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Category Archives: Theft

Daily Picayune, March 9, 1891. Here’s one of those heretofore respectable lady shoplifters I was talking about. Well, she’s not really so much a shoplifter as a credit-scamming identity thief. The point is, she’s got sticky fingers and needs an explanation for same. Give her points for originality: Svengali made her do it.

Omaha Daily Herald, December 20, 1881. Yes, well, it’s been her gig for 16 years, so it make sense she doesn’t see it as unusual. Moving on. Read More »

Los Angeles Herald, December 25, 1909. Ambiguous headline there: Could be taken to denote an unusual national security threat, or maybe a groundswell of popular support for an even stranger candidate.
Taft, of course, was the Fat President and had a sterling rep as a trencherman, so I reckon the gift was pretty well tailored to its recipient. I must look into the matter of this previous pie that went MIA at Thanksgiving.

Pomeroy‘s Democrat, 1869-1870. This is kind of a Frankenclipping of tweets I gleaned from 3 or 4 editions of Pomeroy’s Democrat, which is a fascinating paper. Editor and eponym Mark “Brick” Pomeroy was a lippy freethinker, a vicious negrophobe (I mean even by the standards of his day), a hack political partisan, a fizzing misogynist, a staunch Mason and a terminal smart aleck. I adore his writing. Olive Logan was a contemporary actress and author and boy, did Pomeroy ever have it in for her. He’s always taking these random shots at her about her immense feet, how they eclipse the footlights when she’s on stage, etc. Palpitators, I am delighted to learn, is an archaic name for falsies. “Grecian bend” = “among women, an affected carriage of the body, the upper part being inclined forward,” says a 1913 Wesbter’s.

Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1897. Veteran Hope Chest readers will surely recall the notorious Bender Family of Kansas, whose frontier depredations set the contemporary bar for homicidal family enterprise. This here Staffleback crew strikes me as small potatoes in comparison–murder seems to have been less their “trade” than a sideline–but their operation was not without a certain Gothic panache. Abandoned mine shafts are always good value. Read More »

Chicago Inter-Ocean, September 2, 1894. That bit from silent movies in which the bad guy ties his victim to the railway tracks before an oncoming train? That is totally Stuff People Actually Used To Do. Not just once or twice either. It seems to have been an enduring favorite in the Blackguard’s Playbook. Read More »

Wilkes Barre Times Leader, October 16, 1922. We’re not talking about the pituitary here, nor the thymus. But do not leap to the conclusion that we’re looking at the Chicago equivalent of bang-utot or that African hysteria whereby a stranger shakes a feller’s hand and the latter’s johnson disappears. The above-named victims really were sporting conspicuously clean trouser lines. Some of the blanks will be filled in, others not. But is “gland banditry” not an awesome phrase? [Thanks to krrraft for putting me onto this phenomenon.]

Anagrams for “gland banditry”:

Try bang, Dad: nil.

A dry blind gnat.

A dirndl by Tang.

The Pittsfield [Mass.] Sun, October 8, 1868. Accidental poetry like this was, of course, a byproduct of the telegraph. And this is recognizably the sort of thing that Thoreau was anticipating when he famously wrote in 1854 that “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate… We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.” Thoreau was a joyless old poop. I’ll take stuff like this over a dreary proto-Unabomber tract like Walden Pond any day of the year. It lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirits, it addeth to the gaiety of nations.

kc times 8 6 94Kansas City Times, August 6, 1894. That subhed is arguably just a leetle bit racist. Amazing to think that you could once purchase an overdose’s worth of junk for a dime.

Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1916 (left) and December 24, 1895. Beautiful editorial cartoons from the Trib (click through twice for optimum magnification). The one on the left speaks for itself, I reckon. The one on the right pertains to the boundary dispute between Venezuela and Britain. Britain was preparing to kick some ass when the U.S. forcibly reasserted the Monroe Doctrine (“Nobody fucks about in South America but us”). The Brits initially said “Pshaw!” but then backed down–a watershed moment in global power politics. The profile on the target is of course John Bull. I love it that newspapers once had leeway to depict Uncle Sam as a dissolute old carny, and on Christmas Eve day no less. Imagine the ensuing uproar if it happened today.