When Susan Elmore discovered a family connection to the victim of one of the most notorious crimes in Illinois history, Emma Bond, her curiosity got the better of her and her journey ended with Nameless Indignities. So began Elmore's search into records available about Emma, the "nameless indignities" the press mentioned were inflicted upon her, the small Illinois community that was the setting of the crime, and more. Emma's story was incredible in that as a young school teacher she told of how, after someone covered her head so that she could not see, two (or was it three?) men pulled her up into the attic-like space of the schoolhouse, then assaulted her, all late in the afternoon on a typical June day. Thereafter, Emma wavered between life and death for an extended period. Meanwhile, three (and later more) local men were charged with the crime. But were they the responsible parties, or had a crime, in fact, even been committed?
We take for granted in many ways today the technology that makes it possible to identify criminals, the procedures we use to investigate crimes and crime scenes, and so on. As Susan Elmore rightly points out in Nameless Indignities, however, investigating and solving crimes in days gone by was a very different matter. In the case at hand, a part of a toenail was examined by eye, to determine if it might belong to one of the defendants. Today, a simple DNA test would be the first order of business. On the other hand, this history shows how our media plays a similar part in events as it did in those long ago days. Susan Elmore's new theory of the crime and careful and complete rendition of events is certainly an interesting and most readable glimpse into a sensational crime from the past.