H.H. Holmes goes to Africa…or not.

Today I’ve been trolling through University of Michigan materials looking for new stuff Herman Webster Mudgett, the 1884 med school graduate better known as H.H. Holmes, of Chicago serial killing fame. I noticed a couple of fun facts:

1. In 1881, his Ann Arbor residence was listed as “15 Cemetery.” This seems to have been a house he shared with several other students who listed the same address; Cemetery Street was a four block stretch of what is now Geddes Ave leading up to Forest Hill Cemetery; very convenient med student housing, really; at the time, U of M had a real reputation for grave robbing, even by 19th century standards, when every medical school did it.

2. Of particular note to me is the following, in an issue of an alumni magazine:

“Herman W. Mudgett, (class of) ’84, has an appointment as a medical missionary in Zululand, a region of southern africa.
Of course, Mudgett never went to Zululand. He changed his name to H.H. Holmes and moved to Chicago, where he, uh,  sure as hell never worked as a medical missionary. 
I ran into this while trying to gather all the examples of Holmes’ handwriting that I have into one neat archive, which I may get up here sooner or later.