No. 428
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 19, 2019

Unsupported Transit.

August 19, 2013
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Via Newspapers.com All right, let's talk phantom cows. From the "Ellsworth Reporter," November 8, 1888: A farmer named Burt B.. living in the bottoms between Kansas City Kansas, and Quindaro, tells of a peculiar annoyance which he has with what he claims is a phantom cow. According to the story which he tells, and in which his family acquiesce, a large brindle cow of his dairy got into
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Strange Company - 6/19/2019

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Dressing Miss Lizzie, which is a paper doll book featuring Lizzie’s garments described in newspapers of 1892 -1893 is now …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 5/30/2019

On this date in 2013, Li Xingpong, the former deputy Communist Party chief of Yongcheng city, Henan, was executed for a spree of child rapes. He reportedly exploited his position to take advantage of a number of schoolgirls, and exploited his position to cover it up — growing so bold that he was finally arrested […]
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Executed Today - 6/19/2019
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
Two children playing near their house in Greenwich, New York, the morning of Saturday, October 20, 1889, found a woman’s hat and jacket lying on a log and reported them to a group of men who were working on a road nearby. Reuben Stewart, Superintendent of Streets who was also President of the Village, thought the circumstances were suspicious and went down to take a look for himself. It was a
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/15/2019

I’m not sure which Brooklyn beach this is—Brighton? Coney Island? Wherever we are, it’s clear that this tight circle of ladies in their summer frocks and elaborate hats appears to be enjoying the seashore. So is the next group, a coed clique with two men wearing what look like dark hats and suits! [Bettman-Corbis, 1900]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/16/2019
[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
A Bride’s Toggery. | She Had a High Old Time.

Unsupported Transit.

Occident

In 1872 Eadweard Muybridge photographed champion trotter Occident in mid-trot, answering the age old question of “unsupported transit”— does a running horse ever, simultaneously, have all four hooves off the ground?[more]

Eadweard MuybridgeEadweard Muybridge - 1870.

Leland Stanford, former governor of California and president of the Southern Pacific Railroad had recently added horsemanship to his list of credentials and had become fascinated with all aspects of a horse’s gait. He hired photographer Eadweard Muybridge to capture an image of his fastest trotter, Occident, pulling a sulky at full speed. Muybridge did not think it was possible but Stanford persuaded him to try.

After a number of failed attempts and a few semi-successes, Muybridge finally got the photograph that Stanford wanted. He devised a spring-loaded shutter—a novelty in itself—and attached it to a thread stretched across the track. When the horse made contact with the thread, it would trigger the shutter and expose the plate for a fraction of a second, catching the horse in mid-stride.

The resulting photograph showing Occident with all four hooves in the air was reported in newspapers across America and according to legend, won a $10,000 bet for Leland Stanford. The original photograph has not survived but the image was immortalized by the Currier and Ives print above.

Eadweard Muybridge continued to experimenting with motion photography. His motion studies of animals and humans contributed directly to the development of motion pictures.

He also stood trial for murdering his wife’s lover, but that is a story for another time and place.


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