No. 583
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 29, 2022

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America
February 16, 2011
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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
“Daredevil” Steve Brodie | Collegians at Football.

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Chorus-Girls-Panic

Crime, eccentricity, and the sporting life—that covers a lot of ground. Very simply, The National Night Stick is a history of America’s dark side.  Modeled after the “flash press” of the 19th Century, the Night Stick will deliver stories of the rogues, libertines, conmen, mountebanks and political grafters who made America what it is. Like the National Police Gazette, whose stunning illustrations brought criminals, prizefighters, and tight-clad chorus girls to every barbershop in America, The National Night Stick will endeavor to continually shock and dazzle the reader.

Crime
We will present all facets of 19th century crime. “Rogue's Corner” features a weekly mug-shot and criminal biography of a noted ne’er-do-well from the pages of Inspector Thomas Byrnes’s  Professional Criminals of America (aka Rogues’ Gallery.) We will also include a link Murder by Gaslight, the definitive site for 19th Century American Murder. And more often than not, the feature stories will include a bit of larceny.

Crush Collision

Eccentricity
We will bring you the big ideas that came from an era in America when anything seemed possible—not the ideas that led to progress and invention, but dangerous ideas like train wrecks as entertainment, secret societies and private armies, religious movements that failed miserably and political machines that were all too successful.

The Sporting Life
We will visit those utterly disreputable but raucously joyous institutions found in every American city: saloons, vaudeville houses, dime museums, boxing rings, gambling hells, opium dens, and brothels.

 As The Sunday Flash said in 1841:

"We follow vice and folly where a police officer dare not show his head, as the small, but intrepid weasel pursues vermin in paths which the licensed cat or dog cannot enter.”

 

Welcome to the National Night Stick!