Jack the Ripper

Artist's rendering of "a suspicious character" during Jack the Ripper era in London

Artist’s rendering of “a suspicious character” during Jack the Ripper era in London

Jack the Ripper is the name given to an unknown person who, in the fall of 1888, murdered at least five women in London’s Whitechapel district. His identity has never been uncovered, and his case remains one of the most famous unsolved criminal mysteries in history.

Murder in Whitechapel

Though as many as eleven murders have been speculated to be the work of Jack the Ripper, also called Leather Apron or the Whitechapel Murderer, five have been canonically attributed to him.  All took place within a one-mile radius in or near the overcrowded Whitechapel district in London’s East End.

The first was Mary Ann Nichols, whose body was found in August. In September, three more victims were found: Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, and Catherine Eddowes. Mary Jane Kelly was found in early November. Each time, the women were discovered with their throats cut and their bodies mutilated in a way that suggested some knowledge of human anatomy.

Letters and Police Investigation

Police received dozens of letters from persons claiming to be the murderer. Some were signed “Jack the Ripper,” leading to the sensational moniker by which the killer would be known. Despite widespread and varied efforts to capture the killer—including several arrests—no answers were forthcoming. Failure to catch the man responsible led to public outcry, and the London police commissioner resigned soon after. The murders stopped in late fall of 1888, and the culprit was never found.

Legacy

The gruesome mystery of Jack the Ripper has been the subject of numerous books, TV shows, films, and even macabre historical tours around the London murder sites. Investigations and speculations into his identity have continued throughout the decades, without success.

Learn more about Jack the Ripper through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about Jack the Ripper

Body of Mary Ann Nichols (victim of Jack the Ripper) is discovered in Whitechapel, Sept 1888Body of Mary Ann Nichols (victim of Jack the Ripper) is discovered in Whitechapel, Sept 1888 Sat, Sep 1, 1888 – Page 6 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comBody of Annie Chapman, Whitechapel Jack the Ripper victim, is discovered, Sep 1888Body of Annie Chapman, Whitechapel Jack the Ripper victim, is discovered, Sep 1888 Sun, Sep 9, 1888 – 5 · The Observer (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comBodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes (Jack the Ripper victims) are discovered, Oct 1888Bodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes (Jack the Ripper victims) are discovered, Oct 1888 Mon, Oct 1, 1888 – Page 9 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPolice decide to use bloodhounds in Whitechapel/Jack the Ripper murder investigation, Oct 1888Police decide to use bloodhounds in Whitechapel/Jack the Ripper murder investigation, Oct 1888 Sat, Oct 6, 1888 – Page 2 · The Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, Franklin, Kansas) · Newspapers.comInquest to be held into murder of Catherine Eddowes, Jack the Ripper victim, Oct 1888Inquest to be held into murder of Catherine Eddowes, Jack the Ripper victim, Oct 1888 Thu, Oct 11, 1888 – Page 6 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comIllustrated police news page about the Whitechapel Jack the Ripper murders, Oct 1888Illustrated police news page about the Whitechapel Jack the Ripper murders, Oct 1888 Sat, Oct 13, 1888 – 1 · The Illustrated Police News, etc. (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comBody of Mary Jane Kelly (Whitechapel Jack the Ripper victim) is discovered, Nov 1888Body of Mary Jane Kelly (Whitechapel Jack the Ripper victim) is discovered, Nov 1888 Sat, Nov 10, 1888 – 7 · The Pall Mall Gazette (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPerson claiming to be Jack the Ripper sends a letter to the police, Nov 1888Person claiming to be Jack the Ripper sends a letter to the police, Nov 1888 Fri, Nov 16, 1888 – Page 9 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comResignation of Sir Charles Warren speculated to be connected to Whitechapel murdersResignation of Sir Charles Warren speculated to be connected to Whitechapel murders Sat, Nov 17, 1888 – 5 · The Essex County Standard, etc. (Colchester, Essex, England) · Newspapers.comMan arrested in London on suspicion of being the Whitechapel Murderer (Jack the Ripper), Nov 1888Man arrested in London on suspicion of being the Whitechapel Murderer (Jack the Ripper), Nov 1888 Tue, Nov 20, 1888 – Page 2 · The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Cook, Illinois) · Newspapers.comMurdered woman in London's East End called Jack the Ripper's 9th victim, Nov 1888Murdered woman in London's East End called Jack the Ripper's 9th victim, Nov 1888 Thu, Nov 29, 1888 – 8 · The Wahpeton Times (Wahpeton, North Dakota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comNew York state commissioner of lunacy calls Jack the Ripper a lunatic, Nov 1888New York state commissioner of lunacy calls Jack the Ripper a lunatic, Nov 1888 Thu, Nov 29, 1888 – 8 · The Wahpeton Times (Wahpeton, North Dakota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comScotland Yard inspector arrives in New York to look for Jack the Ripper in AmericaScotland Yard inspector arrives in New York to look for Jack the Ripper in America Wed, Jan 2, 1889 – 2 · The Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Lancashire, England) · Newspapers.comTunisian police think they have captured Jack the Ripper; British police disagree, Jan 1889Tunisian police think they have captured Jack the Ripper; British police disagree, Jan 1889 Wed, Jan 16, 1889 – 1 · The Indianapolis Journal (Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States of America) · Newspapers.comLandlord believes his boarder was Jack the Ripper; gives evidence, Sept 1889Landlord believes his boarder was Jack the Ripper; gives evidence, Sept 1889 Fri, Sep 20, 1889 – 1 · The Exeter Flying Post or, Trewman's Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser (Exeter, Devon, England) · Newspapers.comTheory that Jack the Ripper (Whitechapel Murderer) is actually a woman, Sep 1889Theory that Jack the Ripper (Whitechapel Murderer) is actually a woman, Sep 1889 Fri, Sep 20, 1889 – 5 · Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland) · Newspapers.comWoman gives evidence that man who rented a room from her was actually Jack the Ripper, 1890Woman gives evidence that man who rented a room from her was actually Jack the Ripper, 1890 Sun, Oct 19, 1890 – 6 · Reynolds's Newspaper (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comNewspaper attributes murder of woman in New York to Jack the Ripper, 1891Newspaper attributes murder of woman in New York to Jack the Ripper, 1891 Sat, Apr 25, 1891 – Page 1 · Harrisburg Daily Independent (Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPolice in Vienna believe murderer who committed suicide was also Jack the Ripper, 1892Police in Vienna believe murderer who committed suicide was also Jack the Ripper, 1892 Sat, Oct 1, 1892 – 7 · Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, West Midlands, England) · Newspapers.comJack the Ripper (Whitechapel Murderer) is believed to be dead, 1895Jack the Ripper (Whitechapel Murderer) is believed to be dead, 1895 Mon, Jul 8, 1895 – 2 · Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from an article claiming that Jack the Ripper has been committed to insane asylum, 1895Excerpt from an article claiming that Jack the Ripper has been committed to insane asylum, 1895 Mon, Sep 9, 1895 – Page 1 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comHistorian believes Jack the Ripper may have come from  South Africa, 2007Historian believes Jack the Ripper may have come from South Africa, 2007 Thu, May 3, 2007 – 15 · The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States of America) · Newspapers.comAmateur sleuth says DNA proves Jack the Ripper was Aaron Kosminski, 2014Amateur sleuth says DNA proves Jack the Ripper was Aaron Kosminski, 2014 Tue, Sep 9, 2014 – Page A2 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States of America) · Newspapers.com
"Jack the Ripper," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/famous-people/jack-the-ripper/ : accessed October 25, 2021)