William Ibbett? Jack the Ripper?

A good friend, Casey Smith, was invited to deliver his ideas to the 2018 edition of RipperCon, a biennial conference of all things Jack the Ripper, held in Baltimore, April 7 - 8. Casey approached Lead Graffiti about contributing to a keepsake that could be given out to the attendees to generate some excitement for his talk and to add to the Ripperness of the weekend. We thought it was worth a stab.

His talk, entitled William Joseph Ibbett (1858-1934): Poet, Printer, Piquerist, Ripper Suspect?, centers on a 4-line, handwritten poem found in a book in Ibbett's collection.

The writing of a silly fool
who all Commandments
use'd to flout
yes, even that eleventh rule,
Thou shalt not be found out

The 4th line is underlined and the poem is signed "W.I." Casey's premise was to propose Ibbett as a potential Jack the Ripper by offering the poem along with other circumstantial evidence.

Casey handset the incriminating poem in a period typeface called Packard, which has that nice swash "Th" ligature used at the beginning (see image below). He chose to print the text and a tailpiece in silver, fling a little airbrushing in blood red for a touch of gore, and (with a nod to the poem's original appearance) underline the final line with an old-school-style perforation to round out the visual design.

In the photo at the top, is Ray lurking between the torn-edge masks that were used to create the visual bloody gash.


Above shows the keepsake in its post mortem state.


Above you can see Ray's airbrushing in progress as Casey assists with paper handling. The two torn edges creating the sides of the gash were positioned fairly randomly. This adds a singular touch when people sitting side-by-side can see that their particular pieces are unique.

According to Casey, the keepsake received a good gut reaction from the RipperCon crowd.

For students it is worth saying that you should actively seek out projects that will give you some outside-of-class opportunities along with possibly getting a printed piece for your portfolio. These projects also give you one more opportunity to experiment.

Collaborating? Fun. Working with a new subject? Fun. Finding an unusual excuse to use our perforator? Fun. Helping out a friend? Fun. Adding to the overall enthusiasm for a conference of committed people? Bloody fun.