Click on the photograph of Cook County Sheriff Canute Matson (Mosher & Company) to read brief handwritten notes addressed to him in February 1887 by August Spies and James Van Zandt, imploring Matson to admit Spies's wife and Van Zandt's daughter Nina to see her husband. Matson did relent, and Van Zandt became a regular visitor to the jail, often bringing flowers and other gifts. Matson was forty-five when he was elected sheriff in 1886. A native of Norway, he had previously served as clerk of the police court, justice of the peace, and coroner.

Click on the photograph of Nina Van Zandt (Mosher & Company) to read a short letter she wrote regarding the amnesty movement. The letter was written in October 1887, after the Illinois Supreme Court had dismissed the application for a writ of error but before the anarchists' attorneys made their failed plea before the United States Supreme Court.