1910: Child Murderess: The Mary Radek Case



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Cases involving children as victims and defendants are found at all periods in the records. Some cases are accidental deaths; some are intentional. All raise special issues for legal determination.



The period saw the founding of the world’s first juvenile court in 1899 (JCLC p.641-705).  The Mary Radek case is discussed in detail in an article included here.

The Progressives and the social movements associated with the settlement houses and civic reform generally paid a great deal of attention to children and the conditions in which they lived and worked. Child labor was an important political issue at both the national and state level.

Both the 1911 Vice Commission Report and the 1915 Chicago City Council Report contain extensive data on juveniles, juvenile arrests and detentions, crimes of girls, and other contemporaneous statistics and descriptions (JCLC p.486-492).

For more information:


Juvenile Cases, 1899 –1926 (with gaps), Cook County Circuit Court Archives, Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago, Illinois. There are approximately 2,700 extant case files from the court’s founding in 1899 until 1926, but it is not known why these select records were preserved.  Every child who entered the juvenile court system was assigned a permanent case number and all his or her subsequent legal papers were filed under this number.  The case files are closed, but researchers may receive written permission from the presiding Chief Judge of the Cook County Juvenile Court in order to use them.