No. 543
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 18, 2021

The Cruelties of Fashion.

“Who is killing all the beautiful blue breasts, and green breasts, and purple breasts, and gold brea
October 12, 2015
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The "Memoirs" of Sir John Reresby (1634-1689) contain a reference to a minor witch trial which somehow morphed into one of the oddest "ghost" sightings on record: Leaving the public affairs for a while, at this untoward pass, I would venture to take notice of a private occurrence which made some noise at York. The assizes being there held on the 7th of March, 1686-7, an old woman was
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Strange Company - 10/18/2021
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Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Sometimes a painting has so much rich detail, it just knocks you out. That was my reaction to this magnificent scene of the Third Avenue Railroad Depot between 65th and 66th Streets, painted two years after the depot opened in 1857. Amazingly, the painter of this “precise representation” of the depot, William H. Schenck, was […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/18/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
A very anxious and excited man arrived at the jail in Ann Arbor, Michigan, around midnight, October 22, 1871. He told the jailer he was unwell and wanted to sleep in the jail that night. The jailor decided it was in everyone’s best interest to give him what he wanted. As he locked the cell door, the man burst out crying but would not say why. The following morning the jailor released him. The man
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Murder By Gaslight - 10/16/2021
First response from the Sourdough Associationto Jefferson R. Smith from Clara JohnsonJeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)     lease try to attend and thus forward the spirit of the Sourdough." Soapy Smith's son contacts the Sourdough Reunion, 1951      Seventy years ago, at some date previous to February 15, 1951, Soapy Smith's son, sixty-five year old Jefferson Randolph Smith III
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/17/2021
A Rattling Main. | Another Amorous Parson.

The Cruelties of Fashion.

Cruelties of Fashion

"Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds"

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It is no longer the question of “Who killed Cock Robin?” that “most foul and unusual” assassination which so perturbed our youthful minds, but “Who is killing all the beautiful blue breasts, and green breasts, and purple breasts, and gold breasts. Add the gorgeously-feathered songsters of groves in every clime?” The sad, sad, answer is, “Woman.” Yes, woman, lovely woman, it is at whose door lies the destruction of millions of beautiful birds, in order that her hat, her coat, her cuffs, may be adorned with the gloriously-colored plumage. A melancholy sight it is to behold a charming representative of the female sex divine promenading in a hat upon which is perched some exquisite specimen of ornithology, which, thanks to the skill of the hunter and taxidermist, looks as though it were yet alive and reveling in its native grove. The great car of Juggernaut, Fashion, rolls over the hapless birds, and women, who would swoon at the fall of a sparrow into the claws of the harmless necessary cat, unthinkingly issue the fiat that dooms to destruction thousands upon thousands of beauteously feathered choristers.


Reprinted from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, November 10, 1883.