'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' trial court reports
Scope and Contents
Series one, 'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' Stenographer Report, is comprised of five folders holding 1463 pages of legal proceedings from the Van Wormer Brothers' trial that took place between March 31, 1902 and April 18, 1902. Originally, these pages were bound in three volumes, with Volume 1 containing pages 1-322, Volume 2 containing pages 323-866, and Volume 3 containing pages 867-1423. Additionally, a five page Index of Witnesses is included at the end of each volume.
Series two, 'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' Appellants Proposed Case and Exceptions, includes four folders holding 820 pages of legal proceedings from the Van Wormer Brothers' trial that took place between March 31, 1902 and April 18, 1902. Originally, these pages were bound in two volumes, with Volume 1 containing pages 1-444, and Volume 2 containing pages 445-820. Additionally, a two page Index of Witnesses is included at the end of each volume. The report in these volumes is identical to the report in Series one, with the exception of marginalia and a handwritten statement at the end of the report signed and dated by the trial judge, Alden Chester. Both original binders are marked, "2nd Copy."
- Creation: 1902-03-31 - 1902-04-18
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.
Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.
Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.
Biographical / Historical
December 24, 1901 was a quiet evening in Greenport, New York. Peter Hallenbeck was at home with his wife and mother when there was a knock at the door. Hallenbeck opened the door, greeted by a group of four masked men who fired 13 shots at him before fleeing the scene. These four men would later be captured and identified as Willis, Burton, and Frederick Van Wormer, and Harvey Bruce. These four men were Hallenbeck’s nephews.
The three Van Wormer brothers were charged with murder in the first degree, and set to go to trial in the spring of 1902. Bruce, having already admitted his guilt, agreed to be a witness for the prosecution in the Van Wormer trial, with his own arraignment set after the conclusion of the trial. Jury selection for the Van Wormer trial took six days (March 31 to April 5) and the trial lasted another eleven (April 7 to April 18). The Jury found the Van Wormer Brothers guilty of murder in the first degree, and sentenced them to death by electric chair. In exchange for his testimony, Bruce dodged the murder charge, and instead was sentenced to 18 years in prison for first degree manslaughter.
The Van Wormer Brothers were executed on October 2, 1903 and were buried in the cemetery in their hometown of Kinderhook. Harvey Bruce served his prison sentence, which at the time of his cousins' executions, had been reduced to eleven years and two months for good conduct.
1 Cubic Feet (2 document boxes with 9 letter size folders and 1 clamshell box with 2 binder covers) ; 1 letter size Hollinger box (10.25 x 5 x 12.5) equals .37 cubic feet; 1 letter clamshell box (12.25 x 3 x 10.25) equals .22 cubic feet (as defined by UNLV Archives Calculator)
Language of Materials
Arranged in two series in chronological order.
Series 1. 'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' Stenographer Report
Series 2. 'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' Appellants Proposed Case and Exceptions
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Glenn Falk on December 12, 2018 and December 7, 2022.
Existence and Location of Copies
Digital copies of the entire physical collection are available through the Trinity College Digital Repository.
- Guide to the 'People of New York vs Van Wormer Brothers' trial court reports
- Josef Riccio in 2019. Revised by Amy FitzGerald in 2023.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2023-10-25: Title reworked and a new series added to reflect duplicate version of report.
Part of the Watkinson Library - Archival Collections Repository
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