New York: American News Company, 1871. 100pp. Stitched, original printed front title wrapper bound into later boards [old bookplate]. Frontis portrait of the murderous fiend, full-page illustrations. Light wear, Very Good.
Edward Howard Rulloff [born John Edward Howard Ruloffson] was born in 1821 in New Brunswick, Canada. He had served a two-year jail sentence for embezzlement before settling in Ithaca, New York. Having learned a variety of languages while incarcerated, Rulloff went on the lecture circuit-- while engaging in burglaries and other crimes.
"Rulloff (or Ruloff; the name is spelled both ways) was one of those bizarre criminals who defy easy classification. He began his criminal career with the murder of his wife and child at Ithaca, New York, probably disposing of their bodies in Lake Cayuga. Unable to establish a corpus delecti, the state could only convict him of abducting his wife". [McDade 835]. After serving ten years, he was released and immediately arrested for the murder of his daughter. He was convicted, but the conviction was reversed.
Years later, he was accused of shooting and killing Fred Merrick, a store clerk at the dry goods store Halbert Brothers in Binghamton, during a robbery with two accomplices. He was "identified by the lack of a big toe on his left foot" and tried, convicted, and hanged. The case captured the public imagination, which probably accounts for the plethora of publications which McDade has identified about the murderer. His hanging was the first and last public hanging in Binghamton's history. ["The Gallows," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 19, 1871, p.8; Crandall, Brian, "The strange case of Edward Rulloff, 1800s Ithaca murderer and bar namesake", September 5, 2014, website of The Ithaca Voice.]
FIRST EDITION. McDade 836 [ours is the second edition]. Item #38610