Crime Blotter, 1874 | Bleader

Monday, December 28, 2009

Crime Blotter, 1874

Posted By on 12.28.09 at 09:30 AM

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The Chicago Inter-Ocean, December 18, 1874. You could get your ride boosted in Chicago long before it was a car. In certain other respects, the crimescape has changed quite a bit.

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The "Bridewell" refers to this place. The name originates with London's Bridewell Prison, but was used generically for "pokey," "calaboose," "lock-up," etc. The Chicago Tribune was still using the term into the 1970s.
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Said House of David was one of the city's biggest and roughest saloons, and shows up in the crime news routinely. Its owner and eponym, David Thornton, was a major political fixer in the mold of Deadwood's Al Swearengen.
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"Revised and corrected" in the sense of "busted," or so I guess. Coat-theft was a very common criminal enterprise at the time.
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A "waterproof" is a raincoat. "Spirituelle" meant "witty" which here serves as a euphemistic synonym for "gay," which at the time meant "prostitute," not "homosexual." So Nixon mugged working girl Libby Reid for her raincoat.
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A couple of Catholic girls in danger of turning gay, I surmise.
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Chicago hasn't run out of wife-beaters yet, but pigeon thefts are way down since the late 19th century.
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"The social evil" was a refomer's term for prostitution. Apparently this particular lady of the evening had reconsidered her suicide and wasn't yet ready to move on. (I don't think "goblin movements" was meant as a double entendre, but perhaps I'm being naive.)

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