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New York Daily News: Ruth Snyder

Posted by: | April 9, 2016 | 1 Comment |

The New York daily News is known for its cover issue showing the execution of murderer Ruth Snyder. The well-known image is often described as being on of the most famous tabloid photos to have ever been published.


source: nydailynews.com

Ruth Snyder was a housewife from Queens Village, Queens, New York City and she was married to Albert Snyder. In 1925 she began an affair with Henry Judd Gray. Gray and Snyder planned the murder of her husband. After taking out a forged insurance policy, the pair garroted Albert Snyder. They then tried to stage his death as if it had been a burglary. It wouldn’t be long before bot would be charged, convicted, and sentenced to death.

source: wikimedia.org

source: wikimedia.org

At Sing Song Prison Snyder was sentenced to die in an electric chair. No photographs were allowed, however the New York Daily News was not going to give up easily. Tom Howard was brought in where he posed as a writer while discretely having a camera strapped to his right ankle. Arriving early on the day of the execution and seated in a vantage position, he would take a picture that would make him gain widespread popularity overnight.

When Snyder shook from the volt of the chair, the photograph as snapped. The camera was linked to the shutter release in Howard’s jacket. He lifted the leg of his pants to snap the picture. The image captured proved to be even re dramatic because it was blurry because of motion. The following day the picture was printed on the front cover of the issue on Jan. 13, 1928. The headline displayed “Dead!” in large font over the image. This cover and the camera can be viewed in the Newseum’s News Corporation News History gallery in a display on sensationalism.

source: murderpedia.org

source: murderpedia.org

For his image Howard was well paid, and gained a huge amount of popularity overnight. Neither Howard nor the newspaper was ever prosecuted. However after this incident witnesses of similar executions were thoroughly searched to make sure that no one concealed cameras again.

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