No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 23, 2019

Fight of the Century!

July 31, 2011
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Spanish general Jose Aranguren was shot on this date in 1939 by Franco’s Spain. A brigadier general of the Civil Guard — an internal-to-Spain paramilitary/law enforcement force that remained predominantly loyal to the Republic during the Spanish Civil War — Aranguren (the very cursory English Wikipedia entry | the more detailed Spanish) at the outset […]
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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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"Roses are red, Violets are blue, And my cat is, too." Cats and weird little stories from the past.  What could be more Strange Company than that?  For this reason, I'm delighted to temporarily pass the blog's steering wheel over to Peggy Gavan, whose upcoming book, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York" (Rutgers University Press, May 3, 2019,) is now available
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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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Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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[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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Fight of the Century! | “I’ve Taken Poison, Maudie!”

Fight of the Century!

The Great
Corbett - Fitzsimmons
Championship Bout!

Carson City, Nevada, March 17, 1897 – On St. Patrick’s Day, 1897, “Ruby” Robert Fitzsimmons challenged “Gentleman” Jim Corbett for the heavyweight boxing championship of the world. The fight in Carson City resembled the picture above for thirteen rounds, and then in round fourteen, Fitzsimmons knocked Corbett to the canvas to become the new world champ.

[more]

In March of 1897, much of the world had its attention focused on Carson City, Nevada, where “Gentleman” Jim Corbett would be defending his heavyweight championship against “Ruby” Robert Fitzsimmons. Billed as the "Fight of the Century," there was bad blood going in. Corbett had been refusing Fitzsimmons’ challenges for several years and at one point had nearly retired without defending his title, but Fitzsimmons had raised the necessary cash and Corbett finally accepted the challenge. Finding a venue for the fight had been a problem too. The sport  was denounced as barbaric from pulpit and podium and most states had outlawed prize fighting. But Nevada, hit hard by the Depression of 1893 and the falling price of silver, welcomed the crowds and their money.

The date set for the fight was March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. In Carson City that night, Bob Fitzsimmons, the skinny, freckled, New Zealander, kissed his wife, Rose, and entered the ring a solid underdog. In the sixth round Corbett had him bloodied, on his knees, but it was not enough. In the fourteenth round Rose came to the ropes and shouted, “Hit him in the slats, Bob.”

Fitzsimmons punched Gentleman Jim at the bottom of the rib cage, knocking his wind out. The Gentleman hit the canvas and ten seconds later Ruby Robert Fitzsimmons was the heavyweight champion of the world.

The Animation

The animated picture above comes from the Cincinnati Post, March 18, 1897. Their coverage of the fight included a strip of images across the bottom of the page:

fight

The Post urged their readers to construct a kinetoscope  to view the images. Kinetoscope is the name Thomas Edison gave his early, single viewer motion picture projector, but a homemade kinetoscope is  a slotted, rotating cylinder used to view a series of pictures as an animated image

Kinetiscope

Before now, only a handful of industrious, 19th century, Cincinnati boys, who actually built a kinetoscope, could see Corbett and Fitzsimmons duke it out round after round. But now, with the miracle of digital animation, everyone can see it without lifting a finger. That’s progress.


Cincinatti Post, March 18, 1897