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

What a New York Girl Did.

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than ap
May 22, 2017
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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
Disguising Nature. | Booze Through a Key-Hole.

What a New York Girl Did.

Vain Girl

A vain girl makes a fireman wait until she fixes her hair preferring to risk her life rather than appear in public not “made up’; New York. [more]

When a girl concludes to put up her hair and make herself look sweet, the best policy is to let her have her own way. She can’t be drawn away from a mirror by any of the ordinary things of this life. A fire will sometimes do it, but it has been shown that even a fire may fail to excide some girls. The other night a New York lodging house took fire, and at a most uncomfortable hour, when most girls probably have their back hair down. One of the young ladies heard that the place was burning down, but she didn’t feel like making her appearance before the crowd which had gathered in the street looking like a perfect fright. She shut the door leading into the hall to keep out the flames and went to her mirror to fix her hair. Anybody who has waited for a girl to fix her hair knows that it takes time, and a great deal of it. This girl wasn’t any quicker than the average, and she was very particular about having her hair done up exactly as it should be. The fires had cut off her chances or escape by the stairs, and her lover, after appealing to her for some time, finally lost his patience and got away without her. A fireman got up to the room on a ladder and she made him sit on the edge of the window and wait until she had arranged her hair-pins and ribbons for a right sort of public appearance; then she threw herself into his arms—it was so romantic—and lid down the ladder with him, looking just so sweat. The whole thing was a tremendous success, but when the carful young girl was safely landed on the pavement she found that she had forgotten her stockings!


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, November 20, 1880.