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Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb's friendship began in the Spring of 1920. Nathan was graduating from the Harvard School, a private prep School in the Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, (recently turned into condos) just up the street from the Loeb home (torn down in the 1970's). Richard Loeb was attending his first year at the University of Chicago and suffering some personal inner difficulty with the entire situation. Leopold told the psychiatrists Loeb was not popular when they met.
When Dick and Nathan first became acquainted, it was likely by mutual association with other boys with whom they both were friends.
The facts of Leopold and Loeb's early physical relationship is not clear, and some of the psychiatric testimony seems to contradict what was in the reports. Apparently, the information obtained regarding their sexual relationship came first from Leopold and was than backed up by Loeb, so said Doctor Healy. Although other doctors do not say that as definitely. Dr Hulbert did state that Richard Loeb left out certain facts and in that way, he lied to the Doctor.
There are two facts that first must be kept in mind when searching the psychiatric reports and testimony for clues. First, Leopold showed a great deal of concern about his story agreeing with Loeb's. He did this in a transparent obvious way, so great was his concern.
Next, Leopold mentions the names of two boys with whom he first had sexual relations; Joe and Henry.
Yet, he, or the H.B report does not mention the name of the boy with whom he had
relations at age 15. What we do know however, is this; Leopold and Loeb met in the
Spring of 1920-
When he was fifteen years old he (Leopold) was a member of a group of seven or eight boys. The patient went around with one of these boys a good deal and they practiced mutual masturbation a number of times.
Portions of the Leopold section of the H.B never mention Loeb, when they obviously refer to him. Instead, Loeb is referred to as the "Patient's companion", or the "Patient's associate". Likewise, in the Loeb section, Leopold is often refered to in a similar fashion.
"When he was fifteen and a half years old he had, for the first time, sexual relations with a woman. It was the custom among the boys of his group, who had automobiles, to take a friend and drive out and pick up two girls and then endeavor to have sexual relations with them. He had been out on a number of such parties but the girls they had secured would never permit anything more than fondling or caressing. That night he and his friend picked up two girls who at once, in a business like way, offered sexual relations in the car for three dollars or at their homes for five dollars.The patient sat in the back seat caressing and petting the girl who was with him. He was doing this rather, perfunctorily and he had no erection. However, he did have an extreme desire to urinate, and he got out of the car and did urinate. When he returned the girl raised her skirts and said "Let's go". The patient found himself quite impotent and was greatly chagrined at this. He was so embarrassed at this that he made his comrade solemnly swear he would never reveal his secret."
November 1923. In November 1923 they robbed Loeb's former fraternity house, the Zeta Beta Tau house, in Ann Arbor. Afterward they quarreled and came to the understanding known as the "compact". Also on this ride home, they first discussed kidnapping. Originally, the idea was gotten out of anger towards a certain person, theoretically Hamlin Buchman, (see updated information below) who had spread the rumors about them being homosexual two years previous. This, coupled with the act of fraternity robbery throws a new angle on the November compact situation. Previously, it was thought that Nate and Dick quarreled over crime and sex. The plan had been to rob two frat houses, the Zete house and possibly the Delt house, Leopold's choice, as the Delts had strung him along and never admitted him. However, Loeb got scared, so said Leopold, (Hulbert Bowman) and didn't want to rob the second house, with which he was unfamiliar. Leopold was angered. It was a sense of honor, he said. That had been the agreement. Although he stated he had no desire for either burglary, other than pleasing Dick, he was upset at Dick's hesitation and change of plans. They attempted to do the Delt house anyway, but fled after hearing a noise, taking only a camera. They left feeling quite smug. On the way home they drank.
Then they fought. They fought over subjects that were "disharmonious" to them. In theory, this would be sex and crime. But crime how? Leopold disliked the risk involved in crime. Whenever he balked, it was because of risk, such as with the incident with the electric car thefts, although he caved in on that eventually. So then what was Leopold's gripe? Risk? It seems unlikely as his biggest gripe later reported was that Loeb chickened out. Thus it was the agreement and not the risk. Loeb had let him down, had fallen in role of king, an unacceptable situation.
