Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
CORONER HOFFMAN'S REPORT
" IS NOT PLEASANT READING
Coroner Peter Hoffman has com
pleted his biennial report for 1912
and 1913. In the- preface he an
nounces "it is not. meant for pleas
ant reading" He is right.
It is not pleasant reading. On the
contrary it might be .called ghastly
reading. It tells of 10,992 deaths in
Chicago. And under normal circum
stances over half could have been
Hoffman has been handling the
sudden and violent deaths in Cook
county so long that he regards death
as a scientist regards it.
To the death situation in Cook
county he applies Herbert Spencer's
"law of momentum." Hoffman's an
alysis might be called humorous if it
were not so grim. By the "law of
momentum' he figures that 12,000
persons are now contemplating end
ing their lives.
Parker H. Sercombe, statistician of
the coroner's office, .and Hoffman
have collaborated On the report. To
back up their "momentum" theory
they giye the following reasoning:
"We know," the report reads, "that
in 1914 approximately 1,000 persons
hi' Cook county will attempt suicide;
that of these about 583 will succeed,
and that there are about 12,000 peo
ple contemplating suicide all the
time, a percentage of whom, with the
constant accretions, will form the
suicide rolls pf the coming years.
. "So uniform is the operation of
the natural law which controls the
fate of mankind that we know under
the present conditions that in 1914,
and until new educational systems
have had a chance to take effect,
about 150 will use carbolic acid, 15
corrosive sublimate, 7 cyanide of
potassium, 6 arsenic, etc.
"While it is impossible to name the
unfortunates, we know, too, that
with the present population and until
our social, economic and educa-
tipnal systems undergo fundamental
change, each year approximately 140
will commit suicide by shooting, 120
by asphyxiation. 60 by hanging. 24
by stabbing, 20 by drowning, and 14
by jumping out of windows."
But the biggest part is Sercombe's
analysis of the increase of the sui
cides. "Suicides increased from 523 in
1911 to 554 in 1912 and 572 in 1913.
This is a remarkably rapid increase,
far in excess of the increase in popu
lation. It is a special doctrine of so
ciologists that the number of suicides
in any community is a reliable gauge
by which to measure the community's
efficiency in the line of social justice.
This increase should become the sub
ject of thoughtful inquiry on the part
of educators, moralists and social
"By far the greater part of suicides
can be traced directly J.o economic
.pressure to low wages," said Ser
combe. "I am also cqmpiling some
health, fire and school statistics and I
find the effect of economic pressure
Sercombe is planning some new
figures of this kind that will show
that thousands of people lose their
courage and end their lives after a
struggle with the cost of living.
FEAR MAYS GIRL HAS FALLEN
INTO HANDS OF NEGROES
The family of Marjorie Mays, the
17-year-old girl who disappeared
while on her way to work May 1,
fears that she has fallen into the
hands of negroes.
The father, W. H. Mays, is one of
the state's most important witnesses
in the case of Isaac C. Bond, the ne-'
gro held for the slaying of Ida. Leeg
son, the art student who was found
murdered Oct. 5.
Mays says that shortly after he ap-
peared before the -grand jury in the
Bond -case, a man, whose voice
sounded like a negro, called up and
made threats against the family.
Middletown, O. 2 persons dead, 3
injured, result of auto accident