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Title Killing the Poormaster: A Saga of Poverty, Corruption, and Murder in the Great Depression.
Object Name Book
Catalog Number 2012.001.0141
Collection Hoboken Library & Literary Collection
Credit Museum Collections.
Author Metz, Holly
Summary Killing the Poormaster: A Saga of Poverty, Corruption, and Murder in the Great Depression. By Holly Metz. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, [2012]. First edition. 8vo hardcover, dustjacket. pp. x, 308; map; photographs; indexed. Copy 1.

A non-fiction examination of the murder of a Hoboken, N.J. city officer, the Overseer of the Poor, Harry L. Barck.

Text, dustjacket, front flap:
On February 25, 1938, Hoboken's reviled poormaster, Harry Barck - wielding power over who would receive public aid - died from a paper spike thrust into his heart.

Barck was murdered, the prosecution would assert by an unemployed mason named Joe Scutellaro. In denying Scutellaro money, Barck had suggested that the man's wife prostitute herself on the streets rather than ask for the New Jersey city for aid. The men scuffled. Scutellaro insisted that Barck fell on his spike; the police claimed that he grabbed the spike and stabbed Barck.

News of the poormaster's death brought national attention to the plight of ten million unemployed Americans living in desparate circumstances. A team led by celebrated attorney Samuel Liebowitz of "Scottsboro Boys" fame worked to save Scutellaro from the electric chair, arguing that the jobless man's struggle with the poormaster was a symbol of larger social ills. The trial became an indictment of "a system which expects a man to live this great democracy under such shameful circumstances."

The issues examined in Killing the Poormaster - massive unemployment, endemic poverty, and the inadequacy of public assistance - remain vital. With its insight into our social contract, Killing the Poormaster reads like today's news.
Publisher Lawrence Hill Books / Chicago Review Press
Published Place Chicago
Published Date 2012
Copy# 1
Physical Description 8vo hardcover
Search Terms Overseer of the Poor
Year Range from 2012
Year Range to 2012
ISBN 978-1-61374-418-5
People Barck, Harry
McFeely, Bernard N.
Scutellaro, Frank
Scutellaro, Joseph
Scutellaro, Anna
Liebowitz, Samuel
Classification Crime
Social & Personal Activity
Domestic Life
Government & Politics
Law Enforcement