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

Floating Circus.

Spaulding & Rogers’s Floating Circus Palace.
April 11, 2016
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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
Gambler Vs. Cook. | Killed by a Baseball.

Floating Circus.

Floating Circus

The pictures which we give herewith is an accurate representation of what is called the Floating Palace, as it lately appeared at Mobile, Ala. It was built for the purpose of equestrian exhibitions, and it has been improved at the Levee in New Orleans, and at various places on the Mississippi River, during some length of time.

It was rather a novel idea to construct a curious ship—a regular moveable theatre; but it is said to have succeeded far beyond the expectations of its owners. It is not a sham built affair, but it is really very finely fitted, and perfect in every respect. The interior is a most commodious amphitheatre.

The “dress-circle,” as it is termed, consists of eleven hundred cane bottom arm-chairs, each numbered to correspond with the ticket issued.

The “family-circle,” comprises cushioned settees for some five hundred persons, while the residue of the accommodations are comprised in nine hundred gallery seats. The amphitheatre is warmed by means of hot water pipes or steam, and altogether it is an exceedingly comfortable and pleasurable exhibition-room. The interior is lighted bye over a hundred brilliant gas jets, forming a great ornament in their construction, and supplied by a gas apparatus on board—this furnishes the entire light for the vestibule, the halls, offices, saloons, green rooms, dressing-rooms and the stable. A chime of bells is attached to the structure, and discourses most eloquent music previous to each performance, while Drummond-lights render the neighborhood of the floating palace brilliant during the exhibition. Every deception to delude the visitor into the idea that he is in a spacious theatre in shore is used, and it is difficult to realize that one is on the water during the performance. The whole is improved by Spalding & Rogers’s united circus companies. Taken altogether it is a most curious, original and interesting affair, and we have therefore selected it as something that would interest our readers. It is now in active operation in the waters of Alabama, and attracts as many visitors to see the structure itself, as to witness the excellent performances that are conducted within its walls by the enterprising managers.

 


Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion, February 19,1853.