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Unabomber letters added to anarchist collection at University of Michigan

The letters
More than 500 of the letters are available to researchers at the University of Michigan  

Latest writings of convicted killer

June 13, 2000
Web posted at: 8:58 p.m. EDT (0058 GMT)

In this story:

Curator negotiates for 2 years

Pleas for math help


ANN ARBOR, Michigan (CNN) -- Letters both written and received by the man commonly known as the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, are now available to researchers at the University of Michigan.

Topics in the more than 500 letters written over a four-year period since Kaczynski's arrest in 1996 range from his own frustrations with the legal system to his advice to a math student.

Between 1978 and 1995, the elusive Unabomber sent letter bombs that killed three people and injured 29.

Before he was captured, Kaczynski wrote a 30,000 word treatise known as the Unabomber Manifesto, in which he justified the attacks in the name of preserving humanity and nature from an onslaught of technology and exploitation.

Curator negotiates for 2 years

It took curator Julie Herrada two years of negotiations with both Kaczynski and his lawyers to convince them to donate the letters to the university's collection of anarchist and social protest literature.

Kaczynski's letters in the collection gave the curator a distinct impression of the man.

"He's thoughtful, meticulous and has a sense of humor," Herrada said.

Turned in to authorities by his brother, Kaczynski agreed to a plea bargain. He received three life sentences for three fatal bombings and acknowledged responsibility for all 16 Unabomber attacks.


But despite his guilty plea, Kaczynski denies he's the Unabomber and is appealing.

He has a stock answer to writers who ask about the plea and his assertion of innocence:

"First let me remind you that people sometimes plead guilty without being so, simply because in a given legal situation it may represent their least undesirable alternative," he states in one of his letters.

In October 1998, Kaczynski spoke of a prisoner's dependency on his defense attorney.

"The prisoner clings to him like a drowning man to anything that floats," Kaczynski wrote to a professor with whom he often exchanged letters.

Pleas for math help

Kaczynski, a former Berkeley math professor, sometimes receives pleas for help from math students.

"I recently took a trigonometry exam and have lost more points on a particular question than I deserved to lose," one upset scholar wrote.

"You know how to solve the problems and get the right answer," Kaczynski replied, "but you don't know how to show your reasoning in correct and easily understandable form."

Kaczynski also gave the student a problem for his teacher to solve herself.

"If she doesn't get it right," Kaczynski wrote, "you be sure to give her an 'F.'"

The letter is signed: Sincerely yours, Ted Kaczynski.

CNN Detroit Bureau Chief Ed Garsten contributed to this report

RELATED STORIES: The Unabomb Trial

Unabomber `would rather get the death penalty'
October 10, 1999
Kaczynskis set up fund to distribute reward for turning in Unabomber
January 13, 1999
Unabomber's brother gets $1 million for turning him in
August 20, 1998
Kaczynski gets life, says government lied
May 4, 1998

U-M Special Collections Library: Labadie Collection
IPL Anarchist Poster Exhibition

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