The Writing Master published

From January 2018 to January 2019, I spent a year researching 204 nineteenth-century professional criminals; however, for four years prior to that I had been researching one single man from that century, the forger James B. Crosse, aka James Buchanan Cross. Crosse has been an obscure figure, with little known about him except small mentions... Continue Reading →

204 Criminals Later…

Professional Criminals of America REVISED About a week ago, I finished researching and updating the last of the 204 criminal profiles included in Thomas Byrnes's 1886 edition of Professional Criminals of America. This had been a year-long project, and one that I undertook thinking that the result might be adapted to print format. However, after... Continue Reading →

King of Burglars

While researching old-time crooks as part of my Professional Criminals of America--REVISED blog project, I came across a "lost" treasure. Maximilian Schoenbein, known to the public as Max Shinburn, was the most famous bank robber of the 1860s. In 1913, three years before he died, 74-year-old Shinburn wrote a series of eleven articles for the... Continue Reading →

Night of the Salamander Safes

During the night of October 28-29, 1851, several stores along the Buffalo lakefront were burglarized. The exact number of break-ins is unclear--at least three, but perhaps as many as 5-10. Several of the stores had valuables stored in safes that were all the same make: Gayler Patent Safes, often described as "salamander" or "hobnail" safes.... Continue Reading →

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