So what was Loeb arguing about? Theories state he was unhappy with Leopold's demands for sex. From where do these theories come? Certain slants on the relationship of these boys has derived from the arguments made by the State's Attorneys, and not from the psychiatrists. Certain motive theories put forth by the prosecution have become embedded in the Leopold and Loeb legend, while they have no other evidence to back them up. The prosecution felt they needed to prove a motive, so first they proposed that Leopold and Loeb had high gambling debts. Then they proposed that Loeb wanted to blackmail Leopold and get out of Leopold's demands for sex, that Leopold was blackmailing Loeb with his knowledge of Loeb's criminal deeds, and Loeb sought the murder as a way of having something on Leopold. But the prosecution kept coming back to the motive of money.
It seems more likely, from psychiatric evidence, that if Loeb was unhappy with the relationship, it was the risk it entailed, just as Leopold was unhappy previously with the risk of crime. Proof of this is that Loeb robbed his own fraternity, and who they later discussed killing.
Given the resulting agreement, I believe that Richard Loeb was upset at Nathan Leopold for not obeying his orders, even if those orders were not to go through with the crime. In Richard's mind, he was the master criminal. His role was that of master planner and director. As the director he could call off an operation for being too "risky".
In 1921, Leopold and Loeb were spending the summer at the Loeb estate in Charlevoix. They would be attending the University of Michigan together in the Fall, and rooming together. During the summer there was an incident that led to rumors about the two.
excerpt from Dick Loeb's interogation.
"Did I ask you last night about the letter he wrote you in which he said it would not do for cocksuckers to fall out?
"What significance do you attach to that?"
"The fact that he wanted to say, that a rumor had gotten around that he was a cock sucker."
"What difference would that make?"
"We did everything in our power to avoid any possible scandal in regard to that thing for two years, since it happened; that was three years ago, when this rumor started, and for two years we were very careful never to be alone together in public, seen together any place, or to be alone together any place where we could be seen. We were careful so when we wanted to go to a theatre on a particular evening we would be careful to have somebody else come along, purely and simply on the advice of my brother who had told me to be careful and to— not see too much of Leopold, and if I did to be sure there was somebody else around."
"Wasn't that an intolerable condition to exist, two fellows that were very friendly and wanted to be together and could not be together without the world suspecting they were cocksuckers and you had to have a chaperon all the time?"
"No, it was not necessary."
"Wouldn't it be much better if you broke off, saying ‘now listen, there is a lot of suspicion as to our relations here, you better go your way and I will go mine' and stop? All this talk and let us forget it."
"We never did that, but for quite a while there we saw very little of each other. It is just due to the fact that this here— that we were going to the University of Chicago and that we were together a great deal and that there was much more conversation."
From trial testimony, the incident appears to have occurred one night when they had been drinking. Loeb got up to go to the bathroom. (interestingly, the psychiatric reports state Loeb did not need to get up to urinate at night). Loeb, coming back from the bathroom, got into bed with Leopold.
Fall of 1921.
Loeb had transferred to Michigan. Leopold's admittance was delayed by illness. He entered in October, that situation being quite heavily documented in the trial transcript. Leopold went to Michigan, talked with the dean, then bolted over to take a physical where his blood pressure was exceedingly high. Thus Leopold entered Michigan, and roomed with Richard, with whom he expected to continue on the same terms.
However, he found Richard cold to him in public. Richard finally informed him of the situation. There were rumors that the two of them had engaged in homosexual relations, and were a "couple of cocksuckers." Richard was trying to get into Zeta Beta Tau and they had informed him that although they didn't believe the rumors, Loeb should try not to be seen with Leopold too much. Loeb's brother, Allen, even went to Michigan to speak with the fraternity and assure them his brother was quite normal and the incident was innocent and misunderstood. Allen also encouraged Loeb to not be seen with Leopold very much.
