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

Getting Above his Business.

How a too presumptuous shoe dealer’s attention to a female customer was resented by her male escort.
August 31, 2015
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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
Life on a Mississippi Steamboat. | She Liked Her Lager Beer.

Getting Above his Business.

Above His Business

How a too presumptuous shoe dealer’s attention to a female customer was resented by her male escort. [more]

What Happened to a Clerk who Tried a Pair of Shoes on a Girl.

A young man and a very pretty girl entered a shoe store in Chicago one afternoon last week. She was lately from a New England seacoast town, noted for its institutions of learning and intolerance of anything like impropriety. Her cheeks had still the color peculiar to Eastern girls. The clerk advanced briskly, and with his sweetest smile inquired her wants. She wanted a pair of high-button boots, and, having selected a pair to her liking, seated herself in a little place partitioned off for the purpose, to try them on. Her escort stood at a little distance, looking through the window into the street. The clerk was all attention. He sat down beside the girl, and proceeded to put on one of the boots. She looked a little astonished when he sat down beside her, and a moment later she uttered an exclamation of such unmistakable indignation that her escort sprang forward, and, seizing the clerk by the collar, kicked him clear across het room into a case of rubber shoes, which stood half empty.

“Take that you scoundrel,” cried the exasperated student from Yale, tossing a box of shoes on top of the clerk, “and see if you can’t wait on a lady without insulting her.”

The clerk, too much scared to move, lay doubled up in the box, when the proprietor came quickly forward.

“Call the patrol and have that man arrested,” cried the clerk feebly, as he saw his employer approaching. “He assaulted me; he’s a dangerous man.”

“Yes,” retorted the student, as he piled two more shoe boxes on the whimpering clerk, “call the patrol and have this bundle of garbage dumped into some vacant lot.”

The proprietor apologized to the young couple and assisting the humiliated clerk out of the shoebox, told him to put on his hat and leave the store.


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, December 29, 1883.