No. 583
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 30, 2022

They Were "Soaked" in Every Sense.

A New York high roller "on a bat" with a high grade dazzler—they win up in the bath tub of his hotel apartment.
February 4, 2022
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Fifteen-year-old Jody Randall of Long Beach, California, was in most ways a typical suburban teenager.  The one thing that set her apart was a passion for antiques which was unusual for someone of her youth.  As a result of spending all her available free time (and her parents’ money) on her hobby, she eventually amassed some impressive pieces, including a doll collection noteworthy enough to
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Strange Company - 11/28/2022
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Shell and Pea Game on the Trail"Sketched from life by M. W. Newberry"San Francisco ChronicleApril 10, 1898(Click image to enlarge)    UNKO MEN AND THEIR TRICKS      A wonderfully detailed description of the modus operandi of Soapy Smith's three shell and pea manipulators along the Chilkoot and White Pass trails. Witnessed and reported by Joseph D. Barry, and published in the San Francisco
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 11/21/2022
Working as a domestic servant in 19th century New York City had plenty of challenges. Sure, servants received room and board in addition to their wages, and they usually had at least Sunday afternoon off. But living in another family’s home was isolating and lonely—particularly if you didn’t speak English or weren’t accustomed to urban […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/28/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
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Executed Today - 11/14/2022
Museum of the City of New YorkWilliam Howe and Abraham Hummel were the most successful criminal lawyers in Gilded Age New York. With a combination of skill, showmanship, and unethical practices, they defended most of the city’s significant criminals and many of its murderers. Whether they won or lost, Howe and Hummel made every trial sensational. Here are a few of the many accused murderers
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/26/2022
Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Tar and Feathers. | Western Train Robbers' Ways in New York State.

They Were "Soaked" in Every Sense.

They-were-soaked Life in the Tenderloin district in New York is regarded with considerable awe by those that have heard of its naughty and glittering peculiarities, and the befuddled "sports" that take part in it probably assure themselves that it is vicious enough to be imposing. You will find that the citizens of every community take especial pride in the extent and variety of their immorality and the people of New York have always pointed to the Tenderloin as a magnificent feature of metropolitan life. You can get as stirring exhibitions of dissipation and wickedness in New York as are to be found anywhere. The wild dazzling vice of the frontier may be noisier, but for lively episodes among "racketers" and golden youth who are "blowing their stuff," New York is not to be surpassed. You watch the panorama of vice there and you will find that it is never dull.

Two fine figures which illuminated the shifting scene last week with a brilliant escapade to stir the pulses were fished out of a bath tub in the -------- Hotel on Fifth avenue. They had wound up a routine of wild debauchery by proposing to cool their heads under "the shower" of the bath tub in their hotel suite. The plug was in the bath tub, the tub filled with water, and the chambermaid found the occupant of the apartment and his girl companion asleep side by side in the water-filled tub, with "the shower" turned on. This was bathing relieved by poetic charm and individuality. A comical feature of the damp situation was that the male roysterer had an umbrella raised over himself. His girl companion is a well-known brilliantly wicked demi-virgin of Gotham, very handsome and representing very high grade and high cost immorality. One of her peculiarities is a permanent thirst for wine, but men who are of her set look upon her as very delightful and desirable. She has had before some dazzling orgies. and her past life has been followed by beautiful success in money getting. She is not an oyster-house woman; she is a high flyer. The best Gotham affords is none too good for her. She "bathes every day," she says, laughingly, "but not every day with a $300 dress and $200 worth of lace underwear on."

Illustrated Police News, May 4, 1895.