this day in crime history: june 2, 1919

On this date in 1919, eight bombs exploded in seven different US cities. The bombs, thought to have been the work of followers of Italian anarchist Luigi Galleani, were targeted at people perceived as outspoken critics of the anarchists. The targets, which included the home of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer (pictured above) were located in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Patterson, NJ. None of the intended targets was killed, but two innocent people died in the explosions.

The June 2nd attacks were part of a campaign of violence that began two months earlier. The Bureau of Investigation (precursor to the FBI) conducted an exhaustive investigation, but were unable to solve the crimes. Later that year, the Justice Department conducted a series of raids and deportations of immigrants believed to be a threat to national security.

Further reading:

FBI Famous Cases: 1919 Bombings

Wikipedia – 1919 United States anarchist bombings


6 thoughts on “this day in crime history: june 2, 1919

  1. John D.:
    Wow…whoever was behind this had a lot of thought out pretty well.

    Glad the intended targets were spared, but as usual with such “poor shots”…innocents become the stand-ins FOR those being targeted.
    Good story.

    Roll safe out there, boss.


  2. A good book about the bombings, the subsequent “Palmer raids,” and Palmer’s subsequent political (non-)career is “Young J. Edgar” by Kenneth D. Ackerman. According to Ackerman, young You-Know-Who planned and supervised the raids, then lied about it when they went sour, thereby saving his own career. (Like such a thing could have ever happened!)
    Fun fact in the book: When Palmer’s house was bombed, the first neighbors to come to his aid were Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. (This was a few years before FDR contracted polio; the image of him running to a crime scene is a little bit jarring.)


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