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Ran With Scissors: 1925

Ran With Scissors: 1925

October 29, 1925. Washington, D.C. "Melvin Jones, 5, who pierced heart with scissors." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.


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Melvin Jones, 1920-1989

According to, there was only one Melvin Jones who was 5 years old in September 1925 (assuming he was born in D.C. in 1920). He died in January 1989 in Los Angeles; SSN 577-03-6890.

Melvin's Life

He was born in 1920. Melvin would have been 21 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Did he enlist? Would the Army have taken him with his childhood injury? What happened to him during the war?

He would have been 9 when the Great Depression hit. Was he still living in Washington?

I, too, would love to know what happened to young Melvin Jones.

Re: Didn't we already know that?

I thought the photo had been taken before the accident and then used by the news company afterwards. Much like the photos of that lady who was starved by her mother and aunt.

Thank you PER!

I had assumed that he died from his injuries. So wonderful to find out he survived.

[Didn't we already know that? National Photo couldn't have taken his picture before the accident. - Dave]

Internal Sutures

They would have had catgut sutures to close the heart & chest wall and it would dissolve. Black silk would be used on the outside and would, of course, be removed after healing was established.

Later in life

I'm just wondering. Did they have stitches back then that dissolved, as we do now? I doubt it. Makes you wonder what happened to his heart as he grew. For that matter, I wonder what became of him in general.

A Stitch in Time

That would have been miracle surgery back in 1925, I think.

Ran With Scissors

Reminds me of a joke my Dad used to tell about when he was late for work. The boss asked him why he was late and he said he had a flat tire from running over a milk bottle. The boss said "Didn't you see the milk bottle?" My dad replied "No, the darn kid had it under his coat."

Pierced by Scissors: The paper doll did it

Washington Post Sep 21, 1925

2 Stitches in Heart Save Life of Boy, 5

Scissors Pierce Side of Lad
When He Falls on Stairs:
Father Gives Blood

The Life of Melvin Jones, 5 years old, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Jones, was saved by Dr. Herbert H. Schoenfeld of the Children's hospital, yesterday, who took two stitches in his heart.

The lad was playing with his brother and sister, Richard and Elizabeth, in the kitchen of their home at 210 Ninth street northeast, while their mother was preparing dinner. With a pair of scissors, Melvin started upstairs to cut paper dolls, followed by his companions. When he stumbled on the stairway, the points of the scissors pierced his side and punctured his heart.

After the wound had been washed Melvin said he felt sleepy. Hardly had he said this when his lips turned blue and his face darkened. The parents called an ambulance and the lad was take to the Children's hospital, where an X-ray examination disclosed the puncture of the heart.

It was necessary to pull three ribs back to make an opening. The heart was lifted up with forceps and a gash a quarter of an inch long was disclosed. Two stitches were taken in the organ and it was then placed back in its natural position and the ribs put back into place.

Outside the operating room the lad's father was having 250 cubic centimeters of blood taken from his arm to be transfused into the body of his son.

Dr. Schoenfeld, with the reticence characteristic of his profession, had little to say regarding the operation except that it was unusual.


Does this mean that someone, somewhere, actually "put his eye out" with a BB gun? Did someone's face "stay that way" when she was making herself look silly? Did a watermelon grow in someone's stomach because he swallowed the seeds?


Oh, man. That kinda started my day off on a sad note.

M is for Melvin

Perhaps the original inspiration for Ed Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies? I suppose that's awful of me, but it took me several seconds to believe that could be the real caption!

[I thought exactly the same thing. One of Edward Gorey's ill-fated imps come to life. Temporarily, at least. - Dave]

Lil Mel

So he's the one to blame for all of those motherly admonitions!

[Not only that. He was running down the stairs. - Dave]

Ha, ha! Oh, wait...

Okay, I laughed out loud at your photo title, thinking you were joking because one of our little fellow's hands was hidden inside his coat sleeve...but then my eyes saw the caption.

Goodness! Pierced his heart?! Our mothers were so perceptive.

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