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

The Cruelties of Fashion.

“Who is killing all the beautiful blue breasts, and green breasts, and purple breasts, and gold brea
October 12, 2015
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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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ExecutedToday.com - 4/22/2019

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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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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
"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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Strange Company - 4/22/2019

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
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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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
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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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019
[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 Rattling Main. | Another Amorous Parson.

The Cruelties of Fashion.

Cruelties of Fashion

"Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds"

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It is no longer the question of “Who killed Cock Robin?” that “most foul and unusual” assassination which so perturbed our youthful minds, but “Who is killing all the beautiful blue breasts, and green breasts, and purple breasts, and gold breasts. Add the gorgeously-feathered songsters of groves in every clime?” The sad, sad, answer is, “Woman.” Yes, woman, lovely woman, it is at whose door lies the destruction of millions of beautiful birds, in order that her hat, her coat, her cuffs, may be adorned with the gloriously-colored plumage. A melancholy sight it is to behold a charming representative of the female sex divine promenading in a hat upon which is perched some exquisite specimen of ornithology, which, thanks to the skill of the hunter and taxidermist, looks as though it were yet alive and reveling in its native grove. The great car of Juggernaut, Fashion, rolls over the hapless birds, and women, who would swoon at the fall of a sparrow into the claws of the harmless necessary cat, unthinkingly issue the fiat that dooms to destruction thousands upon thousands of beauteously feathered choristers.


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, November 10, 1883.