Newspaper coverage

The Grand Rapids Press and The Grand Rapids Herald were duking it out on the street with almost every major story. The murder of Mina Dekker was no exception. In one sense the coverage was vastly different from today: the reporters were almost a part of the process of law enforcement, allowed close access to the scene and many reports. The reportage was also different in that the shock of the crime showed through in emotional prose.

From my perspective, the Herald had the edge in the reporting, perhaps because of relationships between the staff and the police department at the time. But that’s just a guess.  There were philosophical differences, too, in the two newspapers.  The Herald was far more ready to print names of suspects as they paraded past.

Oh, and contrary to expressed opinion that murder was rare in Grand Rapids, in proportion to the slaughter of today it’s true it was less common, but I followed the story of four or five murders around the time this case was investigated. And there was Hitler, too, claiming headlines.

So, here are the papers, day by day for the period following the slaying.  The papers from March 5th are on this page but I’ll created subpages for each subsequent day. Click on the images to enlarge them.  

As always, thanks are due Karolee Gillman of the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Department at the Main (formerly Ryerson) Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

March 5, 1938

The Grand Rapids Press






The following account may be especially relevant.  Could her murdered already be in the warehouse portion of the third floor?  It certainly sounds like it.  Mina Dekker’s normally reserved but friendly behavior was nowhere evident in this reportage.


The Grand Rapids Herald