space and shot over 3000 birds which he preserved and saved within the third story of his mother and father’ mansion dwelling. He apparently wasn’t intimidated by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918 which protects all migratory birds as a result of enforcement was minimal on the time. Like many male naturalists of his time, he wore a go well with, albeit an outdated one, on his birdwatching journeys, the identical go well with he wore on the day of the homicide. Within the means of disposing of the physique, a pair of glasses fell out of the breast pocket, offering a bit of proof for his conviction.

Nathan Leopold had a particular curiosity in a uncommon songbird referred to as the Kirtland’s Warbler. On the time of the Franks homicide, Leopold most likely knew extra in regards to the Kirtland’s Warbler than anybody within the nation. In the summertime of 1923, Leopold travelled to northern Michigan in quest of the warbler, took copious notes, and picked up a number of of the birds with a shotgun. In October, Leopold went to Boston to ship a paper on the Kirtland’s Warbler on the annual assembly of the American Ornithologists’ Union and later revealed a paper within the society’s journal, the Auk, in 1924. You’ll be able to learn extra in regards to the Kirtland’s Warbler and the museum show of the chook in The Murderer and the Museum Curator – Nathan Leopold and Kirtland’s Warbler.

After his conviction, Leopold was a remorseful prisoner. He continued his obsession with studying, ultimately mastering 28 languages. He taught different prisoners, volunteered for malaria testing, reformed the Joliet, IL jail’s library and academic system, and labored within the jail hospital. He apparently stored canaries as did Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. Following his launch in 1958, Leopold moved to Puerto Rico the place he studied birds, taught arithmetic on the College of Puerto Rico, and labored as an x-ray technician in a hospital. In 1961 he married a widow who was working in a flower store in San Juan. Leopold spent a lot of his free time within the island forests observing birds and revealed a e book entitled “A Guidelines of the Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”

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