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Clews1AChicago Tribune, September 22, 1934. Ravinia is a park and performance venue built in 1904 that has long served as the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and hosts an eclectic annual summer concert series. But in 1934 the site fell derelict during the Depression–hence the reference to the “old Ravinia Opera House,” a Prairie Style structure since restored to its original glory.

Clews2AMaybe it’s just me, but when I saw the words “short, coarse hairs” I just assumed we were talking pubes, not head hairs. But perhaps that’s the intended meaning here anyway–the head reference is maybe just a head fake toward propriety. Anyway, it gives you an idea of just how quiet things had gotten on the Ravinia grounds that it was abandoned to mushroom pickers and their corpse-mauling dogs.

Clews3aaThe equation of swollen knuckles and employment as a domestic is a poignant forensic and social detail. It’s likewise striking how many missing domestics the authorities had to consider in trying to identify their Jane Doe.


  1. An interesting spelling of “clew” in the headline.

    • I’m making it a new category.

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