Janet Samuelson Worel will be at our museum Friday, October 30 from 3:00-8:00pm. The Robbinsdale Historical Society is located at 4915 42nd Ave. North, downtown Robbinsdale in the old library building. Join us for a special book signing, discussion and celebration. Spend some time reminiscing, have a cup of coffee, and take home a copy of the book .
In 1931, a young woman was murdered in Phoenix, and the life she had lived was forgotten in a whirl of tabloid sensation. Hedvig “Sammy” Samuelson, was seen by the public as simply one of two victims of the Winnie Ruth Judd Trunk Murders. Sammy’s life as an adventurer, a schoolteacher, a shaper of young minds, went unremarked for decades. Hedvig “Sammy” Samuelson was the sister of Dr. Samuel Samuelson who opened Victory Hospital (later North Memorial) in Robbbinsdale. Seventy years after her death, her great-niece Sunny Worel set out to correct the record, to bring Sammy’s life back into focus, to restore her dignity as a human being. By the time Sunny had done so, it was obvious that Sunny’s spirit mirrored that of Sammy. Two women had reached out to each other across the gulf of time.
About the Author
Sunny Worel transcended time. Trained as a medical librarian, she used her training and skills to return to a world that had existed many years before she lived: the world of her great-aunt, Hedvig “Sammy” Samuelson. Sunny was on a mission to rescue the admirable life led by her great- aunt, a much-beloved schoolteacher and adventurer, from the way life ended on Oct. 16,1931, as part of a tabloid murder case. She became aware of Sammy when she was 5 years old and the first Winnie Ruth Judd book was published by Dobkins and Hendricks in1973. The book was in her family home. The black dust jacket portrayed a gruesome picture of a steamer trunk with a pair of pink pajamas draped over the edge of the slightly opened lid. A limp, lifeless hand dangled out of the opening. This made quite an impression on Sunny’s young mind. Her mother told her what she knew about the crime, but she didn’t know much about the person, Sammy. No one in the family had ever talked about her since it was too painful. Sunny, as well as many others, thought about her as the body in the trunk.
Sammy’s brother Arnold gradually shared some of the story. Sunny studied old photos from the family album and read news articles about the crime that the family had collected. By 1998 Sunny began her quest in earnest to uncover Sammy’s true personality. This book reveals this journey she undertook. Her plan was to write a book about Sammy, but she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012 and the book was delayed. She died in 2014 with the book unwritten. Her mother, Janet Worel, using Sunny’s research, has attempted to reveal the Sammy story, as well as Sunny’s quest. Sunny grew up in Minneapolis, earned a B.S. Degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Minnesota in 1990, and a Masters of Library and Information Science in 1996 from Dominican University/College of St. Catherine. Janet Worel, the co-author, lives in Minneapolis with her husband Jack. Janet, now retired, worked primarily as a hospice nurse during her years of employment.