No. 436
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 19, 2019

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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Photo of Cindy Weber in the "Red Deer Advocate," October 23, 1981, via Newspapers.com Every missing-persons story is tragic, of course. However, I know of few such cases that are both as heart-breakingly sad and utterly peculiar as the following disappearance. It reads like a psychological horror movie, with an almost Fortean ending. People inevitably called Cynthia "Cindy" Weber of
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Strange Company - 8/19/2019

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By Jo Anne Giovino with photography and research by Barbara Morrissey and Kristin Pepe *(All rights reserved, August 2019) Although …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/31/2019

The hanging, and then posthumous beheading and head-spiking, of the Virginia slave Abram lacks any firmer primary date than the signature given this Richmond newspaper report that was later widely reprinted in the young United States. (Our text here hails from the Hartford, Conn. American Mercury, September 18, 1800.) A HORRID MURDER. Capt. John Patterson, […]
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Executed Today - 8/19/2019
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
(sic) Mary Catherine Anderson—Katie to her friends—was in good spirits when she went out the evening of Monday, February 7, 1887. 16-year-old Katie Anderson was a domestic servant living at the home of her employer, Stat Colkitt on his farm in Mount Holly, New Jersey. She said she was just going out for a walk, but Katie was not seen again until Tuesday morning when a neighboring farmer found
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/17/2019

The neighborhood surrounding St. Mark’s Church on Second Avenue and 10th Street owes its charm to the descendants of the Stuyvesant family. These were the great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Petrus Stuyvesant, the director-general of New Netherland from 1647-1664. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, these Stuyvesants lived in stately houses on land that […]
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Ephemeral New York - 8/19/2019
[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
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.