Browse Exhibits (6 total)

Visuality in the Archive


The purpose of this exhibit is to exoplore the politics of visuality - the use of images - in the "Poor Sinners' Pamphlets." While a majority of the documents are text only, some include engravings detailing the crimes described in the pamphlets, the execution, or both. Given the heightened cost associated with the creation and printing of images, these visuals are indications that the crimes described relate to notorious criminals and robbers or describe especially violent crimes. For a largely illiterate public, these images convey the moralistic and cautionary message of the pamphlets through visual means - presenting the consequences of crime and the momvents just before (and after) execution. And yet they also indicate the significance of spectacle and spectatorship in the consumption of these pahmplets as well as in crowds, including children and families, watching the executions.



Serial Crimes


The Serial Crimes exhibit explores serialized offenses and recidivism in the archive - the stories of criminals who charged with multiple, serial offenses or those who replace into crime. As a selection criterion, we have decided to classify as "serial" those documents which depict at least three crimes or murders committed by the same offender/s. Often, these crimes are committed over a longer time span such as decades.

Women in the Archive


This collection of pamphlets discusses the stories of women in the archive, stories of crimes against women and those perpetrated by them. Traditionally, the experiences of women have been glossed over by historians: this exhibition seeks to feature the stories and experiences of women as a means of counteracting the overwhelming bias favoring the male perspective. Indeed, while much of the history of the eighteenth and nineteenth century focuses on the deeds of men, the stories of women make up an integral part of the "Poor Sinners' Pamphlets" collection. 



The Confessions Exhibit includes items documenting confessions of crimes ranging from the 18th-19th century. In many instances, the items contain sentences and punishments that were carried out based on the confessions, emphasizing not the trial, but the crime, the punishment, and the moral implications of both. As this exhibits explores, "confessions" were often extracted under durress and are thus - then as they often are now - of dubious legal status. 


Wohlverdientes Todesurtheil nebst einer Moralrede des Johann Georg Schötl, in folge eines vom Richter, und Gericht zu Gärmisch der hochfürstl. freysingerischen Reichs ohnmittelbaren Grafschaft Werdenfels als gewöhnlichen Recht- und Urtheilsprechern  in dem hierüber abgehaltenen Malefizrech nach ordentlich beschehener Umfrage, und eingeholten Stimmen ausgefallen, und von einer hochfürstl. hochlobl. weltlichen Regierung Freysing gnädigt.ratificirten peinlichen Urtheils wegen grausam und vorseltzlich verübter Mordtthat an der Reindlmühlerinn zu Mittenwald, dann begangenen Raub, und an dem vier bis fünf-jährigen Mühlertöchterlein attendirten Mordt heut den 20sten März 1772 allhier zu Gärmisch zur Richtstatt geschleipfet,und währender Hinausschleipfung mit glüenden Zangenriß an dem rechten Arm einmal hergenommen, sofort von unten auf lebendig gerädert, und der todte Körper auf das Rad geleget worden.

This is an exhibit dedicated to the pamphlets "Moralreden" ("moral poems"), which are the moralistic poems that (in most cases) appear at the end of the pamphlets. They recount the horrendous crimes committed by the perpetrator, describe the execution, and, after the criminal has been laid to rest, appeal to God for mercy. Often mechanical, quickly written, and repetitive, these Moralreden lend themselves to computational analysis, the possibilities and limits of which this exhibit explores. This collection includes 6 moralrede and 1 poem from the 101 documents.  

Louis Mandrin: Outlaw or Hero?

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Louis Mandrin has been called both a criminal outlaw and a hero. According to the account provided by the pamphlet in our collection, Mandrin was an illegal smuggler with no regard for the law or for the lives that were lost as a result of his operations. Other accounts, however, portray Mandrin as a loyal and fair man and as an individual concerned with the rights and freedoms of the poor.