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Category Archives: Restraint of Trade

Daily Telluride Journal, August 3, 1901. This item puts me in mind of Yosemite Sam’s deathless line from the classic 1949 Friz Freleng cartoon High Diving Hare: “I paid my four bits to see the high divin’ act, and I’m gonna see the high divin’ act!” more

Kansas City Evening Star, January 18, 1881. I suppose an unexploded bomb in every grave would have slowed down the trade in stiffs for a while, but there’d have been public safety issues, and eventually medical schools would have started offering bomb-disposal courses and we’d have been back to business as usual. Life is an arms race.

Kansas City Star, December 5, 1905. “Flashlight camera” was the original term for a camera equipped with a flash. The light was generated by the explosion of an exposed quantity of magnesium powder. It was a loud, smoky and dangerous technology. Photographers were known to set themselves on fire, or start fires when shooting indoors. But flash photography itself was widely seen as an intolerable invasion of privacy. Read more.

The Daily Inter-Ocean, May 22, 1879. In today’s history lesson, we trace gay nightlife in Chicago back to the first term of the Hayes administration. Read more.

Chicago Tribune, October 14, 1877. “Inoculation” here = infection. Seems weird to me that tattooing should require explanation as “body marking.” Also seems dubious that vermilion ink was the sole fomitic agent here–presumably Mr. the Bum was using the same dirty implements no matter what the pigment. Ick. The standard therapy for syphilis was mercury at this time. It’s not clear whether it had any effect on the disease, which has periods of dormancy and sometimes resolves itself spontaneously. But mercury itself is not specifically too good for the human organism.

Kansas City Star, October 19, 1885. Chronicle of a lynching foretold.

eminent domainNew York Times, October 4, 1854. There’ll always be some folks who just don’t cotton to the concept of eminent domain.

peddlersChicago Tribune, May 24, 1911. People piss and moan about the prevalence of advertising these days, but in certain respects the racket has died down.

For realAtlanta Constitution, December 25, 1912. From a Southern paper we should expect such Yiddish syntax in a headline? On Christmas Eve already?

More generally, this obviously speaks to the primacy of mince among institutional mystery meats. I love it that U.S. marshals once occupied themselves with mince busts, and that the “filler” remained so mysterious to the gov’t lab that it could only be said to have “looked and smelled like mincemeat.” My guess is that it was protose, if not Italian beef.

free tradeLos Angeles Times, July 28, 1892. Fin de siecle Angelenos apparently found economic issues easier to grasp when couched in racist stereotypes and dialect humor.