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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., July 24, 2012

From our archives, 100 years ago

George Copelli, 26, was dining with his brother at White’s Cafe, at the corner of Stevens and Sprague, when a young woman walked in, headed for his booth and splashed a glass of carbolic acid directly on his face.

She raced out the front door and into the street, where she vanished into the crowd. Copelli staggered out of the booth in intense pain.

His brother led him to a nearby drugstore where clerks placed alcohol on the burns, then he was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital. But it was too late. Doctors said Copelli would be disfigured for life. They were more optimistic about his eyesight because he had closed his eyes in time to prevent the acid from blinding him.

When police asked if he knew the woman, he said her name was Catherine Burt, “but she was also known as Edith Wilson and Davis.” No explanation was provided about why a young woman would have three names.

Copelli could also offer no motive for the attack. He had not, he said, “offended her in any way.”

Police fanned out in search of Burt – or Wilson or Davis.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1911: Yale University history professor Hiram Bingham III found the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu, in Peru.


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