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Category Archives: Wife Beating

urban mobNew York Tribune, March 25, 1899. This is another perennial story: the urban wife-beater rescued from a street mob by the police. The scenario differs from a rough music or white cap action in its spontaneity.

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lashed masked
whitecapsNew York Tribune, April 17, 1899, and June 30, 1890, respectively. “White cap” was a standard synonym for vigilante. Makes it sound like Klan shit, but the white cap tradition preceded the KKK. The latter never were a terribly original bunch.

tarSan Francisco Chronicle, May 31, 1892. Even if I blogged 24/7/365 strictly about wife-beating, I’d never live long enough to exhaust the available supply of these anecdotes about masked men enforcing community standards with a rope and a whip. As mentioned before, such incidents are part of an ancient tradition called the “rough music.” This one’s interesting for its ferocity plus the stipulation that it was the local gentry who were taking care of business. But when, I wonder, was the last time someone was tarred and feathered by his neighbors in this great country of ours?
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schoolboysNew York Tribune, May 24, 1921. Maybe they were Boy Scouts earning their “Vigilante” badges. Well done, lads. Note how revulsion against wife-beaters trumps revulsion at the spectacle of youths physically tormenting an old man. The KKK reference is significant: the Second Ku Klux Klan is riding high in 1921 and was big in and around Akron.

pokesNew York Times, February 7, 1935. Interesting to see a judge urging a defendant to take the law into his own hands. With the tacit, winking approval of the New York Times, no less.

112Atlanta Constitution, October 31, 1924. I suppose when you’re 112, you can get away with just about anything of which you’re physically capable.

$10New York Tribune, March 31, 1912. We’re going to consider some extrajudicial responses to the wife-beating problem for a while.

waop 10 19 22Washington Post, October 19, 1922. I’m pretty sure no one ever ran against this guy with a “Judge Burke: Soft on Wife-Beaters . . . Wrong for Wilkes-Barre!” campaign.

2 hoursAtlanta Constitution, February 2, 1918. It’s not the judge but the deputy sheriff who takes care of wife-beaters in Talbotton. His solution surely has simplicity going for it. And since this guy was out of work anyway, the vexing support issue doesn’t enter into it.

Trib 1 30 03Chicago Tribune, January 30, 1903. This scheme, though less dramatic than previous ones, strikes me as pretty sound. Though if I understand it correctly, it wouldn’t work for couples who rent.