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

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

June 16, 2014
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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
Photographed as he Died. | Venus Caught by the “Cops.”

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

Scenes from 'In the Tenderloin'

Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

1. Tom Gould at home in the notorious resort “San Souci.” 2. “This one is on me.”
3. A Rowdydowdy Climax. 4. The “Green Goods” Game.
5. “Will some one please oblige?”

[more]

The production in New York of such as play as “In the Tenderloin” has an importance out of all proportion to the merits of the performance. Considered artistically, the production had no merits. The melodrama was bad, the actors were bad, and the audience was such a one as might be expected at the People’s Theatre on the Bowery. It is significant, however, that shrewd managers who know what their public demands should invest money in putting on the boards what is avowedly and attempt to depict the lowest forms of vice to be found in New York. And more significant still is the probability that these far-seeing gentlemen will make handsome earnings!

What is the substance of “In the Tenderloin” ? A succession of living pictures of metropolitan infamy. Throughout the four acts there pass before the audience, in shameless review, ugly specimens of the dregs and slums that taint Manhattan Island. There are thieves, thugs, assassins, fallen women and the brutes who exploit them, gambles, painted men, dive-keepers and the low company the harbor—cunning scoundrels whose trade is to lure men into their dens and despoil them; infamous creatures who traffic in the dishonor of young girls, “green goods” men, confidence men –all the foul brood of carrion birds that gorge themselves in the moral cesspools of a sinful city. Such is the “play” this high-minded “playwright,” Mr. E. E. Price, has “constructed” ! Such is the play that will possibly make a “barrel of money” for the philanthropists who have mounted it !


Reprinted from The Illustrated American, January 5, 1895.