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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Greek Tragedy: 1920

Greek Tragedy: 1920

"Greek murder." July 1920. Two victims of a bloody altercation involving a hatchet and revolver that left three people dead in a rooming house at 809 Ninth Street in Washington. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Jean or John?

It's interesting that the man's name was Jean. My grandfather was also an immigrant from Greece, and his name was John (Ioannis in Greek). When I was searching for records of him in ships' manifests arriving in New York, I found someone with his last name and the first name of Jean. At first, I didn't realize it was him, until I noticed that the ship has sailed from Le Havre, France, not from Athens. So he was listed by the French spelling of his first name. Perhaps this Jean also arrived in America by way of France.

Jean and Katherine Odiscus

Jean and Katherine Odiscus. Dead from gunshot wounds suffered during an attempted robbery of Theodore Apostalos Koukos at 809 Ninth street NW on July 26th, 1920. Koukos, who also perished during the attack from hatchet wounds, was reported to have shot both Odiscus in the head with a .32 caliber revolver.


If you are interested in postmortem photography and eerie crime scene photos, check out Arthur Fellig, aka Weegee. He was often the first person to show up at crime scenes in the 30s and 40s since he was the only reporter in New York licensed to have a police radio. Interestingly enough, he also enjoyed photography of the juxtaposition between high society and NYC's lower classes.

Crime Reportage

I suppose the photograph is a simple post-mortem, and the articles constitute the crime reportage, but this may be a first for Shorpy (at least I don't recall having seen anything like this here before).

I must confess to an interest in both crime scene photography and post-mortem photography, but I'm not sure Shorpy will be flooded with requests for more of either.

Interesting photo and story, at any rate.

Affray in Ninth Street

July 26, 1920

July 27, 1920

July 28, 1920

July 29, 1920

Why Greek

Can anyone tell me why this is a "Greek murder"?

[They're Greek. - Dave]

The Mortician's Art

Well, those morticians have certainly done a fine job. I can't help but wonder where the hatchet went. In the top of the man's (nicely covered) head?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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