Loeb told Leopold, and they, in their classic pattern, formed an agreement. They agreed to remain friends, but not to be seen alone together in public, or in any way that could be misunderstood. They even made sure to drag along a "chaperone" or a third party, whenever they went anywhere together. They did however, get drunk a number of times together.
The Buchman Story. **UPDATED** Several years of trying to confirm Hamlin Buchman's
existence independant of Hal Higdon's book, (his name does not appear in the trial
transcript) have paid off with some new knowledge. Hamlin Buchman was a friend of
Dickie Loeb. He may have been employed at the Loeb estate. He would go on to become
a lawyer. Leopold and Loeb believed Buchman had spread "gossip"about them in Michigan.
So they decided to kill him. (Nathan Leopold confessed to this story to the State's
Attorney. Hamlin Buchman testified before the Grand Jury but for whatever reason,
this information was never admitted into the trial. ) The three boys rowed out to
the middle of a lake. At which point Leopold and Loeb capsized the boat, hoping Buchman
would drown. They were disappointed when Buchman swam to shore alongside them. The
newspapers date this occurance as the Summer of 1920. Some of the articles state
that Buchman spread rumors both in Chicago and in Michigan. Apparently, Leopold and
Loeb planned Buchman's death for several months beforehand. Although the dates are
Back to November 1923.
Loeb had graduated the preceding June, yet made this elaborate plan to rob his own
fraternity. Most crimes are commited by people we know. Leopold intended to rob the
frat that had strung him along. Certainly revenge was a motive there. Driving from
Chicago all the way to Ann Arbor for a random act seems far fetched. although to
what lengths these two would go to for a "thrill" is somewhat dubious. With this
in mind, we look again at the fight-
The fight that resulted in that letter was due to a proposed plan for New Year's. Leopold and Loeb had previously planned to spend it together. Loeb, however, changed the plan and decided to go out with Dick Rubel and two young girls. A fight ensued, involving Rubel. Leopold made some comment to Rubel which resulted in Loeb accusing Leopold of betraying a confidence, of "treachery".
So an agreement is broached, where things are spelled out clearly. Sex and crime.
King and Slave. And again we must look at this anew given the context of the situation.
The agreement is-
Problem B. Their sexual relationship entailed risks to both that were undesirable. They made life more difficult. By planning the interludes in advance, at predetermined times and places known to be "safe", the risk is eliminated. They are then free to project a facade outwardly.
Dr White stated that this "compact" did not alter their relationship; it merely "formalized what had been practically existing before." Dr White places enormous importance on this agreement as well as Nathan Leopold's King and Slave phantasy. Only through understanding the phantasy, says White, can one understand how Leopold would put himself in the position to do absolutely anything Richard Loeb suggested.
To those that may argue with this theory, there are a few more points. Leopold and
Loeb, it appears from the psychiatric reports and pointed out above, had a sexual
relationship as early as the summer of 1920., if we assume, as it appears to be,
that Loeb was the "other boy" the psychiatrists spoke of, keeping in mind that Leopold
and Leob became friends in the correct time frame, and became "more intimate" also
within the correct time frame; September, 1920. Their criminal acts did not begin
until February 1921. They did not begin in earnest until 1921-
Dr Healy links this act with the planning of cheating at cards in February 1921, in relation to their "compact" and implies it is their first sexual experience, although this testimony is somewhat contradicted by the pyschiatric reports of Dr's Bowman, Hulbert and White, when the "compact" is noted to have begun in November 1923.
Leopold told Loeb that Loeb was the smartest young man in the world today, and although Loeb did not accept it as absolutely true it pleased him tremendously and endeared Leopold to him at that time.
Each felt the need of one abnormally close associate, Loeb finding life incomplete without a confederate and an inferior, and Leopold seeking a superior companion who could be annointed his king and master.
Neither boy was critical of the other nor suspected the other of mental disease.
