No. 499
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 25, 2020

What it Has Come To.

A scene from feal life in a sixth avenue smoking car—giddy girls who believe in taking a “whiff of t
June 22, 2015
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"York Dispatch," November 28, 1905.  (All clippings via Newspapers.com) When normal people think of Thanksgiving, they picture large family dinners, a relaxing day watching football in front of the TV, a general atmosphere of comfort and contentment.Me, I picture turkeys being used as lethal weapons and guided missiles.  The "Passaic Herald-News," November 23, 1956:This inventive lady celebrated
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Strange Company - 11/25/2020

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A CHAMPIONSan Francisco ChronicleOctober 12, 1898(Click image to enlarge)     ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION    Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.  Miss Hall finds a champion. Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/25/2020

It’s been a good century or so since New Yorkers celebrated Evacuation Day. But in the late 18th and 19th centuries, this holiday—on November 25—was a major deal, marked by festive dinners, parades, and a deep appreciation of the role the city played in the Revolutionary War. Evacuation Day honors the day in 1783 when […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/23/2020
Colorization can sometimes add another whole dimension to vintage black and white photos. We’ve done this one of the crime …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 8/31/2020
 Old Cap. Collier, the fictional dime novel detective, tries his hand at solving the murder of Dr. Cronin.The real murder of Dr. Patrick Henry Cronin was stranger than fiction, with the good doctor found naked and dead in a Chicago sewer after confronting the corrupt leaders of an Irish secret society. As Edmund Pearson said, “It was one of those murders over which men nod their heads and look
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Murder By Gaslight - 11/21/2020

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
[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
Oscar Wilde Gets a Reception. | A Bloody Ruction.

What it Has Come To.

Girls Smoking

A scene from feal life in a sixth avenue smoking car—giddy girls who believe in taking a “whiff of the weed” in public as well as in private. [more]

That smoking cigarettes has become quite a common custom among women in their homes, is well known. But like all habits of this kind, their devotees soon grow bold. A scene was witnessed on a Sixth avenue smoking car one day this week which shows that some of the fair sex, at least, do not propose to have their nicotinian enjoyment confined to their house, but boldly practice it in public, Two handsomely attired ladies stepped on to one of the Sixth avenue smoking cars, in which were seated two or three gentlemen, all smoking cigars. The fact that the ladies were deemed intruders, caused the smokers to puff away. In the most careless manner possible, and with the air of one who had smoked from childhood, both of the females opened their reticules, taking therefrom a package of cigarettes and a case of cigars. Requesting a light from one of the gentlemen, they joined in making the air blue with smoke. They paid no heed to the attention which their action caused. Both seemed to think that they were doing the “propahcapah.” Credulous readers may deem this a fancy story, but it is a fact which can be vouched for at any time. What made this action more noticeable is that it was performed in broad daylight, while the avenue was thronged with promenaders.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, November 6, 1880.