No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

Oscar Wilde Gets a Reception.

Too, too, utterly utter! Remarkable effect of the appearance of Oscar Wilde, the apostle of Aestheti
June 24, 2015
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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
Eaten by Sharks. | What it Has Come To.

Oscar Wilde Gets a Reception.

Too too utterly utter

Too, too, utterly utter!

Remarkable effect of the appearance of Oscar Wilde, the apostle of Aestheticism, on the streets of New York City. [more]

The appearance of Oscar Wilde, the great London apostle of Aestheticisim, in New York the first week of the new year was an event that thrilled the first circles and provoked all the wits in town to open their battalions on him. As he stepped nimbly ashore, though, and holding his head high proposed to a friend who had done America before to frown down the hackmen and walk to his hotel, he met quite a different reception from what he had possibly anticipated. With his sprig of fern in hand, his quaint stride, his long locks, his wild eye and his incroyable air generally, he made a genuine sensation on Broadway. The newsboys and bootblacks, that precocious set who hail a novelty with delight, saw in him a fresh guy and made the most of him from the moment he burst in all his aesthetic effulgence upon their astonished vision.

They dubbed him “Count” on the first sight, varying it by occasionally saluting him on his promenade as “Charley, the Masher,” and have even gone so far as to organize a procession in his train, bearing cabbages, onions and garbage from the streets with an air of affectation of aesthetic grace that is laughable from its close imitation of Oscar’s poise of the lily and the fern.

The police will have to furnish a guard to protect him in the streets form the burlesque advances of the fierce and untamed bootblack if he remains among us long, that is a certainty.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, January 21, 1882.