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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release July 20, 2010

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

SHSI publication tells story of Iowa boy murderer and his struggle for parole

1890 case happened as attitudes toward crime and punishment were changing

(IOWA CITY) – The story of a 12-year-old Iowa boy who was convicted in 1890 of murdering his parents is featured in the Summer 2010 issue of “The Annals of Iowa.”

Patricia L. Bryan, professor of law at the University of North Carolina, tells the story of John Wesley Elkins, who was sentenced to life in prison at the State Penitentiary at Anamosa.

In the article, Bryan relates Elkins’ years of struggle for pardon at a time when attitudes where changing about crime and punishment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“The Annals of Iowa” is a quarterly journal of history published by the State Historical Society of Iowa. It provides in-depth analysis of the events and ideas that formed the state and the region.

Each issue examines several facets of Iowa’s diverse history through articles and book reviews. Anyone with an interest in Iowa history will gain valuable perspective from the pages of the Annals.

Copies of  “The Annals of Iowa” can be purchased at the State Historical Society in Des Moines at the State Historical Building, 600 East Locust, or in Iowa City at 402 Iowa Avenue. Copies may also be ordered by writing or calling Publications Sales, SHSI, 402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, Iowa 52240 or by calling 319-335-3912 or 319-335-3916.

More information about the State Historical Society of Iowa is available at www.iowahistory.org.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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