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Category Archives: Children in peril

Aberdeen Daily News, July 17, 1877. I’m not sure what’s the correct lifeboat logic to implement here. Is it better to start by feeding on the youngest and then work your way up the line, or should the mom have begun at the top by feeding the 16-year-old to the wee ones, then worked her way down? Tough call.

The Trentonian, August 3, 1995. The Lindbergh baby is America’s answer to the lost Dauphin of France: Over the years there have been any number of nuts and hustlers claiming to be the kidnapped son of aviator and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh. But unlike this candidate, most such pretenders have tended be be blond, blue-eyed and male. I was planning to attend this press conference but I slept in or something, thus missing the chance to consider this lady’s evidence. I guess we’ll never know.

This sample of the unique argot of early 20th-century Chicago youth gangs is from sociologist Frederick Thrasher’s landmark study The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago, published by the University of Chicago in 1927. I haven’t heard the term “loogin” since I left my hometown of Winnipeg, where I think the preferred spelling was “loogan.” There it signified a loud, loutish, potentially dangerous hoser. I wonder if Thrasher wasn’t missing the mark in overlooking the sexual connotations of both fruit and punk, usage of which as a synonym for catamite dates back to the 16th century.

Chicago Tribune, January 1, 1908. I assume these are national statistics, not municipal. I must do some research into the matter of electric swings and scenic railroads. It was tough luck for that lone victim of the discus.

Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 25, 1883. Now there’s a headline to stir the blood, all quivering as it is with walrus-mustachioed dudgeon
and outrage and all good stuff like that. But the tragedy behind it is anything but “unparalleled”: We’ve got a father (fella named Finzer, in Pittsburgh) who’s unable to provide for his family (too sick to work) who solves the problem by murdering his dependents (a wife and two kids in this case) and then himself. Same basic thing happened all the time, folks. According to this very interesting book I read recently, German immigrants and German Americans had a particular bent for this kind of behavior when they were losing economic ground—it was the signature crime of the male German murder defendants. But there is one somewhat distinctive detail to this tragedy, viz: Read More »

Harper’s Weekly, April 16, 1904.I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something subtly disturbing about this ad.

The Daily Inter Ocean, January 18, 1878. “Never follow animals or children” was an old adage among wised-up vaudevillians. (They meant “follow” in the sense of “go onstage directly after”). But does the same principle apply to children in relation to animals? And how might race affect the equation? Read more

Denison Daily News, February 3, 1878. Strange and affecting enough, I suppose, in the era of baby farming. The long beard is a nice touch, but how long is long? Longer than three feet?
As an instance of maternal impression, this is oddly nebulous, lacking the Just So Stories exactitude one is conditioned to expect. There needs to be a better morphological link between the fire and the condition of the child. Speaking of maternal impression, I haven’t until now created a tag or formal thread for that interesting theme, and must now correct this oversight.

I’m shooting for second Beard as a food blogger and PR trouble shooter.


Kansas City Star, April 29, 1908. Sacrificing children isn’t just for Satanists, don’t you know.
Hmm, not a lot of clues as the exact denomination here, but I’m guessing they weren’t high Anglicans.
God can’t get up off the couch and smite his own five-year-old girls? For that matter, couldn’t he provide his servant Bachman with a first name?
“The Smiths and Bachman” has an odd ring to it, considered from a rock angle. No good could have possibly come from such an unholy combination.
Again, frustrating vagueness as to the doctrines and origins of “this new religion.”

Oog. Dating Oom the Omnipotent doesn’t look like such a bad choice all of a sudden.
Atta boy, Bachman: keep punchin’! No looking back!

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