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

Customs Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.

"Madam, is there anything dutiable in this bag?"
September 13, 2021
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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 Duel on Horseback. | A Charming Female Vaccinator.

Customs Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.

Canadian-Customs

"Madam, is there anything dutiable in this bag?"

Custom Inspections on the Canadian Frontier.

To be rudely awakened from one’s slumber at anytime, and under any circumstances, is harrowing, but to be shaken into a doubtful wakefulness by a grim official in order that your baggage may be examined for the purpose of ascertaining if you are concealing contraband or dutiable articles in you impediments, is the worst form of awaking: a clear exemplification of adding insult to injury. On the border line which divides Canada from the United States the unhappy traveler is subjected to the “uncanny” hands of the vigilant and lynx-eyed Custom House officer, a creature in whose leathern bosom no spark of human sympathy remains. Remorselessly and with wooden visage he informs you, in a dull sing-song, that you most expose the contents of your baggage to his gimlet gaze. What matters it to him that you protest—that you solemnly assert that you have nothing to declare? He has a certain duty to perform, and this duty he means to get through, not caring a whit for the outraged feelings of the rudely awakened sleeper. Elderly ladies of excitable and fretful temperament are his daintiest morsels. To their protests, examinations and treats of vengeance, he turns the deafest of ears. Funny old gentlemen ,he calmly sits upon. Irate youths he harries. Tearful maidens he treats with disdain. He is a fiend of the most exasperating type—unendurably exasperating, he never affords the satisfaction of “talking back.”


Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, February 10, 1883.