No. 542
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 28, 2022

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America
February 16, 2011
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Via Newspapers.comThe following little meteorological oddity was reported in the “Ogden Standard,” January 7, 1909:Santa Cruz, Cal. Jan 6.--A remarkable phenomenon that has caused wonder and consternation in the neighborhood of the Santa Cruz Beach was reported by Mrs. W.H. Burns of 240 Riverside avenue this city this morning and when investigated was fully corroborated by residents of the
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Strange Company - 1/26/2022
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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
Soapy Smith leading the packArtifact #96-Front Page, Part 1National PopulistMarch 24, 1894Jeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)  amblers, Thugs, Murders and Rogues."The alliance of the gamblers and bunco men with the old Fire and Police Board is not a pleasant thing to contemplate. It has come to a pretty pass if the interests of the city and the lives and property of citizens can't
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/21/2022
Artist's rendition of the Pearl Bryan murder from The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, Or, The Headless Horror. Cincinnati: Barclay & Co., 1896. Read Pearl Bryan's story in the new book,So Far from Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder.Now available at Amazon.
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/27/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
“Daredevil” Steve Brodie | Their Sex's Worst Foes.

Welcome to The National Night Stick

Chorus-Girls-Panic

Crime, eccentricity, and the sporting life—that covers a lot of ground. Very simply, The National Night Stick is a history of America’s dark side.  Modeled after the “flash press” of the 19th Century, the Night Stick will deliver stories of the rogues, libertines, conmen, mountebanks and political grafters who made America what it is. Like the National Police Gazette, whose stunning illustrations brought criminals, prizefighters, and tight-clad chorus girls to every barbershop in America, The National Night Stick will endeavor to continually shock and dazzle the reader.

Crime
We will present all facets of 19th century crime. “Rogue's Corner” features a weekly mug-shot and criminal biography of a noted ne’er-do-well from the pages of Inspector Thomas Byrnes’s  Professional Criminals of America (aka Rogues’ Gallery.) We will also include a link Murder by Gaslight, the definitive site for 19th Century American Murder. And more often than not, the feature stories will include a bit of larceny.

Crush Collision

Eccentricity
We will bring you the big ideas that came from an era in America when anything seemed possible—not the ideas that led to progress and invention, but dangerous ideas like train wrecks as entertainment, secret societies and private armies, religious movements that failed miserably and political machines that were all too successful.

The Sporting Life
We will visit those utterly disreputable but raucously joyous institutions found in every American city: saloons, vaudeville houses, dime museums, boxing rings, gambling hells, opium dens, and brothels.

 As The Sunday Flash said in 1841:

"We follow vice and folly where a police officer dare not show his head, as the small, but intrepid weasel pursues vermin in paths which the licensed cat or dog cannot enter.”

 

Welcome to the National Night Stick!