No. 495
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
October 30, 2020

Venus Caught by the “Cops.”

June 10, 2014
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Chapter 2
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Strange Company - 10/30/2020


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A CHAMPIONSan Francisco ChronicleOctober 12, 1898(Click image to enlarge)     ASCOMB IS A CHAMPION    Guess Bascomb Smith wasn't all bad. The texts of the newspaper appear below.  Miss Hall finds a champion. Brother of  “ Soapy” Smith claims her as his wife.There is another side to the pathetic story told to the police by Minnie Hall, the Vaudeville actress to jump into the bay from Howard
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 9/25/2020
On this date in 1790, Samuel Hadlock hanged for a drunken murder committed on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine. This fantastic story was thoroughly excavated in 1998 by some enthusiasts at the Mount Desert Island Historical Society; their resulting study, “Hadlock Executed This Day” can be perused in pdf form. His journey […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 10/28/2020

Colorization can sometimes add another whole dimension to vintage black and white photos. We’ve done this one of the crime …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 8/31/2020
 Dr. Henry Meyer, his wife Maria, and their associate Ludwig Brant devised an elaborate plan to defraud insurance companies. Maria and Brant held a mock wedding then took out several insurance policies on his life with Maria as beneficiary. The plan was to then obtain a cadaver, declare it was the body of Ludwig Brant, and collect the insurance. Unbeknownst to Brant, Dr. Meyer and Maria decided
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Murder by Gaslight - 10/24/2020
New York City has no shortage of reportedly haunted houses—from the East Fourth Street home of 19th century merchant Seabury Tredwell and his large family to the Morris-Jumel mansion in Washington Heights, where a rich widow born in the 1770s lived out her days. But when it comes to haunted houses that truly look spooky, […]
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Ephemeral New York - 10/26/2020
[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
Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.” | Progress of Naval Architecture.

Venus Caught by the “Cops.”

Venus Caught

A Theatre Raid.
The play of “Bashful Venus” in a New York variety theatre, interrupted by the police who arrest the artistes. [more]

 A Flash Theatre in New York Raided and the Performers Locked Up.

For several weeks the American Theatre, originally a Third avenue variety den, has been running a season of what its manager called a sensational drama. The bill was made up of a few variety acts and a dramatic piece de resistance entitled “The Bashful Venus.” