#5 Sounds of Silence: Violence in the Physical and the Archives


My name is Grant Harris and I am a senior at Butler University. I have been studying history for the last four years. In the past I have done research and written papers on gender dynamics in different time periods and situations. Previously I have examined gender dynamics in rural Missouri during the Civil War as well as the Black Panther Party. For this class I have moved to now look at late 1800s and early 1900s Indiana and the gender structures that exist.

Description of Podcast

This episode examines two crimes that we came across throughout the class. We look at Cyrus Brown’s murder of his wife Amanda Brown and the murder E.E Gray committed against a woman he was having an affair with, Lizzie Skinner. The purpose for looking at these two cases is to further an understanding of the gender dynamics that existed in late 1800s and early 1900s Indiana.

What was found through the research and studying of these cases along with other examples was an overwhelming lack of representation of women in the records and this in some ways silenced them from history. The archives act as a complicated and extremely powerful space that can at times have aspects of violence to it. In this episode I argue that women in this time and place were silenced by the physical violence they experienced but also silenced in the records.

Further, when looking at the way the crimes were written about, either in the newspapers or from the perspective of the man who committed the crime it lends itself to a deeper understanding of the gender dynamics. In the podcast I explore those themes and relate them to present day issues.

Sources [MLA]

“Brown Sentenced to Hang.” Hope Republican 21 December 1893. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“New Trial for Cyrus Brown.” Indianapolis News 4 April 1894. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“Murderer Brown’s Burial Place.” Daily Geencastle Banner and Times 5 March 1894. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“The News Condensed.” The Greencastel Democrat 23 February 1895. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“Local Brevities.” Marshall County Independent 6 January 1899. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“Bloomfield’s Tragedy.” Bloomington Press 3 January 1899. Hoosier State Chronicles.

“Dr. E.E Gray Murderer.” The Indianapolis Journal 6 May 1899. Newspaper.com

“Threaten to Lynch a Doctor.” Logansport Pharos-Tribune 31 Dec 1898. Newspaper.com

“Dr. Gray’s Defense.” The Bremen Enquirer 19 May 1899. Newspaper.com

“Gets Life Sentence.” The Tribune 22 May 1899. Newspaper.com

“Dr. Gray Murder Trial.” Princeton Clarion-Leader 6 May 1899. Newspaper.com

“The Evidence.” The Republic 13 December 1893. Newspaper.com  

“Pardon One Man Refuse Another.” The Evening Republic 12 July 1910. Newspaper.com

“The Life of Cyrus Brown in the Hands of Twelve of His Countrymen.” The Republic 15 Dec 1893. Newspaper.com

Ritchie, Andrea J. Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color. Bacon Press. 2017.

Dee Yan-Key. “Dark Days.” 28 Oct. 2018,