Archival Finding Aids



Collection Number



The Brooke Hart Kidnapping Newspaper collection provides newspaper documentation of the murder of Brooke Hart, which tookplace on November 9, 1933 and the subsequent lynching of the perpetrators, John Maurice Holmes and Thomas Harold Thurmond onNovember 26, 1933 in San Jose, California. Brooke Hart, a young man of 22 and recent graduate of Santa Carla University, was appointedby his father, Alex Hart, owner of the Hart Department Store, the vice president of the company. The Hart family was one of most respectedand wealthiest families in San Jose. The kidnapping and murder became national news, and the lynching of the two accused defendantsmarked the first and last lynching in San Jose since 1854. After Hart's body was discovered in the San Francisco bay on November 26, 1933,mob violence broke out and an angry mob rushed the jail and the two men were dragged to Saint James Park where they were beaten,stripped of their clothes, and hung. This story made national news and a media and political circus followed. California Governor JamesRolph Jr. shamefully applauded the actions of the mob, for which he was condemned by President Franklin Roosevelt and former PresidentHerbert Hoover. In the aftermath, gruesome street hawkers sold post-cards of the event, while others sold pieces of the tree limbs assouvenirs. The trees were finally cut-down, the jail and new post-office were badly damaged, and the mob was never indicted by the SantaClara Grand Jury. The failure of due process, the murders of the two defendants, and the lawlessness that prevailed is an important story inthe larger framework of the history of lynching in the United States. This single series collection is arranged by format and date: Series I:Brooke Hart Newspapers and Scrapbook, 1933.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Brooke Hart -- History
History -- Brooke Hart Case
Santa Clara County -- Kidnapping Cases
Santa Clara County -- 1930s -- Murder case
History -- San Jose
Kidnapping cases
1933 Murder cases

Document Type

Finding Aid

Upload Date




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.