On January 1, 1904, two days after the Iroquois Theater fire, the
Tribune newspaper devoted most of a page to descriptions of unidentified victims.
By that time roughly 340 victims had been identified and approximately 235
The list was divided into four groups -- women
21+, girls, men 21+ and boys. Within each main group, victims were
categorized by the morgue where the body was being held awaiting
The descriptions were prepared at each of the eight morgues, probably by
standard form was not provided and the description thoroughness varied
greatly by morgue/officer. Some made a great effort to provide
information that would help identify the victim; other descriptions appear
hurried and of limited usefulness. Sometimes age and height estimates
were included, but not weight. Other times weight and height estimates
were provided but not age. Only half the descriptions included hair
color. Some descriptions consisted of just two words: "Badly burnt."
Footwear and stockings were black. Of those
for which hair color information was provided, 10%
had light colored hair, 8% were redheads, 6% were
going grey and the rest were brunette.
least some clothing description was given for 83% of
the women. Of those, 84% wore a blouse and
skirt rather than a dress or suit. White was
the most common blouse color but about 10% were
colorful or prominently patterned. A majority
of the skirts were black, brown or grey.
were mentioned only twice but more may have gone
unmentioned. As unseen garments, their
identification value was slight. Drawers
were not mentioned either, probably for the same
reason. Decorative petticoats were often
30 descriptions mentioned jewelry. Jewelry
found in the theater later could not be matched up
with the owner until after victim identification by
relatives. Of jewelry found on the
unidentified victims, eight breast pins were cited,
and four of those were described as sunbursts.