He found in Leopold an ideal confederate or assistant because Leopold was very intelligent, moved in the same circles, and was not critical. Hulbert Bowman report
"During the four years preceeding his death, Dick and I were, as I have said, as close as it is possible for two men to be. Whatever happened to be our individual assignments, we worked together as a team. The school was a joint project, but we worked together just as surely on the library, the greenhouse, the Sociological Research Office. And we played handball as partners, and bridge. But much more than that, we planned together and shared our individual problems. No matter what our seperate activities for the day might be, we made it in invariable practice to have a twenty minute talk immediately after breakfast each day. We cut everything up together, whether it concerned him, or me, or both of us. We had no secrets. Often we disagreed about something. Usually, after talking it out, we were able to reach agreement. For the rare cases when we couldn't, we adopted an ironclad maxim: Safer counsil shall prevail. If, after hashing a subject over, it became apparent that we could not agree, we did whatever was safer, more conservative. I'm sure we saved ourselves a lot of trouble that way."
In the Fall of 1933 an article about the Stateville riot appeared in a magazine entitled "The True American". A story got out, that a recently paroled prisoner had written the article, and had been given information by several inmates, including Nathan Leopold.
Leopold got word through the prison grapevine that he was going to be transferred back to the Old prison in Joliet.
"I was frantic. I was absolutely innocent; I hadn't known a thing about this whole matter. But how was I going to prove that? I had had no hearing and I had no way of getting one. If I were transferred to the old prison it might be months before I could get anyone's ear. I'd have a sweet time trying to get the thing reversed. It's always easier to maintain the status quo than to upset it; I determined to do anything to remain here at Stateville until the matter could be threshed out and I could be heard. Dick and I, between us, figured out a rather desperate expedient. We went into the school office, where I sat on a chair and propped my leg up on a stool. Dick had another stool at hand. We waited and watched for a captain to come into the cell house. If one came and they called me to pack up for transfer, Dick would bring the stool down with all his might and break my leg. We figured, rightly or wrongly, that they would not transfer me to the old prison with a broken leg. And during my period of hospitalization I would be able to see the warden."
After Leopold's release, he moved to Puerto Rico, where he married a widow named Trudi. Loeb was not out of the picture, however, even after twenty years diceased. Loeb in fact, was the picture.
Peter I Rose, a Sociology Professor, visited Puerto Rico in the 1960's on research, where he became a friend of Nathan Leopold. Rose visited Nathan and Trudi's apartment and wrote the following;
"On one occasion, a few months later in Puerto Rico, I visited Leopold and his wife in their apartment in Santurce. I hadn't been there before. While there, I was struck by two photographs, each next to a vase with a fresh flower. I can still see them. The first was on the coffee table in the living room. It was unmistakable who it was. I picked it up and, before I could say anything, Leopold said, "Clarence Darrow, the man who saved my life."
The second picture was in the master bedroom through which I had to pass to go to the bathroom. It was on a dresser. I noticed it as I walked back through the room. It was a blown up snapshot of a well dressed young man of, say, 19 or 20. At first I thought it was Leopold himself, but on closer inspection, I realized it was somebody else. I was pretty sure I knew who. Looking into the room as I squinted at the picture, Nathan confirmed it.
"Dickie Loeb," he said, "the guy who ruined my life." He paused, then added, "Still, I gotta tell you something. You know what, he was really a swell guy, the best friend I ever had."
I never saw Leopold again.
What makes the above more interesting, is the fact that Mr Rose was a distant relative of Robert Franks, a fact he told Leopold.
Mr Rose's apparent discomfort at facing a portrait of Richard Loeb in Nathan Leopold's apartment is not his alone. Other people confirmed and shared the discomfort. Mr Rose's confrontation appears to be the latest, however. Elmer Gertz confronted the Loeb photo in Leopold's bedroom before Leopold's mariage to Trudi.
