I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then followed my mother’s advice to go somewhere “different” for college. In 1965, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. Now, more than five decades later, my roots are still in the East, but my heart – and my passion for researching and writing about history – is in the West. Colorado has remained my home. Here you will learn more about my books, articles, current projects – and about me. Thanks for visiting my website. (Visitors to www.boulderjanedoe.com are redirected here, as that site has now merged with this one.)
Stumped on a cold case? Need historical context for a research project? Looking for people or places in Boulder County, Colorado? Contact me for more information.
Silvia Pettem © 2023
Silvia Pettem’s In Search of the Blonde Tigress is a true crime gem detailing a little known story. The book is fast paced, fact driven and supported by photos. Ashley S.
Extremely well researched on an almost impossible task. Christine C.
What an interesting story, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about some history of Illinois I never knew about. The book even has pictures –– a well written book. Sheila T.
A unique story I felt was an engaging read. Valerie S.
Well written and surprisingly easy and breezy to read despite all the information provided. Highly recommended. Poppy M.
I really hadn't heard of Eleanor Jarman before, and this was what I was hoping for. It worked well as a introduction to this notorious lady. It had a great concept for a true crime book, and I could tell that Silvia Pettem could write a good book. They did the research and it really showed in the writing. I can't wait to read more from Silvia Pettem. Kathryn M.
IN SEARCH OF THE BLONDE TIGRESS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ELEANOR JARMAN
Beginning in 1933, Eleanor Jarman was sensationalized by the press as the “blonde tigress” and “the most dangerous woman alive.” But a closer look at her life shows that she was an otherwise ordinary woman who got caught up in a Chicago crime spree, then was convicted as an accomplice to murder and sent to prison. In 1940, Eleanor escaped and managed to live out her life as, perhaps, America’s longest-running female fugitive.
Following the murder of an elderly shopkeeper, readers are given a front-row seat for Eleanor’s arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing—all documented with recently unearthed primary-source police records, court transcripts, and prison files—and her subsequent prison years. Woven in are comparisons and contrasts between Eleanor’s and her escape partner’s criminal histories, as well as speculation on their lives on the lam. Whether Eleanor deserved her sentence, or whether it was too harsh, is left for the reader to decide.
IN SEARCH OF THE BLONDE TIGRESS sets the mystery and intrigue of this wanted woman into historic context. It also includes her family’s plea, in 1993, for Eleanor to come forward and apply for clemency. Most revealing at the time was Eleanor’s alias. With that information (and considering that Eleanor, born in 1901, is certainly now deceased), Silvia Pettem documents her search for Eleanor’s remains—right up to a visit to her likely grave.
Escaped fugitive Eleanor Jarman (under the name of her alias) is believed to have worked at Pete’s Kitchen (right), 1962 East Colfax Avenue, in Denver, in 1959 and 1960.
SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER: IN SEARCH OF JUSTICE FOR JANE DOE, UPDATED EDITION was republished in February 2023, in paperback, by Lyons Press, subsidiary of Rowman & Littlefield.
This paperback edition is UPDATED with the EPILOGUE that was not included in the first/hardback edition.
SEE ALSO, “WEB OF DEATH (EPISODE #2, BOULDER JANE DOE)" STREAMING ON HULU. ("Local journalist Silvia Pettem delves into the 50-year-old mystery of Boulder Jane Doe, an unidentified woman murdered in Colorado.”)
THE BOOKWORM OF EDWARDS for hosting COLD CASES & WANTED WOMEN (photos below). Please continue to support this bookstore in Edwards, Colorado.
The BOULDER BOOKSTORE for hosting an evening with true crime writers.
The DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY UNIVERSITY BRANCH.
BOOK CLUB MEMBERS who invite me to their discussions of my book….great questions and lots of fun!
In addition to writing books, I co-author the “In Retrospect” history column for the Boulder Daily Camera, in Boulder, Colorado. My latest column, “Caribou Cemetery neglected but not forgotten,” and many others, can be read at the “In Retrospect column” link, below.
A recent newspaper column ties in with the CARIBOU CEMETERY PROJECT — a community effort to restore respect to those buried in a small Colorado mountain cemetery, once home to silver miners from Cornwall.
Left, A small cross used to hang near the cemetery’s entrance.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Long-term missing persons
Cold case homicides
Boulder County, Colorado, history