Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Susan Elaine Elmore  

Pen Name: Susan Elmore

Genre: History Mystery Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1946 in Springfield, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Susan Elaine Elmore on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Elmore was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then lived in Park Ridge & Crystal Lake, Illinois for many years after her marriage and before her husband's job took them out of state. Her book is about a famous central Illinois crime from the 1880s where an ancestor was the victim.

Biographical and Professional Information

Susan Elmore is a veteran genealogist with over 30 years experience in deciphering the past. Her longtime passion for genealogy, history, and true crime was the driving force behind her investigation of the Emma Bond case (Nameless Indignities). She also maintains the page for the Sabin Family of North America, a database which contains over 46,000 names of the descendants of William Sabin of Rehoboth, MA. Elmore attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana as an art major. She and her husband Dave have lived in northern Illinois, southern California, the Bay area, the Atlanta area, and have recently retired to the small town of Ellijay in the north Georgia mountains.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes (True Crime History)
ISBN: 1606351591

Kent State University Press. 2013

New evidence discovered in a 130-year-old mystery:
2013 FOREWORD REVIEW'S GOLD MEDAL WINNER (True Crime) and 2014 IPPY AWARDS BRONZE MEDAL WINNER (True Crime): Nameless Indignities is an intriguing account of a historical true crime with more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride. If you are fascinated by history relating to crime, law, medicine, psychology, hysteria, rape, journalism, or genealogy, then this Victorian mystery is for you. The story will hold you in its grip from beginning to end with multiple suspects, a lynch mob, perjury and bribery, a failed kidnapping attempt, broken family ties, cover-ups, financial devastation, and at least two suicides.

When young schoolteacher Emma Bond was brutally gang-raped and left for dead in her country schoolhouse near Taylorville, Illinois in June 1882, an enduring mystery was born. Although she survived, her recovery was hindered by hysteria, amnesia, and some unusual physical complications. The story was covered by newspapers across the land, but some of the wounds inflicted upon the victim were so appalling that the press refused to print the ugliest details, referring to them only as "nameless indignities." Eighteen months went by before three of the six suspects were brought to trial.

After the verdict, however, the public's unwavering support for the victim began to fade amid persistent theories and rumors that she had lied and that no crime had been committed. At the time, educators, editors, politicians, lawyers, and doctors eagerly weighed in on the case and its ramifications. But with Victorian doctors unable to agree on anything of a physical or a psychological nature, Emma's life went into a tailspin from which she never recovered. The crime also took a heavy toll on local residents, pitting families and neighbors against one another. The fact that the case was never fully resolved gave it a certain staying power, with its many unanswered questions persisting well into the twentieth century.

Author Susan Elmore was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery in which her great-great aunt was the victim. During her six years of digging through historical documents, she discovered some previously unknown but relevant facts - details which would have been unavailable to investigators at the time. These findings led her to formulate a new theory on what really happened, which she presents in the conclusion of Nameless Indignities. Her longtime passion for true crime, history, and genealogy was the driving force behind her investigation of the Bond case.


Nameless Indignities

  • Gold medal, Foreword Review's IndieFab awards
  • Bronze medal, IPPY awards

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    The author can be contacted through her website