No. 462
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 24, 2020

Getting Above his Business.

How a too presumptuous shoe dealer’s attention to a female customer was resented by her male escort.
August 31, 2015
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Ramendra Narayan Roy, in the days when no one questioned that he was alive. One of the most famous court cases of the 19th century revolved around Arthur Orton’s years-long campaign to prove that he was, in fact, Sir Roger Tichborne, a wealthy young man who had disappeared in a presumed shipwreck many years before. As strange (and protracted) as the whole Tichborne matter was, it was
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Strange Company - 2/24/2020

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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

Fifty-nine years ago in February 1961, thousands of avid fans trudged through 20 inches of snow to Carnegie Hall to see comedian Lenny Bruce—in a show that was recorded and released in a three-record set, The Carnegie Hall Concert. This famous show, “was the moment that an obscure yet rapidly rising young comedian named Lenny […]
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Ephemeral New York - 2/23/2020
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
Nellie C. Bailey. William Dodson led a drive of 2300 head of sheep from Kansas through Indian Territory to their new home in Texas in October 1883. A mile behind them the owner of the new ranch, a widower named Clement Bothemly, and his sister Bertha traveled in a wagon outfitted with bedrooms. Pulled by two yoke of oxen, the wagon was so large that observers compared it to a railroad car.
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Murder By Gaslight - 2/22/2020

Second-century Christian bishop and martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna has his feast day on February 23. Be sure to shout supplications loudly, as he’s the patron for earaches. Reputedly inducted into the mysteries by the Apostle John himself in the late first century, Polycarp was a consequential clergyman in the early church and a living […]
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Executed Today - 2/23/2020
[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
Life on a Mississippi Steamboat. | She Liked Her Lager Beer.

Getting Above his Business.

Above His Business

How a too presumptuous shoe dealer’s attention to a female customer was resented by her male escort. [more]

What Happened to a Clerk who Tried a Pair of Shoes on a Girl.

A young man and a very pretty girl entered a shoe store in Chicago one afternoon last week. She was lately from a New England seacoast town, noted for its institutions of learning and intolerance of anything like impropriety. Her cheeks had still the color peculiar to Eastern girls. The clerk advanced briskly, and with his sweetest smile inquired her wants. She wanted a pair of high-button boots, and, having selected a pair to her liking, seated herself in a little place partitioned off for the purpose, to try them on. Her escort stood at a little distance, looking through the window into the street. The clerk was all attention. He sat down beside the girl, and proceeded to put on one of the boots. She looked a little astonished when he sat down beside her, and a moment later she uttered an exclamation of such unmistakable indignation that her escort sprang forward, and, seizing the clerk by the collar, kicked him clear across het room into a case of rubber shoes, which stood half empty.

“Take that you scoundrel,” cried the exasperated student from Yale, tossing a box of shoes on top of the clerk, “and see if you can’t wait on a lady without insulting her.”

The clerk, too much scared to move, lay doubled up in the box, when the proprietor came quickly forward.

“Call the patrol and have that man arrested,” cried the clerk feebly, as he saw his employer approaching. “He assaulted me; he’s a dangerous man.”

“Yes,” retorted the student, as he piled two more shoe boxes on the whimpering clerk, “call the patrol and have this bundle of garbage dumped into some vacant lot.”

The proprietor apologized to the young couple and assisting the humiliated clerk out of the shoebox, told him to put on his hat and leave the store.


Reprinted from the National Police Gazette, December 29, 1883.