September 14th marked the 60th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s published account of his historic flight.
In my verse novel The Trial, the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son from the second floor bedroom of the aviator’s home in Hopewell, NJ, the subsequent police investigation, and the six-week criminal trial, are seen through eyes of a 12-year old protagonist. The novel remains a classroom favorite because of the still-unsolved nature of the case as well as the intimacy of the narration. One boy wrote to me and said: “Ms. Bryant, after reading your book, I don’t think Bruno Richard Hauptmann was the real kidnapper. There was no real proof that he was there that night at all. I think the jury just got tired of sitting still for so long and there was no one else to blame, so they said he was guilty.”
So—what do you think? Was Hauptmann the kidnapper? If so, did he work alone? If not—was it an inside job? A funny family prank that went horribly wrong? A well-organized caper by a gang of professional criminals?
There are many theories. There are few reliable clues. There are no eyewitnesses.
Here are some links where you can explore the life and work of Charles Lindbergh as well as to ponder what might have happened on that windy night in Hopewell, NJ, March 1, 1932. Tell us what you think!
Lindbergh Trial, special section from the Hunterdon County Democrat
New Jersey’s Lindbergh Kidnapping and Trial, a photographic history of “the case that never dies”
“Why the Delay?” Archival Ramblings, Mark W. Falzini, New Jersey State Police Museum
Charles Lindbergh, article on Wikipedia
The Spirit of St. Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s autobiography
The American Experience: Lindbergh, WGBH/PBS