No. 526
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 21, 2021

A Winter Scene.

Winter Pastime – A Skating Scene.
January 25, 2016
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"Louisville Courier-Journal," May 8, 1881, via Newspapers.comWhen I started this blog, I hoped to focus on the smaller, obscure stories from the past--the long-forgotten bits of random oddities that, when taken together, show just what a strange world we live in.  In short, the "uncommon" is really quite commonplace.One such story is the death of one otherwise completely unmemorable young man. 
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Strange Company - 6/21/2021

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An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.Denver Tribune-RepublicanMay 14, 1885(Click image to enlarge)   n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"  Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/13/2021

When railroad baron H.H. Cook decided to build himself a New York City mansion, he didn’t try to squeeze into a plot of land on Fifth Avenue in the 50s—an area that had been colonized by several Vanderbilt heirs and other Gilded Age moneymakers. Instead, he went to the then-hinterlands of Manhattan, purchasing the entire […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/20/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Parental hostility drove Fanny Madison out of her home and into the arms of her cousin, Thomas Cluverius. It was not a wise decision.Read the full story here: Kissing Cousins.                                             Pictures from Illustrated Police News, May 2, 1885.
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/19/2021

Producer-director Ric Rebelo has today, in memory of LeeAnn Wilber, former co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, released this award-winning film for public view on Youtube. This was filmed in 2010, some of the participants in the production are no longer with us today. What was recorded in 2010 has not changed much today in 2021, only intensified in fascination.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/16/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A Woman’s Flat-Irony. | Cowboys Lassoing the Ballet.

A Winter Scene.

 A Winter Scene

Winter Pastime – A Skating Scene. [more]

We could hardly have produced a more timely picture than is given to the reader above, of that delightfully exhilarating sport, and that truly manly exercise known as skating. Of late years, American ladies have been practicing this amusement, and the fine pond at Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, at certain seasons presents a most lively and gay appearance, covered with ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, all skimming with magic-like power over the glassy surface of the pond. A good skater cane attain immense speed upon the ice, and sustain himself for miles. In the picture above is represented some of the casualties that the skater is liable to. If awkward, he must pay a severe penalty, sometimes, for his want of skill, and fatal accidents do not unfrequently occur. Now beginners, old hands (or legs) at the business, and the awkward squad are all presented in our picture. On the right foreground one is seen with a servant, arranging his skates; just beyond him is an awkward figure, fearful off a fall; in the middle foreground is seen one whose graceful and confident figure betokens the adept at the business; and on his left is observed an individual struggling to break his forward impetus to spare the tow figures already down upon the ice. We trust that the individual underneath has found a soft place on the ice upon which to fall.


Reprinted from Gleason's Pictorial, January 22, 1853.