No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 7, 2022

What a New York Girl Did.

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than ap
May 22, 2017
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Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
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Strange Company - 12/7/2022
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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
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
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
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
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
Disguising Nature. | Booze Through a Key-Hole.

What a New York Girl Did.

Vain Girl

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than appear in public not “made up’; New York. [more]

When a girl concludes to put up her hair and make herself look sweet, the best policy is to let her have her own way. She can’t be drawn away from a mirror by any of the ordinary things of this life. A fire will sometimes do it, but it has been shown that even a fire may fail to excide some girls. The other night a New York lodging house took fire, and at a most uncomfortable hour, when most girls probably have their back hair down. One of the young ladies heard that the place was burning down, but she didn’t feel like making her appearance before the crowd which had gathered in the street looking like a perfect fright. She shut the door leading into the hall to keep out the flames and went to her mirror to fix her hair. Anybody who has waited for a girl to fix her hair knows that it takes time, and a great deal of it. This girl wasn’t any quicker than the average, and she was very particular about having her hair done up exactly as it should be. The fires had cut off her chances or escape by the stairs, and her lover, after appealing to her for some time, finally lost his patience and got away without her. A fireman got up to the room on a ladder and she made him sit on the edge of the window and wait until she had arranged her hair-pins and ribbons for a right sort of public appearance; then she threw herself into his arms—it was so romantic—and lid down the ladder with him, looking just so sweat. The whole thing was a tremendous success, but when the carful young girl was safely landed on the pavement she found that she had forgotten her stockings!


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, November 20, 1880.