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

Serpent and Dove.

How They Meet Behind the Scenes - Temptations and Trials of the High Kickers.
October 2, 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
Serpent and Dove. | "Four Aces."

Serpent and Dove.

Serpent and Dove

How They Meet Behind the Scenes—Temptations and Trials of the High Kickers.

The ballet girl has other duties than those involved by her theatrical connection. Many a woman who spends her nights posturing before the pubic does so to secure the necessary food and shelter for some one dear to her. In Paris it is a regular practice among the girls to bring their sewing and knitting to the theatre, and in the intervals of rehearsal and performance when they have a a short respite from toil to busily ply the needle. Many even do quite an amount of lace work, tetting, embroidery and similar tasks for money in that precious period of leisure.

But our ballet girl has a more pleasing task before her.

She is laboring for her little one.

Baby is sound asleep in the cradles in that poor garret mother works day and night to keep between his little head and the winter sky. But the memory of his rosy face follows her through the snowy streets, into the blazing theatre and haunts her as she moves about the gay an tawdry scene. Even the lecherous old debauchee, the moving man of money and corruption who totters from wing to wing seeking fresh food for his debased appetite stops short of her, and hesitates before he utters his foul propositions for her. There is that in her employment that paralyses even his shameless tongue. He looks upon a mother working for her child, and though the gloomy visits of his debased life he sees himself a child and remembers that there was a time when he knelt at his mother’s knee, and had no conscience to bring him troubled dreams.

 

Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 16, 1880.