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

Burning of Josephine Farren, Dancer.

Terrible Accident at the Volks Garten, Bowery, N.Y.
October 4, 2021
...
...

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
`
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
More...
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 […]
More...
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 […]
More...
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
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!
More...
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: […]
More...
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Fight of the Century! | Photography's Abuse by Blackmailers.

Burning of Josephine Farren, Dancer.

Terrible-Accident

The deaths from burning of ladies connected with the theatre have of late years been very frequent. Miss Webster, in London, Adele Lehman of Niblo's, Mary Marsh, and now Josephine Farren, a pretty and popular danseuse of the Volks Garten, a German theatre in the Bowery, New York. It is a terrible proof of the necessity for some fireproof material for a ballet dress. She was performing on the tightrope on Saturday, the 4th inst., when her dress touched one of the footlights, and in an instant, she was enveloped in flames. Several of the musicians in the orchestra sprang to her assistance and extinguished the flames, receiving some very severe burns themselves. The house being crowded, the utmost confusion end excitement prevailed, the audience fearing that the scenery would take fire, and thus destroy the building. The Tenth Ward police were soon on the spot, and through their praiseworthy and admirable arrangements the spectators were safely dismissed. Upon taking the unfortunate lady to her home, 85 Forsyth street, her burns were found to be so severe as to preclude all hope of her recovery, and despite the utmost efforts of her medical attendants, she died the following day. This is a case which calls on the benevolence of the public, as she supported her mother end younger sisters by her exertion and was in every respect a praiseworthy young woman.


Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, February 18, 1860.