1889, two years after the anarchists were either dead and buried or locked
away in prison, Police Captain Michael Schaack, pictured on the right, published
what remains to this day the largest book on Haymarket. Anarchy and Anarchists
runs just under seven hundred pages, with about two hundred illustrations
from various sources, several of which are included in this site. Anarchy
and Anarchists's rambling multipart subtitle, which was conventional
at the time, gives an overview of its contents: A History of the Red
Terror and the Social Revolution in America and Europe. Communism, Socialism,
and Nihilism in Doctrine and Deed. The Chicago Haymarket Conspiracy, and
the Detection and Trial of the Conspirators.
Although the book appeared under Schaack's name, in his preface he credits "much of the literary form of this volume" to Thomas O. Thompson and John T. McEnnis. An interesting sidenote is that Thompson, who had been a newspaper reporter and owned his own publishing company, had served as Mayor Carter Harrison's private secretary for six years during the 1880s.
Schaack dedicated his book to Joseph E. Gary and Julius S. Grinnell, the judge and chief prosecutor in the Haymarket trial, but in a larger sense it is dedicated to Schaack himself, whose photograph faces the title page. With his arms on his hips and his sword at his side, Schaack's pose evokes the photograph of defense attorney William Black as a young man in his Civil War uniform (see the entry "Captain Black" in the "To the Bar of Justice" section of Act III).
Schaack portrays himself as Chicago's valiant champion of law and order when the future of the city lay in the balance. He claims that he protected the citizenry not only from the assaults of anarchist terrorists who would bring the proud metropolis to its knees, but also from the failings of Superintendent Ebersold. "I think it would be a false delicacy for me . . . to pass over the notorious incompetency which prevailed at Police Headquarters at that time," Schaack declared. "It cannot be denied that, had the case been left in the hands of the men of the Central Office, the prosecution would have come to naught."
In spite of its obvious biases and self-serving qualities, Schaack's book is a surprisingly good resource for much information and background on the case, including transcriptions of numerous key documents and speeches. Less surprising is the criticism it received from those who sided with the defense and, of course, from Ebersold, who, in a reorganization of the department, had become Inspector rather than Superintendent of Police. "The whole trouble with Schaack was that he got the 'big head,' and wanted to run a police department of his own on the North Side," Ebersold responded. "I wouldn't let him do it and that made him angry." He specifically denied Schaack's charge that Ebersold should be blamed for the fact that Rudolph Schnaubelt, the alleged bomb-thrower, got away.
Ebersold called Schaack a "low-bred man" who opposed Ebersold's desire to try to restore calm after the bombing. Schaack, charged Ebersold, "wanted to keep the thing stirring. He wanted bombs to be found here and there, all around, everywhere." He called Schaack "this little boy who must have glory or his heart would be broken."
The most damaging countercharge offered by Ebersold went a step further, implying that Schaack manufactured the anarchist threat for his own personal benefit. "After we got the anarchist societies broken up," Ebersold told a Chicago Daily News interviewer, "Schaack wanted us to send out men to again organize new societies right away. You see what this would do. He wanted to keep the thing boiling—keep himself prominently before the public." Ebersold claimed he refused to condone this, and began to have his own suspicions. "After I heard all that I began to think that there was perhaps not so much to all this anarchist business as they claimed, and I believe I was right."
Ebersold's comments helped to undermine the credibility of Schaacks's discoveries during the Haymarket investigation. By the time Ebersold made his remarks, however, the reputations of several police involved in the case, including Schaack, had already been badly damaged by a dramatic series of sordid revelations. In early January 1889, the Chicago Daily Times carried a series of articles reporting that Detective Jacob Loewenstein, one of Schaack's key operatives three years earlier, had stolen and then sold property confiscated from citizens. Among the items discovered in the Loewenstein home were a brooch and cuff-buttons that Louis Lingg had intended for his girlfriend Elise Friedel.
The source of the story was none other than Loewenstein's wife Mabel, who, in a lurid real-life soap opera, exposed her husband's criminality because Loewenstein had condemned her as a "disreputable woman" after she had shot and seriously wounded him, presumably as a result of another domestic argument. The scandal also implicated Schaack, and soon Bonfield, whom the paper accused of purposely "overlooking" the many gambling dens thriving in the city. In its colorful style, the Times then screamed foul when Bonfield ordered its editors arrested for libel. Bonfield's attempt to censor the paper not only failed, but also added more fuel to the charges of corruption and abuse of power. On February 6, Mayor Roche suspended all three policemen. Schaack and Bonfield were soon off the force for good.
For more on Schaack, see "Man on a Mission" and "The One that Got Away" entries in the "Guardians of the Peace" section of Act III.