No. 643
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 23, 2024

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

June 16, 2014
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 "The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan MandijnWelcome to this week's Link Dump!  As you can see, the Strange Company Art Department is busy with the illustrations for next week's posts.The working lads of Whitechapel, circa 1900.A human leg has been found on the New York subways, and I'm betting that's not the worst thing you'd find there.A brief history of condensed milk.The
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Strange Company - 2/23/2024
`
HE DUEL IN ELLEN'S HONOR. Soapy Smith’s grandmotherOn Wednesday, August 9, 1820, an argument between 17-year-old, James Bowe Boisseau (1802-1820) and Robert C. Adams (unknown-1820) vying for the attention of 18-year-old Ellen Stimpson Peniston (1802-1860), took a terrible turn. The happy party in her honor took a tragic turn when the competition for Ellen’s affections ended in a deadly duel,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/10/2024
Entering the Wall Street IRT subway station on Lower Broadway at Trinity Church can feel like going into a time warp. That’s because of the cast iron hoods that cover the stairwell as you descend underground. Decorated in a leaf pattern, the curved hoods date back to the station’s 1905 opening. The hoods mesh well […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/19/2024
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
A postmortem examination revealed that Katie Dugan was four months pregnant when her body was found beaten and slashed in an empty field in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1892. A two-year investigation led police to believe that Albert Stout, Katie’s former employer, was her killer and the father of her unborn child. But Stout was a prominent, well-connected businessman, and despite evidence that he
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/17/2024
Included in yesterday’s trip to Fall River was a stop at Miss Lizzie’s Coffee shop and a visit to the cellar to see the scene of the tragic demise of the second Mrs. Lawdwick Borden and two of the three little children in 1848. I have been writing about this sad tale since 2010 and had made a previous trip to the cellar some years ago but was unable to get to the spot where the incident occured to get a clear photograph.  The tale of Eliza Borden is a very sad, but not uncommon story of post partum depression with a heartrending end. You feel this as you stand in the dark space behind the chimney where Eliza ended her life with a straight razor after dropping 6 month old Holder and his 3 year old sister Eliza Ann into the cellar cistern. Over the years I have found other similar cases, often involving wells and cisterns, and drownings of children followed by suicides of the mothers. These photos show the chimney, cistern pipe, back wall, dirt and brick floor, original floorboards forming the cellar ceiling and what appears to be an original door. To be in the place where this happened is a sobering experience. My thanks to Joe Pereira for allowing us to see and record the place where this sad occurrence unfolded in 1848. R.I.P. Holder, Eliza and Eliza Ann Borden. Visit our Articles section above for more on this story. The coffee shop has won its suit to retain its name and has plans to expand into the shop next door and extend its menu in the near future.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 2/12/2024
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately … Continue reading
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Photographed as he Died. | Progress of Naval Architecture.

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

Scenes from 'In the Tenderloin'

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

1. Tom Gould at home in the notorious resort “San Souci.” 2. “This one is on me.”
3. A Rowdydowdy Climax. 4. The “Green Goods” Game.
5. “Will some one please oblige?”

[more]

The production in New York of such as play as “In the Tenderloin” has an importance out of all proportion to the merits of the performance. Considered artistically, the production had no merits. The melodrama was bad, the actors were bad, and the audience was such a one as might be expected at the People’s Theatre on the Bowery. It is significant, however, that shrewd managers who know what their public demands should invest money in putting on the boards what is avowedly and attempt to depict the lowest forms of vice to be found in New York. And more significant still is the probability that these far-seeing gentlemen will make handsome earnings!

What is the substance of “In the Tenderloin” ? A succession of living pictures of metropolitan infamy. Throughout the four acts there pass before the audience, in shameless review, ugly specimens of the dregs and slums that taint Manhattan Island. There are thieves, thugs, assassins, fallen women and the brutes who exploit them, gambles, painted men, dive-keepers and the low company the harbor—cunning scoundrels whose trade is to lure men into their dens and despoil them; infamous creatures who traffic in the dishonor of young girls, “green goods” men, confidence men –all the foul brood of carrion birds that gorge themselves in the moral cesspools of a sinful city. Such is the “play” this high-minded “playwright,” Mr. E. E. Price, has “constructed” ! Such is the play that will possibly make a “barrel of money” for the philanthropists who have mounted it !


Reprinted from The Illustrated American, January 5, 1895.