I Found Ream Constance Hoxie

I’ve posted about Ream Constance Hoxie several times over the years. Ream was a 17 year old New York girl who was murdered on February 4, 1920. The folder containing her case was in an old boxed marked “1921,” that was tucked away and forgotten in an NYPD warehouse. I mentioned her very briefly in my book The Restless Sleep.

Ream was murdered in her home on West 89th Street somewhere between 3 and 3:30 in the afternoon. She was hit in the head with a hammer seven times, shattering her skull, and raped. In their notes the detectives referred to her rape as having been “mistreated”.

I don’t know why it should matter, but I have always wanted to see her face. I’ve read all the case files, researched her, wondered about her, grieved for her. But I also felt enraged that on top of having her life taken away so brutally and at such a young age, she was completely forgotten. I guess seeing her face would make her a little less abandoned by history.

I noticed that someone viewed all my Ream Constance Hoxie posts yesterday, and I decided to take another look. Every year more and more historic materials are digitized and you never know. Well, sure enough, I found a digitized article written 16 years after Ream was murdered. The reporter was comparing her death to a recent murder. In the article was a picture of Ream.

I finally found her. Life can be so unfair, and of course it’s not unfair equitably. Some people suffer more than others.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “I Found Ream Constance Hoxie

  1. Well, “mistreated” is one word for it. Not the word I’d use. What a terrible thing to happen.
    I know what you mean about needing to see a picture. This is part of why I like graveyards–I’m always struck by the care taken with names and dates, especially on really old tombstone. To see dates and know somebody was a newborn or infant, and yet people took the trouble, even in the 1800s, to name them and bury them with care and carve their name and date into a stone (in a time when death was pretty frequent and resources were scarcer), that’s really a beautiful thing to me.
    Thank you for sharing Ream Constance Hoxie’s picture. She deserves to be mourned, as do all people.

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