"There was one jarring note almost immediately-
After Loeb's death, the common opinion of Nathan Leopold further altered from the initial perception of him that was given when the crime was first announced. Leopold, who began in the world of the press, as the villian of the duo, gradually became the victim. Loeb's death, and the tabloid story that accompanied it, was the final push needed to recast Loeb as perpetrator, and, as he had always wanted to be, mastermind. Loeb, in his death, beacme a deranged sexual predator who had led a fawning Leopold into a heinous murder.
Leopold, in his quest to alleviate boredom, did some productive work behind bars, and he became the "model of rehabilitation." However, when Loeb lived, he too, shared in this productive work. After his death, that was generally forgotten or ignored. As time passed and the possibility of parole began to loom, new faces became drawn to the remaining half of the duo.
People like Meyer Levin appeared. Levin, who had been a fellow University of Chicago student along with Leopold and Loeb, desired to write a book based on the crime, and he met with Leopold to discuss the matter. He described Leopold as almost an aged professor, and it is clear that Levin could not see Leopold as the mastermind, that it must have been Loeb, even though, before meeting Leopold, he held the opposite view.
A similar tale was told by Elmer Gertz. It was impossible for Gertz to see his new friend as a murderer, and as such, we see how Gertz was made so uncomfortable by the photo of Loeb.
Ephraim London, who was representing Meyer Levin in the Compulsion lawsuit, noted, in Hal Higdon's book, that Leopold was still madly in love with Loeb, "yet from what I have read of Loeb I don't think he had the capacity to return that kind of affection."
The only person who knew and remembered Loeb alive, was Nathan Leopold. And his opinion hadn't changed. Gertz couldn't understand it. London couldn't understand it. In their minds, Leopold was simply not a killer. It must have been Loeb, their minds said. And yet, if Loeb were as evil as they thought him to be, well then, how on earth could Nathan Leopold, Loeb's "victim", still be so obviously madly in love with him?
The answer, their impression of Nathan Leopold would never be complete unless keeping in mind, Richard Loeb. The crime was not commited by either of them alone. It was the crime of Leopold and Loeb. It was their crime. When Loeb died, he did not take Nathan Leopold's share of guilt to the grave with him. His death did not exorcise some evil from Leopold's shoulders. Public opinion had changed. The object of that public opinion had not.
Again and again in 1924, the psychiatrists repeated the same line. "In my study of this tragic situation I can see no way of understanding it except as one tries to understand the association between the two defendants."
If the public were ever close to understanding the Franks crime, it would have been during the trial, watching the defendants, reading their constant newspaper interviews, and listening to the Doctors' testimony. With Loeb's death, the equation was thrown off. As time passed, and the memory of those two scorching months in the summer of 1924 became shrouded in cliche, people were left staring at only one half, and it no longer made sense. Nathan Leopold volunteered his eyes to the eye bank. He worked in the prison library. He volunteered for malaria experiments. Here was a short, balding old man, refined, even in prison attire; a genius.
And "Dickie Loeb", Dickie Loeb was killed while attacking a fellow prisoner. Dickie Loeb was a sexual predator, or, wasn't he? Well, sure, the story of Richard Loeb's death may have been a bit fluffed up but hey, it fit. It made sense. And as time crept by even more, Leopold sat at the parole board. Carl Sandburg appealed for him. It had been twenty years since "Dickie Loeb, brilliant scholar and master of the English language, ended his sentence with a proposition". Nobody even remembered that the story might not exactly be the truth. It was the only known story, it became the truth in the public eye. Heck, it was even in Time Magazine! They sure wouldn't lie!
Nathan Leopold, freed, went to Puerto Rico, where he worked in a hospital, studied
birds, and even married. But then there was that photo-
What if they'd asked him, instead of just feeling uncomfortable and putting their thoughts into books. One wonders, would Leopold have responded as he had in 1924?
"I asked him, Leopold, don't you see that this reasoning of yours is leading you to self destruction?" He says "Yes, but is does not make any difference."
|July 23 (cont)|
|July 25 (cont)|
|Aug 1 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (3)|
|Defense Closing Arguments|