No. 479
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 09, 2020

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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The aptly named Christopher Slaughterford hanged on this date in 1709 — condemned, quite possibly wrongfully, for murdering his fiancee Jane Young. Slaughterford owned a maltings at Shalford in Surrey and was known to be paying court to Miss Young when the latter went missing on the evening of the 5th of October, 1703. She […]
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Executed Today - 7/9/2020

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(Click image to enlarge) HE SHOOTING OF HARRY "SHOTGUN" SMITH. Denver's unsolved murder: Number #10 On June 23, 1893, Harry "Shotgun" Smith (no relation) went on a drinking binge and made the deadly mistake of visiting the Tivoli Club and provoking a fight with Bascomb Smith, the younger brother of bad man "Soapy" Smith. Bascomb walked away unscathed. Harry Smith was not
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/23/2020

Via Newspapers.com Who doesn’t love a good Demon Cat story? The “Harrisburg Telegraph,” July 30, 1902: Lancaster, July 30. Mrs. Augustus Stiffel, wife of an ironworker, says she is bewitched and lays the blame for her condition on a big black cat. According to her story, the cat, which is as large as a good-sized dog, with eyes like balls of fire, visits her house nearly every night, and
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Strange Company - 7/8/2020
It was a perfect weekend to journey out to Tyngsborough to get a glimpse of what was left of the …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/13/2020
Mamie Kelly Fourteen-year-old Mamie Kelly of San Francisco, had a crush on the boy next door, nineteen-year-old Aleck Goldenson. Though Aleck was the kind of boy who appeals to teenaged girls—an artist and a bit of a hoodlum—her family had no use for him at all. In spite of this, Mamie took every opportunity be near him. Aleck first enjoyed her attention, then tolerated it, then actively
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Murder By Gaslight - 7/4/2020

New York once had lots of neighborhood doughnut places, and this stamp-size shop on Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay keeps the tradition alive. Also known as Shaikh’s Place, Donut Shoppe still has the original sign installed by the shop’s first owner decades ago. The shop has diversified over the years, adding to the menu tacos, […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/6/2020
[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
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.