No. 461
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 17, 2020

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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"Boston Globe," August 19, 1905, via Newspapers.com The true-crime writer F. Tennyson Jesse suggested that not only are some people "born murderers," others are "born murderees." It is when these two types of people happen to find each other that you get A Situation. It is an interesting theory, but one that tends to fall apart once you study murder cases. For example, it is hard to find
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Strange Company - 2/17/2020

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"Denver's Oldest Bar" matchbook cover outside cover - A (Click image to enlarge) new addition to my collection A matchbook cover from "Denver’s Oldest Bar" is a new acquisition to my private Soapy Smith collection. Though it is a "modern" item from the 1960s-70s, it has a direct link to Soapy Smith. "Denver’s Oldest Bar" was once controlled by Soapy, under the name, "Tivoli Club,
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 2/7/2020

Wherever rich New Yorkers built their homes in the 19th century, they also built private stables for their expensive horses and carriages—with upstairs living quarters for a coachman or groom. So when Upper Fifth Avenue along Central Park became the city’s new Millionaire Mile during the Gilded Age, certain Upper East Side blocks to the […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/17/2020
Beginning on January 1st, W&W will begin featuring fascinating short clippings from the Fall River papers and other newspapers from …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 12/29/2019
Every day since Halloween 2007, the blog ExecutedToday.com has posted a story of an execution that took place on that date in history somewhere in the world. While this certainly says something about the human condition over time, it also says something about the determination and thoroughness of the blogger of ExecutedToday.com, who goes by the epithet Headsman. As someone who has scrambled to
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/15/2020

On this date in 1946,* communist Albania executed three former officials of its deposed wartime government. Fascist Italy occupied Albania during World War II. In a situation mirroring that of neighboring Yugoslavia, there were two resistance movements that sometimes maintained an uneasy truce and other times went straight at one another’s throats: the communist National […]
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Executed Today - 2/15/2020
[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
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.