Archives On The Air 94: Death Row Correspondence—Jean "Babe" London Papers

Jan 17, 2019

Jean "Babe" London headshot, undated. Jean London photo file.

Jean “Babe” London was a comedic film actress who acted in films with Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and others in the 20s and 30s.

In 1940 she began writing letters to a man on death row named Jack Kramer. Kramer had killed a woman named Frances Jones during a drunken argument. He said the woman had always rejected his marriage proposals.

It is unclear how 61-year-old Jack Kramer knew 40-year-old Babe London, but he wrote over 30 letters to her, and it seems that she responded. Kramer and London seemed to know each other from before the murder.

Letter from John "Jack" Kramer to Jean "Babe" London, August 1940. Box 5, Jean London papers.

In his final letter, Kramer wrote, “If the shedding of my blood, drop by drop, could recall the life I took I would gladly face the ordeal. But, such being out of the realm of possibility I submit, if not cheerfully, yet with good grace.”

The rest of Jack Kramer’s letters to Jean “Babe” London can be read at UW’s American Heritage Center.