The jury found Dr. Alice Wynekoop guilty in the notorious "Wynekoop case." Later, despite her confession, she maintained that she never murdered her daughter-in-law. Some claimed she confessed to save her son.On November 21, 1933 Chicago police were called to the home of Dr. Alice Lindsay Wynekoop to investigate the death of her daughter-in-law, Rheta Gardner Wynekoop. Soon events spiraled out of control and the whole country was swept up in the constant stream of lurid headlines and bizarre twists the case took.
In our home she became part of family folk-lore as "Great Aunt Alice", (she's the wife of my 5th cousin, twice removed), and I remember thinking it was pretty cool to have someone like her in the family tree, (I still do!), but I always wanted to know more. Now you can too.
Here you will find a brief biography of Dr. Alice, along with the headlines she generated in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, half a continent away from the main action, (there are a lot of Wynkoops in eastern Pennsylvania, which is probably why the Philadelphia papers covered it so intensely.) You will also find the Newsweek Magazine coverage of her story, brief though it is, as well as author/screenplay writer Craig Rice's take on the story. (She wrote a couple of the "Falcon" movies during the mid-1940s starring Tom Conway.)
Below you will find a long illustrated article on the Wynekoop Murder Case called "The Inside Story of Chicago's Weird Wynekoop Mystery." It appeared in True Detective Magazine in May, 1934 and contains numerous photos of the major players in the murder case, not to mention a floorplan of the basement where the murder took place.
All of the material that I have posted here on Dr. Alice Wynekoop has tended to demonize her, which has never been my intention, but the material I had available is written that way. Now thanks to Sherry Lord, who sent me a new account, I can at last attempt to correct the imbalance that this page has created. Please take the time to read Dr. Bertha van Hoosen's account of her best friend, Dr. Alice Wynekoop. You will meet an entirely different person in her account than you've met in all of the other press stories. It's well worth your time, believe me.
The most recent addition to this page is the article, "The Amazing Mystery of the Wynekoop Mansion," from the December 8, 1934 issue of Detective Weekly magazine. This story contains another new selection of photographs related to the case.
All my best,
Philadelphia Public Ledger News Index.
The Wynekoop Murder Case - 1933.
Who Killed Rheta Wynekoop?
The Inside Story of Chicago's Weird Wynekoop Mystery.
The Amazing Mystery of the Wynekoop Mansion
The "House of Weird Death".
Petticoat Surgeon: Murder?
Created April 27, 1999; Revised March 10, 2006
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Copyright © 1999, 2001-2006 by Christopher H. Wynkoop, All Rights Reserved
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