New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center Sept 30, 2018 7:22:50 GMT -5
Post by Michael on Sept 30, 2018 7:22:50 GMT -5
Placed in the Archives by Admin For amy35
"The only impossible journey is the one you never begin."
- Anthony Robbins
I just recently took a journey to a place I thought I would never go to. I made my first visit to the archives at the New Jersey State Police Museum and Learning Center. I am not a writer, author, journalist; nor am I connected in any way to the television or film industry. I am just a plain everyday person who has a serious interest in the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping. With all the books, periodicals, newspaper archives, and participation on this excellent discussion board, I came to realize I still had much more to learn and knew I would have to go to the most important source of information available - The Archives.
Having never done anything like this before in my life, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I contacted Mark Falzini, Archivist at the museum and arranged a day and time to make my visit. His response was both friendly, informative and supportive of my requests to him. My visit was set. On the day I had chosen, I took my driving directions and off I went.
Once inside the museum, I asked at the desk for Mark Falzini. The female trooper at the reception desk called out to Mark that I was there. Mark came to the open doorway with a smile and extended hand to welcome me. His friendly manner is very engaging and certainly what I needed to counter my nervousness and the underlying excitement I was feeling. He brought me into the large archive room which is filled with filing cabinets and wall shelving (completely filled) all containing materials housing information pertinent to the NJSP. As we walked to the center of the room, which has a conference table with chairs that researches can use, I looked around and my nervousness and excitement became quickly coupled with a feeling of being overwhelmed. I somehow managed to ask Mark where the Lindbergh case materials were (privately fearful he might say everything in the room is case related), and he pointed to the long wall behind him which had shelving from one end to the other filled from ceiling to floor with binders, boxes, and file boxes of documents available for research. He quickly added that there was more material on the side wall that also contained materials about the case. I was hoping my face was not revealing the panic that was going on internally, as I briefly and silently questioned my own sanity about what I was undertaking. Then my thoughts turned to Michael Melsky and how he had gone through this massive amount of material, not just once, but several times in his quest to know all he could about the kidnapping right through to the Flemington Trial and eventual execution of Bruno Richard Hauptmann. It was an awe-inspiring moment that can only be realized when you stand in that room and gaze upon the volume of documents that are contained there for people to research.
In my original contact with Mark Falzini, and being in blissful ignorance of the actual archives, I asked him to help me locate certain files I wanted to look at for this first visit. Mark, being the helpful person he is, went beyond what I asked and actually pulled all the material I was interested in and had it waiting for me. So while he and I were standing at the conference table he directed my attention to the surface behind me where he had put my requested materials for my research. This was one of those moments when reality confronts television. I expected to see (per TV) a file box with some folders in it that I figured I would breeze through and then be done by lunch time. What a wake up and smell the coffee moment this was! Mark had graciously arranged for me 3 large legal size manila folders. Next to them was a stack of accordion style file folders stacked vertically and then another group of accordion file folders lined up horizontally, All those accordion files contained numerous manila file folders all full of investigative reports. I was stunned by the amount of material I had unknowingly asked for. I think I managed to say thank you to Mark for assembling those materials for me. I had no idea there would be so much. You quickly learn that no aspect of this case is small and the scope of the investigative efforts of the New Jersey State Police Troopers, who worked long and hard, is extensive and detailed.
While there, Mark showed me The Lindbergh Case display. It is really nice! I was very surprised when I looked at the ladder. It was so narrow in width. I pondered how anyone could have pulled off the kidnapping with it. The ransom box is also smaller than I realized it would be. As Mark explained, the money had been banded into packages making the $50,000 dollars fit nicely inside. Hauptmann's trunk that he had made for the back of his Dodge was impressive. He really was a skillful carpenter. I then looked at the bored out piece of wood that Hauptmann had used to hide some ransom money and the Liliput gun. It is the tiniest gun I have ever seen.
Speaking of guns, Mark showed me a recent acquisition to the museum. It is Condon's .38 caliber handgun he called "Slick Willy" which he had on his person when he went to meet CJ for the first time on March 12, 1932. Mark actually allowed me to hold it (no cartridges in gun), and it was a special moment to be handling a piece of Lindbergh case history 80+ years later. There are so many items that are stored in the archive area that I did not get to see but eventually plan to.
I truly now understand why Michael encourages people to go to the archives if they possibly can. I know from my experience there is so much to be learned once you do go there and I also became doubly appreciative of the volumes Michael Melsky has/is writing. It becomes clear why it took so many years of research to be able to create the books he has authored. They deserve not only our attention but our respect as well.
If you are a bucket list person, I hope you will put an archives trip at the top of your list. No bucket list - make sure you go anyway. Like me, you will be happy that you did and you will walk away knowing more much than you did when you arrived.