No. 437
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 22, 2019

The Lady Flashes Dance.

Dizzy cigarette girls have a most hilarious time in the Lyceum Opera House, this city.
August 21, 2017
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(Thanks to English Presbyterian poet Robert Wild for the guest post in verse, celebrating the martyrdom of his coreligionist Christopher Love. Love died for seditious correspondence with the exiled Stuart then-pretender Charles II. Days after Love lost his head, Charles very nearly did likewise when he lost the decisive Battle of Worcester to Oliver Cromwell […]
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Executed Today - 8/22/2019

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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

Via Newspapers.com In which we meet Mr. H. Wilson, Juror From Hell. The "London Standard," January 3, 1838:  Benjamin Dickenson was indicted, charged with having committed an assault on an officer of the County Court. As soon as the jury had been sworn to try the defendant, Mr. H. Wilson, one of the jury, addressing the Court, said, " I should like to know, Mr. Chairman, how I am to be
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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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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
The Latest Invention. | A Human Rat Eater.

The Lady Flashes Dance.

Lady Flashes Dane

Dizzy cigarette girls have a most hilarious time in the Lyceum Opera House, this city. [more]

The Lady Flashes, an organization of the New York cigarette girls, had their annual ball in Lyceum Opera House, this city, last week.

After the grand march there came the lanciers. Such a whirling and stamping and jumping is seldom seen. Buxom lassies were tossed high in the air, landing with a heavy indisposing thud. As the music rose and quickened a fat girl shot up five feet in the air and landed in a sitting posture.

“Oh, Roxy, are you hurt?” asked the girl next her.

“It’s the softest thing I ever struck.” said Roxiana, as she rose to her feet.

Just where the cigarette girls get the marvelous step they dance is a mystery. They would stride five feet, hop three feet, circle stretch their legs as if there were a pair of calipers, close them, half open them, twist them around each other, untangle, kick and wriggle and then sink into the arms of a young man and rest their head on his shoulder.

As the time flew, beer followed it. Cigarette girls like beer and are susceptible to its effects. It brings about a feeling of affectionate languor. It banishes the blue law, that forbids a young man to kiss a girl, and bids him kiss her as often as he can. It also directs him to make a mattress of himself if necessary, and permit a girl to recline at will. In the second chapter it bids a young man become lively and urges the girl not to suppress her hilarity. The second chapter was reached about 2 A. M. Costumes with troublesome trains were cast aside The heat caused heavy Mother Hubbards to be thrown off.

The ardor of the dancers increased. They hugged each other vehemently as they danced and executed wonderful movements. Beer-glasses were tossed aside as worthless for refilling.

Crowds gathered in corners and gazed tremulously at visions of limbs flashing in difficult dances like streaks of lightning. The Koota-Koota dance, adorned with east-side variations, was realistic.

The young men rushed about, and when the orchestra poured forth “Old Rocky Roads” bedlam broke loose. Knots of dancers vied with each other in their efforts to create confusion. Girls were lifted off their feet and carried laughing about the room.

In the cork-room even policemen, unable to resist the temptation, joined in the dance. Hats were kicked high in the air. Songs were sung that called forth choruses of “Ohs.”


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, December 16, 1893.