No. 444
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 15, 2019

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America
February 16, 2011
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Our old familiar the Newgate Calendar supplies us with this narration of a Scottish Jacobin to pop the powdered wigs from Edinburgh to Westminster. A published version of the trial in question is available here, and a last-speech broadside awaits you here. Watt is the only monument in Executed Today‘s pages to the attempted creation […]
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Executed Today - 10/15/2019

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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

Generally speaking, poltergeists are the bratty kids of the paranormal world. They create a lot of noise, cause some damage, and make obnoxious spectacles of themselves, but they are, on the whole, seemingly helpless to do any real harm. Their antics are tiresome, rather than evil. On occasion, however, polts exhibit threatening, even fiendish behavior. Reading these accounts, one
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Strange Company - 10/14/2019
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
John Delaney met Mary Jane Cox in October 1886; she smiled at him as they passed each other on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, and he turned to follow her. She was 17-years-old, he was 15. Mary Jane did not refuse his advances outright, but gave him her address and told him to write to her. Their relationship progressed quickly, and eight months later, Mary Jane told John she was pregnant, and he
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/12/2019

In this photo, some of the letters look red, others are definitely pink. No matter what colors the letters are, this gorgeous glowing sign for Neil’s Coffee Shop on 70th Street and Lexington Avenue is proof that New York bars and restaurants still feature the city’s iconic iridescent neon store signage. Neil’s is an under-the-radar […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/13/2019
[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
“Daredevil” Steve Brodie |

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Chorus-Girls-Panic

Crime, eccentricity, and the sporting life—that covers a lot of ground. Very simply, The National Night Stick is a history of America’s dark side.  Modeled after the “flash press” of the 19th Century, the Night Stick will deliver stories of the rogues, libertines, conmen, mountebanks and political grafters who made America what it is. Like the National Police Gazette, whose stunning illustrations brought criminals, prizefighters, and tight-clad chorus girls to every barbershop in America, The National Night Stick will endeavor to continually shock and dazzle the reader.

Crime
We will present all facets of 19th century crime. “Rogue's Corner” features a weekly mug-shot and criminal biography of a noted ne’er-do-well from the pages of Inspector Thomas Byrnes’s  Professional Criminals of America (aka Rogues’ Gallery.) We will also include a link Murder by Gaslight, the definitive site for 19th Century American Murder. And more often than not, the feature stories will include a bit of larceny.

Crush Collision

Eccentricity
We will bring you the big ideas that came from an era in America when anything seemed possible—not the ideas that led to progress and invention, but dangerous ideas like train wrecks as entertainment, secret societies and private armies, religious movements that failed miserably and political machines that were all too successful.

The Sporting Life
We will visit those utterly disreputable but raucously joyous institutions found in every American city: saloons, vaudeville houses, dime museums, boxing rings, gambling hells, opium dens, and brothels.

 As The Sunday Flash said in 1841:

"We follow vice and folly where a police officer dare not show his head, as the small, but intrepid weasel pursues vermin in paths which the licensed cat or dog cannot enter.”

 

Welcome to the National Night Stick!