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William Guldensuppe Murder: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1897, the discovery of one-half of a torso sparks an investigation related to a love triangle. This guide provides access to materials related to the "William Guldensuppe Murder" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Suspected murderer, Martin Thorn (left) and his lover, Augusta Nack (Right). November 11, 1897. The Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

On a peaceful Sunday berry hunt, two children stumble upon a mysterious, neatly wrapped bundle. Its contents? Half a human torso. After heavy police investigation the other half is found on the opposite side of the city—later identified as the body of William Guldensuppe, the unfortunate victim of a dangerous love triangle between Martin Thorn and Augusta Nack. 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.


June 26-27, 1897 Half a human torso wrapped in cloth is found in the East River in New York City. The other half is found in a wooded area.
June 30, 1897 William Guldensuppe, a Turkish bath attendant, is identified as the victim.
July 1, 1897 Augusta Nack, a lover of Guldensuppe’s, and her lover Martin Thorn are arrested. Zealous reporters of New York’s “yellow” papers produce many of the preliminary clues in the case.
December 1, 1897 Thorn convicted of first degree murder.
January 11, 1898 Nack sentenced to 15 years in prison.
August 1, 1898 Thorn dies by the electric chair at Sing Sing prison.