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

Pretty Mary Nelson’s Downfall.

Wine suppers, fine dresses and rolls of greenbacks cause a young and fascinating Cincinnati girl to
August 29, 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
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
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
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
More...
Strange Company - 11/28/2022
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
More...
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
September. | Athletics.

Pretty Mary Nelson’s Downfall.

Pretty Mary Nelson

Wine suppers, fine dresses and rolls of greenbacks cause a young and fascinating Cincinnati girl to cast aside the mantle of virtue. [more]

Until a short time ago one of the best known young women on Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, O., was Mary Nelson, the pretty daughter of the late wholesale confectioner of that name. Confectioner Nelson was one of the best known merchants in the city, and his chain of stores received a liberal share of the patronage in the various localities in which they were situated.

Shortly before his death he became heavily involved and was forced to make an assignment. Business reverses weighed heavily on the old man’s mind, and finally caused his death he following his wife to the grave, the latter dying a short time before the former. The death of Nelson left his daughter Mary an orphan in the world. She receive a liberal education, and was coached in the classics and language. Not only had her general education been looked after, but she was also sent to a conservatory of music on Fourth Street, where her musical training was attended to. Mary had also been taught book-keeping by a private tutor, and when her father died he accepted a position with a well-known local firm. Her salary, however was very modest, and she found it necessary to solicit the aid of wealthy relatives in Philadelphia. Her Quaker City connections did not turn a deaf ear upon her, but continued to her support until a short time ago.

When she no longer received aid form the East, Mary became despondent and lost her position. She became acquainted with a set of fast young men who introduced her to their female companions. Among the latter was a George Street Courtesan named Corinne, who is an inmate of Cora Mack’s resort. The latter became infatuated with Mary, and told her how she could become a queen of the demi-monde if she would cast aside the mantle of virtue. Corinne insisted on Mary taking a supper with her and during the repast she showed the latter her extensive wardrobe and a large roll of money. Nothing further was needed, and Mary’s downfall was accomplished. She saw visions of finery and wealth during her sleep, and finally reluctantly consented to become Corinne’s running mate at the above named resort where she is now ensconced in one of the apartments.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 7, 1893.