July 9, 2011
In your publication “Famous American Trials” you have included the Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb 1924 trial for the murder of Bobby Franks. Within this story you have included a section titled “The Glasses: The Key Link To Leopold and Loeb." A lot has been written about Nathan Leopold’s glasses being one of the most important clues in the “Crime of the Century,” and I believe Leopold's glasses are now on display in the Chicago Historical Museum.
As you wrote, Leopold’s prescription may have been a very common one and the frames were ordinary too, except for a patented hinge connecting the earpiece to the nosepiece. The hinge was manufactured by a New York company that had only one outlet in Chicago: Almer Coe & Co., who had sold only three pairs of glasses with the patented hinge. One belonged to a lady, a second pair belonged to an attorney (Jerome Frank) traveling in Europe, and the third belonged to Leopold.
Throughout all the writings about this crime, the identity of the lady was never disclosed. That lady was my mother. Her involvement with this crime has been explained to me many, many times.
From information on file at Almer Coe, the police were aware of where she worked. Two officers came to the bank where she was working and asked to see her glasses. Because she and her future husband had been to a movie the previous evening, she neglected to bring the glasses to work with her. The manager of the bank assured her that it would be alright for her to go home with the officers and show them her glasses. One can imagine how she felt arriving home with two police officers at her side.
Her mother was an immigrant and did not speak English. While Marie tried to explain what was going on, the police officers were insisting that she show them her glasses. She led the two officers to a bureau, opened the drawer and sitting right on top were the glasses. The officers immediately said they would take them downtown to State’s Attorney Crowe’s office, but Marie showed her spunk and refused to let them have the glasses. Finally, they agreed that she would retain control over the glasses and accompany the officer’s downtown.
Once they arrived downtown they were shown into a room where State’s Attorney Robert Crowe was conducting the investigation. After some questioning, it became obvious that Marie had nothing to do with Bobby Franks murder and she was able to return home with her glasses intact.
Over the years these glasses have been the subject of many hours of discussion. Marie always kept them in a special case and made sure that she knew where they were at all times. She did not want any publicity. The glasses became a family treasure, and we could recite the story about her involvement as well as she did. Marie has died and her reluctance to talk to outsiders about this episode remained with her until the end.
My mother’s glasses have a true historical meaning and I believe they carry a substantial monetary value. There had only been three pair sold in Chicago and their connection with Nathan Leopold's "Crime of the Century" makes them unique. The glasses are now in my possession and I feel certain there is a place for them in someone’s collection.
I solicit your assistance as one who is an expert in this case. Any information you could provide regarding someone who would have an interest in these glasses would be appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Email. I sincerely hope to hear from you soon.
G. M. F.
Bonita Springs, FL