Erich Muenter

Date Of Birth:
25 March 1871
Date Of Death:
6 July 1915
Place Of Birth:
Hanover, Germany
Best Known As:
The Germany-sympathizing bomber who shot J.P. Morgan, Jr.

Erich Muenter was a German-born language instructor from Chicago who bombed the United States Senate building and shot financier J.P. Morgan, Jr. in 1915. It was his way of protesting American support of Great Britain during World War I.

Erich Muenter moved to the Chicago area from Germany in 1889. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1900, he got married and worked as a language instructor (Spanish and German), traveling from Tennessee to Virginia to Kansas and, finally, landing a job at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

Ten days after the birth of his second child, in April of 1906, Muenter's wife died under strange circumstances. Muenter took her body back to Chicago just before authorities charged him with murder -- his wife had died of arsenic poisoning. Muenter left his two kids with his in-laws and fled to Mexico. He then refashioned himself as Frank Holt and went on working as a language instructor in New York.

On July 2, 1915, "Frank Holt" managed to put a bomb with a timing device inside a wing of the Senate building. The bomb exploded just before midnight, wrecking the room but not injuring anyone. The next day, Muenter forced his way into the New York home of financier J.P. "Jack" Morgan (the son of J. Pierpont Morgan). Although Muenter had a pistol in each hand, Morgan or Mrs. Morgan jumped him (stories vary).

Morgan ended up being shot twice, but lived. Erich Muenter passed out and was captured. Three days later, Muenter killed himself while in jail.

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