With thanks to Cindi-- a teaser of a 2010 year end Bonnie & Clyde topic. Cindi had e-mailed asking about Bonnie's bloodied glasses, which were said to have been worn by Bonnie Parker at the time of the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde. I as many have been aware of Bonnie's purported eyeglasses, which possess such a uniquely personal and poignant reminder of Bonnie's life through the image of her blood-- but I must admit I've never spent an adequate time focused upon them.
The story goes that after Bonnie Parker, the next owner of the glasses was Sheriff Thomas R. Hughes of Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Caddo Parish includes the Shreveport area of the state, which is located approximately 50 miles from the ambush site. How Sheriff Hughes obtained them, I'm not sure is known. In 1938 Sheriff Hughes was said to have presented the glasses to Art Olson of East Tulsa, Oklahoma. To my knowledge, what connection these 2 men shared is also a mystery. There was also an intermediary noted within that transaction named Cecil Harberson. Mr. Olson was then said to have given Bonnie's glasses to a man named D. A. Bryce. Upon the death of Bryce, his niece in settling his estate-- returned the glasses to A. O. Olson in 1976. The current owner of the glasses is a man from Massachusetts known as Steve E. At least one photo of Bonnie's Death Glasses, depicts the glasses within a case from the Southern Optical Company-- which if this case was found along with the glasses, may well indicate these to have been prescription eyeglasses.
Cindi points out that there is no mention of Bonnie needing glasses within popular Bonnie & Clyde accounts. Also, I don't believe there are any photos known with Bonnie wearing glasses. This leads us to the obvious question of why and when Bonnie needed help in seeing clearly?? Also why no one over the years has seemingly thought to research mention of these glasses from the death car, and attempt to link them to the provenance documented concerning these spectacles of Bonnie's-- is also unclear.
Interestingly-- Clyde's sunglasses were most conspicuously noted at the time of the ambush, and can be seen still dangling from his face both when Clyde was removed from the Warren car-- and also when photographed upon 1st being displayed in Congers. Mention of Clyde's sunglasses, is also written of within Professor Carroll Rich's Bonnie & Clyde accounts. There are also accounts known, of Bonnie having had a road map in her lap when killed. If so, then glasses would make perfect sense with which to read the fine print of that road map. I've viewed images of a 1934 road map perhaps similar to the one Bonnie was scouring. I know even when blown up-- it's hard for example, to discern the route number (LA Route 418)-- that Bonnie & Clyde were traveling that fateful day.
Perhaps it was just never thought of, to reveal Bonnie's need for glasses within family accounts concerning her. I found the same held true within my B&C Signatures investigation, in trying to determine whether Bonnie & Clyde were right or left handed. As it turned out, those who would ultimately provide that human detail not found elsewhere-- had never been asked that question before. A close examination of Bonnie's bloodied glasses shows perhaps a small crack within the right lens-- but otherwise sans the obvious blood present along with a missing nose guard-- these glasses seem in remarkably good shape for the number of shots Bonnie took to the head. Whether or not they were still resting upon Bonnie's face when the shooting stopped, or found later within the car and by whom would be interesting to know-- as no clear image of Bonnie's face in death, seems to exist prior to those taken at Congers.
Many thanks to Cindi, for a great B&C talking point for this year end post.