The Carl Panzram Papers document Panzram’s experience in America’s prison system as well as his reflections on and assessment of his own violent
behavior. The collection includes Panzram’s handwritten autobiographical manuscript, photocopies of annotated typescript
of the manuscript, correspondence between Lesser and Panzram, reviews and promotional material for Killer, and correspondence with several criminologists, psychologists, and writers, including H.L. Mencken and Sheldon Guleck.
The collection also contains copies of some of Panzram’s prison files, which Lesser obtained through the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA). These files include Panzram’s death certificate, the prison case report for the murder of R.G. Warnke, as well
as correspondence between psychologist Karl Menninger and prison warden T.B. White. The collection is arranged chronologically.
Carl Panzram was born 28 June 1892 in East Grand Forks, Minnesota to German immigrant parents. When he was about eight years
old his father abandoned the family, leaving Panzram’s mother to raise Panzram and his six siblings alone. Around this time,
Panzram began working in the fields of the family farm and was often beaten if he made mistakes. When he robbed a neighbor
at age eleven, he was sent to the Minnesota State Training School where he was repeatedly beaten and sexually abused. This
experience was the first of many at various reform schools, jails, and prisons that would, in part, shape his life of crime.
The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature
of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.
Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish
must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted,
permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are
made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the
materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
This collection is open for research. Please note that only photocopies are available for research. Permission must be granted
by the Head of Special Collections to view the original documents.