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

Beauty as a Shield.

Beauty Conquers avarice and outlawry "We won't rob this house to-night."
July 24, 2012
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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
A Slippery and Subtle Knave – The Bank Sneak. | Spectacular Scenes & Sights Down on the Jersey Coast

Beauty as a Shield.

Beauty

Beauty Conquers avarice and outlawry “We won’t rob this house to-night.” 

A Midnight Picture that Prevented a Robbery

A couple of desperados who had been committing many acts of crime were recently captured and lodged in a Galveston (Tex.) jail. While confined one of them gave a reporter an extended account of their lives and adventures. According to the narrative, both are more or less imbued with that spirit of gallantry so much admired by young ladies and men of a romantic turn of mind. Situated in the outskirts of the city is a wealthy merchant’s residence, and rumor had it among the outlaws that it was a “good crib to crack.” Both of these men determined to try their luck, and alter a little trouble effected an entrance. On turning their bull’s-eye lanterns on the room they discovered two handsome ladies, daughters of the merchant, locked in each other’s arms, sleeping sweetly. The sight of so much loveliness and innocence unnerved them for the purpose in view. Their sense of chivalry was touched, and after a few moments of admiration they retraced their steps, each admitting that it would be a shame to commit an act that would injure the feelings of two such lovely girls. Beauty proved more potent than avarice.

 

From The National Police Gazette, October 30, 1880