Broadsides: Bloody Murders

Crime Broadsides at the Harvard Law School Library
The Harvard Law School Library just announced a new digital collection highlighting crime broadsides. The collection is online here and the collection description is: “Just as programs are sold at sporting events today, broadsides–styled at the time as “Last Dying Speeches” or “Bloody Murders”–were sold to the audience that gathered to witness public executions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain.” The broadsides span 1707 to 1891 and include accounts of executions for various common and uncommon crimes. Now, researchers can see both the cultural reception of sentences as well as the court documents from London’s central criminal court, the Old Bailey (the proceedings of which are now online). Having these materials online is a boon to researchers for seeing the culture at the time in terms of law, news, and media. The entire broadside, zine-esque form is also interesting in light of blogs and online newszines.