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Category Archives: Wife Beating

Morning Oregonian, December 25, 1922. Back before fine publications like Penthouse Variations and later the Internet gave them respectable outlets, paraphiliacs with a literary bent had to smuggle their fantasies sub rosa into the letters columns of their local dailies. It was better than nothing, and once in a while a lucky few even got a response from a kindred editorial spirit.

Norwich Courier, November 8, 1826. I love the white-gloved, pornography-for-Puritans delicacy of that two-sentence preamble. “We shall barely mention some particulars as we understood them” is also quite good. Read More »

ADW aug 13 34Atlanta Daily World, August 13, 1934. I’m not sure how these slayings add up to a poignant demonstration of the evils of common-law marriage. All of these couples could have parted ways without a divorce. Neither does this seem like a particularly “weird” assortment of murder weapons. I mean, what are you supposed to use to kill your non-husband? Read More »

nazisWashington Post, January 7, 1944. Perhaps you thought the Third Reich was an enlightened society? Well forget about that.

Washington (Whipping) Post, December 25, 1904. When President Teddy Roosevelt used his bully pulpit to advocate the flogging of wife-beaters, 60% of D.C. clergy backed his play. Arguments pro and con are pretty interesting: You’ve got the one Presbyterian who connects his support for “the lash” to the fact that he’s a “Confederate,” then a Catholic whose opposition stems from his boyhood eyewitness of the brutal whipping of a Maryland “colored man.” It comes as no surprise that flogging sentences were indeed meted out far more frequently to black than white offenders–I’ll post some stats on that later. The con camp also includes slippery-slope thinkers who ask why wives who beat their husbands and/or children shouldn’t also be eligible for a horsehide rolfing. Which reminds me, I’ve got a fair stockpile of abused-husband anecdotes to unload at some point too. The last image in the gallery is of a whipping penalty enacted on April 20, 1926. Five lashes is actually a pretty light sentence and maybe shows waning enthusiasm for the tradition. Ten and twenty lashes seemed to be the standard of industry in its heyday in Maryland and Delaware.

trib 3 2 21 wbChicago Tribune, May 3, 1921. I want to believe that a random poll of five people on an ordinary Chicago street could still yield a magician, two dancers, a model and a secretary, I truly do. Anyway, the consensus is pretty strong across the vocational spectrum: wife-beaters merit the lash. Or the ducking stool at minimum.

econChicago Tribune, November 10, 1867. Interesting thing here is the assertion that wife-beating “seldom attracts the special attention of the public.” As we’ve seen, the newspapers and especially judges were all over this issue and competing to be out in front as hardliners against wife-beaters. So too, as we’ll see, were politicians and clergymen. Read More »

sisters3Chicago Tribune, October 7, 1887. Here’s the straight goods at last: No “almost mobbed,” no fig leaf of patriarchal oversight. Being a huge fan of Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, I mentally cast Mercedes McCambridge as the “handsome little woman with fire in her black eyes.”

sisters2Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1907. Interesting that this little party should have required the legitimating presence of at least one man. Inferably that’s because it would have been improper for any of the women to strip Hubbard of his clothes. Let’s hear it for standards of decency maintained in the heat of mob passion. Also notable: Women seem not to have required masks for their vigilante actions.

sistersChicago Tribune, July 7, 1900. Particularly motivated women sometimes didn’t wait for the menfolk to get off their lazy asses and dole out the rough justice. I’m curious what “almost mobbed” means here.

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