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Category Archives: Abortion

Chicago Tribune, January 19, 1919. As we all know from Charles Bronson movies, shrinks and their natural allies, liberal judges, are soft on crime and that’s why the whole world has gone to hell in a gay, socialist, heroin-addicted handbasket. It wasn’t always thus, however: Here’s one tough-minded clinician who had the moral courage to advocate the wholesale execution of the violently insane. Okay, he wasn’t exactly advocating it so much as running it up the flagpole to see who saluted. Read more.

Various newspapers, 1870-1909. Like so many other once-great American institutions, the trunk mystery has gone where the woodbine twineth. Read more.

Washington Post, October 17, 1885. I dunno, preserved in alcohol in an air-tight box strikes me as pretty professional work.

ruinedKansas City Times, May 18, 1889. I’m guessing this one never got to court.

really bad dadChicago Tribune, November 5, 1872. Here’s a serious study in paternal depravity. The religious angle is sort of horrifically fascinating: Corkery, a Catholic, seems to have been telling his daughter that it was okay to bear false witness in a secular court. Teach your children well, Mr. Corkery. It gets worse, much worse. Read More »

incest lynch may 9 1901 Atlanta Constitution, May 9, 1901. The “illegal operation” is, of course, an abortion.

Hope chest
Hope chest

From the Detroit News, March 7, 1931. Tragedy compounding tragedy compounding mystery.

Oh wait–it turns out Time magazine of April 13, 1931, has some inside dope: “At Pine Lake, Mich., Florence Tabor Critchlow, onetime mystery story writer, took poison, died. Neighbors remembered that twelve years ago, while rummaging in the cellar of her mother’s home, she had opened the ‘hope chest’ of her missing sister Maud, found Maud dead inside. Maud Tabor’s mother was tried for murder; but the jury disagreed when State pathologists discovered that the girl had died after an illegal operation. The mother, who is now 92, was never retried. She said she had hidden the body because ‘Maud did not want to be separated from me, even in death.'”

Translation: Maud died of a home abortion administered by Sarah, her mother. God, how inconceivably awful. The fact that the jury mercifully nullified the charge against Sarah mitigates the horror a little bit, though she plainly fell on hard times thereafter. The abortion angle makes the “dismemberment” part hard to fathom, but that could just be your standard bullshit tabloid sensationalism of the time.

Now I’m curious about the mystery writer angle. . .

What do you know: the writer angle checks out. Courtesy of Google Books we know that Flo published at least one story in Black Cat Magazine (subhed: “Clever Stories”). I didn’t get very far with reading it, I confess, but I might go back later and have a more serious whack at it. Black Cat, by the way, is the publication in whose pages Jack London, Clark Ashton Smith and Henry Miller all cut their authorial teeth, at least according to this guy’s Henry Miller blog.

From Wikipedia comes the news that Florence also wrote for The Nautilus, a magazine associated with “the New Thought,” which was basically a precursor to the “New Age” or a copyright-free knock-off of Christian Science, depending on where you set the parameters. That feels right, because the short story linked above has a kind of vaporous metaphysical tone.