This is a death threat letter addressed to Dr. Van Meter (a co-founder of Goucher College) from the Black Hand Society from 1913 (100 years ago this past month!). The Black Hand Society was a group of extortionists from Southern Italy with very little formal education, that immigrated to America in the late 1800’s. By 1900, they had established operations in most major cities with Italian communities including Detroit, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
They threatened individuals who they knew to be wealthy, demanding money be dropped in a specific place at a specific time. In this letter, they demanded the 500 ”gold notes” be dropped at Maryland and 24th which is one of the entrances to the old Goucher campus in Baltimore.
We have no record of whether or not Dr. Van Meter went through with this, but he did not die at the hands of this Black Hand Society, so we are guessing that he probably did. Pretty neat find in the SC&A, this job never gets old, does it?