No. 452
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 12, 2019

Venus Caught by the “Cops.”

June 10, 2014
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Via Newspapers.com The unofficial motto of Austin, Texas is "Keep Austin Weird." In early 1964, someone or something certainly obliged. The "Austin American," January 29, 1964: Can the mystery blast that shook Austinites Monday at noon be linked to puzzling reports of flying objects later the same day in Fort Worth and Dallas? Perhaps not, but the eerie events have one thing in common:
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Strange Company - 12/11/2019

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Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 10/19/2019

I went into this with both my eyes open, telling myself that a man who has an ideal must be willing to sacrifice everything for it or else the ideal isn’t an ideal at all, or the man isn’t a man at all, but a humble creature who deserves only pity. -Carl Heinrich Meier, last […]
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Executed Today - 12/10/2019
Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
William J. Elder, aged 61, was addicted to drink and when under its influence was violent and uncontrollable. His wife tolerated his abuse as long as she could then packed up and moved out of their farm in Hammonton, New Jersey, leaving behind her two sons, Robert and Mathew. In 1887, 19-year-old Robert Elder moved out of his father’s house as well. 12-Year old Mathew Elder was still
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Murder By Gaslight - 12/7/2019

It’s the blue hour in “Rainy Day, New York,” a 1940 painting by Leon Dolice—a Vienna-born artist who came to Manhattan in the 1920s. The sun has sunk below the horizon, and sidewalks and buildings are cast in a blueish glow, illuminated by streetlamps, car headlights, and the reflection of rain-slicked streets. I’m not sure […]
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Ephemeral New York - 12/9/2019
[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
Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.” | Progress of Naval Architecture.

Venus Caught by the “Cops.”

Venus Caught

A Theatre Raid.
The play of “Bashful Venus” in a New York variety theatre, interrupted by the police who arrest the artistes. [more]

 A Flash Theatre in New York Raided and the Performers Locked Up.

For several weeks the American Theatre, originally a Third avenue variety den, has been running a season of what its manager called a sensational drama. The bill was made up of a few variety acts and a dramatic piece de resistance entitled “The Bashful Venus.” Venus was a quaint brazen relic in tights and her satellites were modern in costume and decidedly dramatic in morals. The comedian of this play was a burnt cork artist and of one the objectionable funny situations of his part was his payment of twenty-five cents for a view of the leg of a female artiste or the cast, she raising her skirt half way to the garter and measuring off what she considered twenty-five cents worth of limb.

This was more than even the peelers could stand, so they gave it away to their superiors, feeling justified in their complaint by the fact the limbs exposed were rather scrawny. A bench warrant was issued on the 3d inst. By the District Attorney for the arrest of the proprietor and performers and police captain Ryan made a descent on the establishment when the piquant show was at its height. It was ten o’clock when the police struck the place. The flashy afterpiece was on and the house was packed with a wonder eyed audience of adolescent youths and young boys. The officers came in at the front and rear entrances simultaneously, creating the wildest sort of a panic. A rush was prevented however by Captain Ryan mounting the stage and making a speech, suring the audience that no one of them would be arrested. The officers then took in custody Rich parker, the proprietor of the theatre, Henry Montague, the author of the play and stage manager, and the following artistes who were on the scene at the time of the raid: Carrie Duncan, Author Daly, Harry Lloyd, George Melinott, Susie Layman, Daisy Golden, Gracie Golden, Violet W. Ballard, Nellie Stein, Sophie Donlin, E. S. Goodwin, John Finnerty, R. W. Lucas, G. L Scott, and Daniel Collier.

After the prisoners had been secured the audience was dismissed. The prisoner were marched through the streets in their costumes, followed by a hooting mob, and locked up in the station house over night. The women wept and pleaded to be spared the disgrace of the public parade, but without avail.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, 21 Oct 1882.