Preacher’s Baby Girl / Gangster’s Wife


A reading of historical newspapers from the golden age of yellow journalism.

The Trial and Travails of Norma Brighton Millen

On Sunday, I will be presenting the final chapter of the Dillinger saga, which I recorded from the main stage of the Biograph Theater, where the scoundrel John Dillinger watched his last gangster picture.

Today’s episode takes place around the same time that the Dillinger story began reaching its climax in the first half of 1934.

It’s the story of a young girl, the daughter of a prominent minister and graduate of a fine finishing school, who fell into the wrong crowd and married a man who would be executed for the crime of the gang he was trying to build.

The papers never said, but I can’t help but think the Millen-Faber Gang fancied themselves to be the Dillingers of the East Coast.

The story grabbed my attention because of the way Norma Brighton Millen presented herself after her capture.

Is she the innocent dupe as she proclaimed? Or was she using her pretty face and sophisticated air to disguise her inner bad girl and get off easy? I’d like to hear your thoughts, so leave me some comments on my Facebook page after you listen.

Sources and Clips:

The_Evening_Independent_Thu__Apr_19__1934_ (1)






The_Brooklyn_Daily_Eagle_Mon__Feb_26__1934_ (1)





Fitchburg_Sentinel_Mon__Jun_25__1934_ Fitchburg_Sentinel_Tue__Jun_26__1934_

The_North_Adams_Transcript_Thu__Jun_28__1934_ The_Racine_Journal_Times_Wed__Aug_21__1935_ The_Palm_Beach_Post_Wed__Jun_27__1934_

The_Evening_Times_Tue__Mar_6__1934_ The_Evening_Times_Tue__Mar_6__1934_ (1) The_Evening_Times_Sat__Mar_3__1934_ The_Brooklyn_Daily_Eagle_Mon__Feb_26__1934_ The_Daily_Capital_News_Tue__May_1__1934_ The_Daily_Mail_Tue__Aug_18__1936_ St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Sat__Mar_3__1934_ Pottstown_Mercury_Wed__Feb_28__1934_ Pottstown_Mercury_Sat__Mar_3__1934_ New_Castle_News_Tue__May_1__1934_ (1) New_Castle_News_Tue__May_1__1934_ Corsicana_Semi_Weekly_Light_Fri__Feb_16__1934_


Quadruple Electrocution: Four Murders, Four Executions


A special edition of Yesterday’s News exploring the American criminal justice system at its most extreme, inflicting the death penalty.

Although this episode stands alone, it is something of a follow-up to “The Shocking Death of William Kemmler,” which I published about two months ago. If you remember, that execution went so badly that many thought it was a failed experiment. Indeed, it took the state of New York nearly a year to perform a second electric chair execution, but it did so with a bang, putting four men to death on the same day, July 7, 1891.

Will it work out any better this time? Listen and find out…

Music by Chuck Wiggins


1891 0707 The_Evening_World_Tue__Jul_7__1891_head_time

1891 0707 The_Evening_World_Tue__Jul_7__1891_time

1891 0707 The_Evening_World_Tue__Jul_7__1891_illo

The_Brooklyn_Daily_Eagle_Fri__Apr_4__1890_ The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Mon__May_26__1890_ The_Evening_World_Mon__Jul_6__1891_ Wilkes_Barre_Times_Leader__the_Evening_News_Thu__Jan_2__1890_