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Topics in Chronicling America - Erich Muenter’s “Reign of Terror”

A bomb rips through the reception room of the Capitol building blowing out windows and doors and damaging the Senate chamber. A day later, Frank Holt armed with two pistols and a few sticks of dynamite shoots banking mogul, JP Morgan, before being subdued and severely beaten by Morgan’s servants. An Ivy League professor of many names, Erich Muenter is known “one of the most dangerous criminals of the age.” Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Picture of Erich Muenter and his alias

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • April 16, 1906 Leona Muenter dies of arsenic poison.
  • April 27, 1906 Cambridge police issue a warrant for the arrest of Erich Muenter in connection with his wife’s murder.
  • June 5, 1906 Muenter mails a pamphlet entitled “Protest” to his wife’s family. It was mailed from New Orleans and was the last lead in the man hunt for Muenter.
  • July 2, 1915 Frank Holt sets off a bomb in the reception room of the Capitol and then fled immediately to New York. The Washington Times received a note shortly before the explosion that called it “the exclamation point to my plea for peace.” The note was signed R. Pearce.
  • July 3, 1915 Holt shoots J.P. Morgan twice before being subdued by Morgan’s servants and arrested.
  • July 4, 1915 A bomb goes off at New York Police headquarters and arouses suspicions that Holt had accomplices who were responsible for the bombing.
  • July 5, 1915 The New-York Tribune publishes a jailhouse letter from Muenter that lays out his intention to hold J.P. Morgan’s family hostage to prevent the shipment of explosives and arms to allies and create “real neutrality.”
  • July 6, 1915 Muenter commits suicide in his jail cell.
  • July 7, 1915 An explosion occurs in the cargo hold of the Minnehaha, a ship carrying arms and supplies for the British military. Holt is suspected, as he had warned that the Saxonia or Philadelphia would be attacked on July 7th.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Erich Muenter, Leona Muenter, Frank Holt, R. Pearce, German, Cornell, Harvard, Senate Reception Room, and J. Pierpont Morgan.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. • The initial reports of the Capitol bombing make no mention of Frank Holt or Erich Muenter, because he was not a suspect before he confessed.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  July 11, 2014
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