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Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping: Topics in Chronicling America

A guide for researching the topic of the "Lindbergh baby kidnapping" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Photographs of Lindbergh Baby and Family," May 12, 1932. Evening Star (Washington, DC), EXTRA, Image 4. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In the middle of the night, kidnappers climb a ladder to the second-story of the home of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, abduct his son, and leave a ransom note demanding $50,000. The nationwide search goes on for months and the story dominates the headlines. Dubbed in the press as "the crime of the century." Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


March 1, 1932 20-month-old son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh kidnapped from the 2nd floor nursery of the family home near Hopewell, NJ. Ransom note left behind.
March 6, 1932 Second ransom note received postmarked from Brooklyn, NY.
March 12, 1932 Dr. John F. Condon meets with kidnapper John about ransom money.
March 16, 1932 Condon receives sleeping suit from kidnappers.
April 2, 1932 11th and 12th ransom note received, Condon pays John's ransom.
April 3, 1932 Failed search for baby in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
May 12, 1932 Remains of the Lindbergh baby found near home.
May 26, 1932 New Jersey police issue a $25,000 reward for information.
October 19, 1933 FBI gains jurisdiction over the case.
August 20, 1934 More ransom gold notes found, lead police to Hauptmann.
September 19, 1934 Hauptmann is arrested.
September 20, 1934 Police find $13,000 of ransom money at Hauptmann's residence.
September 26, 1934 Hauptmann is indicted for extortion.
October 8, 1934 Hauptmann is indicted for murder of Lindbergh baby.
January 3, 1935 Hauptmann's trial begins in New Jersey.
February 13, 1935 Jury rules Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder.
April 3, 1936 Hauptmann is electrocuted for his crime.