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Everyone called him "Babe".
Nathan F. Leopold Jr was a special baby from the start. He was born November 19th, 1904 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. He spoke his first words four months later.
"Nein, Nein. Momma."
The Leopold children were raised, as were many wealthy children at the time, by a series of nurses or governesses. Nathan's first governess was a girl named Marie (Mimie) Giessler. Giessler was Leopold's nurse for 5 years.
After Mimie left, a girl named Pauline Van den Bosch filled the vacancy. Pauline, a Christian, introduced Nathan to the Christian saints. Nathan, at five years of age, took a keen interest in the saints and set about categorizing saints and religions.He would have the chauffeur drive him to various churches in the neighborhood. At about this time he also became interested in the life of Christ and of crucifixes. "The idea of nailing somebody to something was very appealing to me". Pauline only stayed on for six months. The third and final governess was an Alsatian woman named Mathilda Wantz. Nathan nicknamed her "Sweetie." She only spoke German.
When Nathan stole some stamps from a cousin, instead of punishing him, Sweetie blackmailed him, to cover for her days off,etc. She bathed with Nathan and with his older brother Sam and was "familiar" with their bodies. She wrestled with the boys as reward for good behavior.
These days, the actions of Nathan's governess would be considered child abuse.
Wantz was let go when Nathan was twelve, when his mother caught her dumping an ill Nathan out of bed one morning. Nathan was stretched out between his brother's and his own bed and Wantz pulled the two beds apart just as Florence Leopold stepped to the door.
Nathan, unlike Richard, was never a particularly popular boy. His first two years
of school were attended at "Miss Spade's", a once co-
Nathan was also the only pupil who was accompanied to school every day by a governess. These factors led to his assumption of superiority to his classmates. He also had altercations at Douglas on occasions when his governess was not waiting to meet him. At one time, two tough boys walked him home. They made him cross the street, something he wasn't allowed to do. They accused him of stealing pennies from the teacher and "playing with her pussy". He didn't know what they meant, but knew it was something forbidden.
When the Leopold family moved from Michigan Avenue to the Hyde Park/ Kenwood neighborhood, two blocks away from another wealthy Jewish family, the Loebs, Nathan transferred to the private Harvard School and progressed rapidly. He was called "The Great Nathan", "Crazy Bird", and "Flea".
When Nathan was 15, he began going about with a
group of 6 or 7 boys, of which Richard Loeb, who was attending the University of Chicago as a freshman, was a member. Loeb was a year younger than Nathan. At first the boys disliked, even detested one another. But this quickly changed. By the time Nathan entered the University of Chicago at age 15 years, ten months, he and Loeb were friends. By February 1921, they were, what Leopold described as "firm friends".
Both Leopold and Loeb transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor the
following year (1921-
Loeb was accepted to the frat under the condition that he break friendship with Leopold.
Rumors had spread about the two. The rumors took the form of letters written by a
boy named Hamlin Buchman. (I can't independently confirm this name other than Higdon's
Leopold and Loeb remained friends, and did get drunk together a number of times at Michigan. However, they agreed not to be seen alone together in public. If they went anywhere together, they would take along a "chaperone". Loeb later stated that this was solely on the advice of his brother, Allen, who had been called to Michigan to straighten out the mess.
The year at Ann Arbor then, was anything but pleasant for Nathan. His mother had
just died and he missed some school at the beginning of the year. When he got to
school, his best friend, with whom he expected to spend a great deal of time, was
cold to him as a result of the rumors. Richard moved into the frat. Nathan was "led
along" by one frat, but they didn't pledge him. In mourning for his mother, he wasn't
supposed to play cards, but this ban was lifter by his father, after some outside
prompting. The following year (1922-
Richard applied for a teaching job at the University but was turned down due, in part, to his age. He was disappointed and thought the situation was very unfair.
At the time of the crime, both Leopold and Loeb were taking part time post graduate courses at the University of Chicago and living at home. Leopold was studying law, Loeb was studying history. Leopold planned to transfer to Harvard Law School in September, after taking a trip to Europe. Loeb planned to enter the University of Chicago Law School.
Back in Chicago, they seem to have felt safe enough to once again become inseparable companions. For the most part, the rumors had remained in Michigan. But the memories remained clear in each of their minds.
During a fight in October 1923, Leopold would revive the memory, and warn Loeb that in case they should break friendship, extreme care must be had. "A falling out of a pair of cocksuckers would no doubt prove popular", he wrote to Loeb.
Facing the gallows, Leopold told Dr Glueck that he would rather hang than have the Dr. reveal that he was a homosexual.
|July 23 (cont)|
|July 25 (cont)|
|Aug 1 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (3)|
|Defense Closing Arguments|