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Category Archives: Spousal abuse

Chicago Inter-Ocean, August 11, 1874. It was strongly talked of, see? It was not the passing subject of gay badinage and persiflage, nor something obliquely alluded to in a manner that went over the heads of most. The talk of lynching was strong.

Ths Brattleboro, Vermont, Reporter, June 14, 1806. Hoo boy, heref a meffed-up ftory about a terrfically unhappy family. Bafically a confpiracy of children to kill their drunken, violent old man before he killed again. Gotta feel forry for the kidf, though my guess is the teenage murdereff probabaly fwung for thif. Read More »

Miami Herald, August 29, 1914. That, my friends, is a world-historically beautiful opening sentence, belonging in the company of “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . .,” “Happy families are all alike. . .,” “It is a truth universally acknowledged. . . ,” and “A couple of days later the phone rang.” Read More »

whiskyKansas City Times, May 3, 1918. She was all like, “Single malts are for the birds,” and he was all like “To blend is to adulterate,” and things just escalated from there.

blindNew York Times, September 12, 1925. This was too early for his favorite radio show to have been NBC’s The Court of Human Relations.

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 »

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.

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 »

kiss foot times 3 15 22New York Times, May 15, 1922. Judges used to put a lot of creativity into punishing wife-beaters, as we’ll see in the next few posts.

friscoSan Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 1913. That’s my kind of jurist.