Well, hold on there, sport. Doesn't this mean a great deal of remarkable tales will be coming soon?

Okay, a great deal of tales?

Okay, something completely different than the usual tales that follow a Hiatus?

Okay, the usual tales but maybe something else?

Okay then. And think how nice it will be to settle back into the regular features, our hearts fonder by their absence. So let's begin.

A reader sent me this book.

It’s a memoir with an unprepossessing title. Judging by the frontispiece, it was self-published. So . . . an account of a fellow’s life, I guess? A piece of history of no particular importance?

Hoo boy

  It was written by Paul Ferrell. Then . . .
  . . . and at the time of publication, more or less.

The tale begins with his youth and travels and work. He ends up in Minneapolis, where he marries, and opens a restaurant on Washington Avenue. Let’s cut to chapter 6.


Troubles Begin - Wife Turns Stool Pigeon for the Minneapolis Police Department - Paul Arrested on Trumped-up Charge - Serves Thirty Days in St. Paul Workhouse


In the summer of that year, 1925, I noticed that a change had come over my wife, a woman whom I loved and in whom I had perfect trust, and who, I had every reason to believe, would never do a wrong thing towards me.

She became irritable and quarrelsome. She would pick up the baby, take the maid with her, and leave. For a week at a time I would not know where they were. I would always find out afterward that she had come over to Minneapolis, leased a furnished apartment and lived in it a few days, after which she would again make her appearance at the restaurant, saying she was sorry for the trouble we had had, and then she would return home - but only to quarrel with me again, and later to repeat the same thing.

Yes, I’d say that’s “a change.”

They lived here.

A large place for two and a tot. He continues:

Matters were going along this way all summer, and I couldn't understand what had come over her.

During the late summer of 1925, my wife became what is known as "copper-hearted," otherwise, "stool pigeon" for the Minneapolis police department.

Copper-hearted: never heard that one before.

It was in the latter part of the summer, some time in late August, when, one afternoon, into our place came one of the Minneapolis city detectives. He was well acquainted with my wife and myself, and dropped in every few days. This particular afternoon, he showed us a picture of a young man, and said: "This young fellow was doing a five-year stretch in the State's Prison at Stillwater, and he escaped, and they think possibly he might be hiding somewhere in the Twin Cities.”

I looked at the picture and said that I had never seen him that I knew of. My wife looked at it, and said: "Yes, that fellow has been in here within the last few days."

"Well," said the city detective, "there is a $50 reward out for him, Mrs. Ferrell, and if you can spot him for us, and I get the $50 reward, I will give you half. I'll go over to Police Headquarters and tell them that you are going to report the minute he comes in to the Ever Ready Lunch Room, and this will be the code, so if he is standing there hearing it, he will not become suspicious.”

Ferrell has perfect recall for conversations.

There’s nothing in the papers about a Stillwater escapee in 1925.

Apparently this was the beginning of the wife’s involvement with the police, although he's vague about what it means. But soon he knows.

Let’s jump ahead. Ferrell, at some point, says the cops were out to get him.

The particular political bandit who was out to "get" me was James J. McGuire, Captain of the Minneapolis Central Police Station, and—as you will see he was out to get me through my wife.

When I first knew Captain McGuire, in 1919, he was a plain clothes man, traveling out of the Minneapolis Central Police Station.

He was a married man with five or six grown sons and daughters, and he and I became great friends. Every Saturday he would come down to my Ever Ready Lunch Room and load up his car with pies and cakes and doughnuts, which he took home with him to his family for Sunday, and for which I never charged him a cent.

Didn’t seem to do Ferrell any good, though. We know McGuire was a real guy:

Ferrell's antagonist.

  McGuire made the paper when he went over to work for the noted Earle Brown, about whom much has been said elsewhere. He was already known for his willingness to pop a yegg in the brainpan, I guess.

Apparently he moved back to the Minneapolis force. And so:

In the fall of 1925, there was living in one of our apartments an elderly woman—a very intimate friend of my wife. One night I met her in the hall and she started an argument with me, and she claimed that I struck her at that time, which I certainly did not do.

How could I do such an unpardonable thing as striking a woman!

But the next day she went downtown in St. Paul to the city attorney's office and swore out a warrant for my arrest on an assault and battery charge. On the evening of November 12, 1925, the St. Paul police arrested me at the Ritz Hotel in Minneapolis and took me over to the Prior Police Station in Midway, St. Paul, and put me in jail.

This was the beginning of that spider's web I have mentioned.

Indeed it was, inasmuch as the rest of the man’s story consists of false charges made by an interlocking group of enemies sworn to bring him down.

If you’re not suspicious yet, here’s the rest of the page:

The next morning I was taken to court, and I secured the services of an attorney. His name was Raymond F. Schroeder, whose offices were in the Merchants Bánk Building, St. Paul. He had formerly been assistant county attorney of Ramsey county.

The Court set my bail at $100, which I furnished, and the case was adjourned until the next morning.

That afternoon I went to Attorney Schroeder's office to consult him in regard to the matter, and to my surprise my wife walked out of his private office. She left hurriedly, and when I got a chance to speak to Schroeder, I said to him: "What is my wife doing here?”

Schroeder said: "Oh, she was just down here talking to me about your trouble.”

I did not know at the time that she and McGuire and Lawyer Schroeder were conspiring against me.

This is the point where I began to think Ferrell was, shall we say, not well.

On and on it goes, with policemen on the trolley sidling up to let him know the big boys had it out for him. More stays in jail over trumped-up charges. Could be true! Or, he could’ve been going mad, and his wife left him for the top cop. Anyway to find out more?


  So there's that.
  And then there's this.

So he wasn’t wrong about McGuire and his wife, it seems.

  She died in 1941, although apparently her first name died many years before:

McGuire kicked in 1959. He'd quit the force and taken over Ferrell's restaurant. I think. Perhaps his wife sold it and they opened another.



Ferrell? Well, he put an ad in the paper in 1937:

Looks like he was trying to find someone to help him hawk the book. He noted in the book that he was first arrested at the Hotel Ritz; by 37 it had become the Minnesotan.

And then, in 1939:

A known wanderer.

Whether he was permanently estranged from the daughter, I don’t know. He obviously remarried and had two more kids.

So what do I think? His wife left him for reasons we don’t know, and he was either mad before it, or driven mad by it.



After the big meal, some light items.

There’s something you mightmiss here the first time, because you don’t know a certain fact.

Now that you know it’s German, what’s the detail that makes it Not Necessarily American?

I’d say it’s the shopping bag.

These are all in the “European” section of the Duke archives. This next one is the most 80s commercial ever and I say that with the strongest possible endorsement. British. Whoo-boy

The woman in the next one is very 80s as well. Note the slap the jerk gives the servant.

More restrained, but showing the styles of 80s ads at their best. The lighting, the tones, the close-ups - quality work.

Yes, my friends, 80s TV commercials were awesome. I’m not sure the American side ever did something like this, though.


We conclude with this week's Hiatal Contest:

A 1924 newspaper contest that went on forever.

I couldn't find the answer key, so we're going to be on our own.