Business - Women


Hattie Carroll
March 3, 1911 to February 9, 1963

On February 8, 1963, twenty-four-year-old William Zantzinger, a wealthy white Southern Maryland tobacco farmer and his wife Jane, set out for an evening of dancing at Baltimore’s annual Spinster’s Ball.

They arrived at the Emerson Hotel after eating and drinking at the Eager House Restaurant. Witnesses reported Zantzinger smacked the host and the wine stewart with his cane. He then consumed two drinks before dinner and two double bourbons with dinner. His wife drank four double Cutty Sark with her meal. After being refused more drinks, she went to another table and drank from the glasses of other guests.

At the ball, Zantzinger again used his cane to hit an African American bellhop across the butt. After a few more bourbons, he said something about a Fireman’s Fund to a 30-year-old waitress, Ms. Ethel Hill. When she told him that she did not know what he meant, he yelled, "Don't say no to me, you nigger, say no, sir!" He then hit her with his cane.

Hattie Carroll, a 51-year-old mother of 11, worked as a waitress at the Emerson Hotel when Zantzinger and his wife ordered drinks from the bar. Enraged that his drinks were not being served quickly enough he yelled, "What's the matter with you!  You Black son of a bitch, serving my drinks so slow!"  He then proceeded to beat her with his cane. Eight hours later Hattie Carroll collapsed and died of a brain hemorrhage.

In June of 1963, Zantzinger’s five attorneys won a change in venue. The case was moved to Hagerstown, Maryland where the charge of Homicide was amended to the lesser charge of Manslaughter. Three days later Zantzinger was found guilty.

In August of 1963 at the sentencing for assaulting other hotel employees, Zantzinger was fined $125. For the death of Hattie Carroll, he was sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of $500. The judge allowed Zantzinger to delay the start of the jail sentence until September 15 to give him time to bring in his tobacco crops. The story of Hattie Carroll was immortalized in a song by Bob Dylan, Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Top L:
 Hattie Carroll, in the public domain.  L: Mrs. Carrol's gravestone.

Second L: Hattie Caroll and husband's gravestone. 
Third L: 
The Emerson Hotel. R: The Emerson Hotel Dining Room. 

Fourth, Fifth, Bottom:  Baltimore Sun Newspaper article Feb.7, 1988, The Case of Hattie Carroll.

Bernstein, Adam. "William Zantzinger, Convicted of Killing Hattie Carroll and Denounced in Bob Dylan song, Dies at 69", Web. 

"Hattie Carroll.", Web. 


Simon, David. "A Lonesome Death", Web,, The Baltimore Sun Newspaper, Feb. 7, 1988, The Case of Hattie Carroll. Web 

Site Visit
Hattie Carroll gravesite. Baltimore National Cemetery, Baltimore, MD. 


Baltimore National Cemetery, 5501 Frederick Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21228. Phone: 410-644-9696.


Return to top


All photos property of unless otherwise indicated.