No. 484
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 12, 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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Via Newspapers.com I always say, nothing completes a library quite like a ghost. And if it’s a “nice, gentlemanly” one, all the better. From the “Great Bend Daily Item,” July 25, 1908: New York.--Columbia University holds that ghost stories may be dismissed with a laugh, until an educated, nice, old gentlemanly ghost gets to hovering 'round Columbia's library building of nights. In other
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Strange Company - 8/12/2020

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There are so many questions and things to ponder when considering the Borden case in its entirety, but let’s just …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 8/8/2020

On this date in 979, a Saxon lord won a trial by combat at the cost of his head. You’re not supposed to call this period the “Dark Ages” but it’s fair to say that our sources don’t throw a comprehensive illumination on the story. Our date’s principal is a count named Gero, possibly/presumably the […]
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Executed Today - 8/11/2020
The Web of Arachne by Fernand Le Quesne (1856 - 1932) Colorized by Curtis Byrne (Click image to enlarge) HE WEB OF ARACHNE COLORIZED. It's great to see what this painting may have originally looked like.      As I recently hung my framed print of The Web of Arachne, by Fernand Le Quesne (1856 - 1932), in my new place, I wondered why the artist didn't colorize it? Then I
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 8/4/2020
John Dilleber was a wealthy 28-year-old wholesale liquor dealer who lived and worked in New York City. In June 1975, he divorced his wife, left his home, and took up residence at the Westminster Hotel on 16th Street.  It was Dilleber’s habit, after dinner, to wander the halls of the hotel while smoking a cigar. Romaine Dillon, another of the Westminster Hotel’s outcast residents, was much
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/8/2020

As a social realist painter, William Glackens often depicted scenes of day-to-day life he witnessed in city parks, particularly Washington Square Park. (Makes sense; he lived on Washington Square South in the early 1900s.) This time, he took his inspiration from Central Park. “The Drive, Central Park” was completed in 1905 and likely shows the […]
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Ephemeral New York - 8/10/2020
[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.