A ‘rip’ing good time

Shelley Blundell

Library exhibit highlights a variety of Jack the Ripper memorabilia

A poster of Jack the Ripper looms in the elevator lobby of the 12th floor in the library. Cara Gilgenbach, curator and university archivist for Special Collections looks out on the campus below.

Credit: Andrew popik

Anyone for a game of Jack the Ripper?

This 1980s-circa boardgame is just one of the many pieces of “Ripper memorabilia” on display as part of the Special Collections and Archives exhibit on Jack the Ripper.

The exhibit, “Mysteries of the East End: Jack the Ripper in Print and Popular Culture,” is just a small portion of the Borowitz true crime collection held by the special collections and archives department on the 12th floor of the library.

“We wanted to run an exhibition that would highlight the holdings of the world-class Borowitz crime collection,” said Cara Gilgenbach, curator and university archivist for special collections.

“Response to (the exhibit) has generally been quite positive, and we have had quite a few people, from both the on-campus and off-campus community, come in to visit it.”

Among the many books, newspaper stories and historical journals on display, the exhibit also features various memorabilia from 1888 to the present.

Artifacts include bar coasters and towels, a necktie and many comic and graphic novels.

“The focus of the exhibit is not so much on the details of the case itself,” Gilgenbach said.

“Rather, it explores the large body of literature that has been created in relation to (the case).”

The Kent State University Press is in the process of publishing a book about Ripperologists (people who study the Ripper case). The book, Ripperology by Robin Odell, will be published in 2006.

“Odell is a British expert on the Ripper mystery,” said Will Underwood, director of the Kent State University Press.

“Rather than being another book attempting to solve the murders, it is a book about the phenomenon surrounding the case — a compendium, if you will, of all the literature, discoveries and developments by people researching the case.”

The book will be published as part of the Borowitz true crime collection.

The Jack the Ripper exhibit will be on display until May of this year. The special collections and archives department is open 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact general assignment reporter Shelley Blundell at [email protected].