“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, July 14, 1921, Norfolk County Courthouse, Dedham, Massachusetts

The jury takes only three hours and a dinner break to convict the defendants, Nicola Sacco, 30, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 33, of first degree murder in the robbery and shooting of two men at the Slater & Morrill Shoe Co. in Braintree, Massachusetts, last year.

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

Or were they really convicted for being Italian immigrant draft-dodging anarchists?

Throughout the more than seven-week trial, Judge Webster Thayer, 64, fought with Sacco’s California attorney, Fred H. Moore, 51. During one lunch recess, reporters heard the judge say,

No long-haired anarchist from California can run this court!…You wait till I give my charge to the jury. I’ll show them.”

The men’s alibis—on the day of the robbery and murders Sacco was having his passport renewed at the Italian consulate and Vanzetti was selling fish—were backed up by credible witnesses.

Of all the evidence, Judge Thayer kept coming back to a cap that was found at the scene and was supposed to be Sacco’s. But, when Sacco tried it on in court, the cap didn’t fit.

The prosecution did catch a few lies in the men’s testimony, but neither Sacco nor Vanzetti ever denied being an anarchist.

Judge Thayer pronounces his sentence. Death by electric chair.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in print and e-book format on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I am talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh. This fall I will be talking about Writers Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April 15, 1920, Braintree, Massachusetts

At the Slater & Morrill Shoe Co., on Pearl Street, the company paymaster and a security guard are walking with the payroll to the main building.

Two armed men—witnesses say they looked Italian—grab the metal boxes holding more than $15,000, shoot the guard four times as he reaches for his gun, and shoot the other, unarmed, man in the back as he tries to run away.

Three other men pull up in a dark blue Buick. The robbers jump in and keep shooting out the window as the car speeds them away.

Slater & Morrill shoe factory

Slater & Morrill Shoe Co., Braintree, Massachusetts

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

In 2020 I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.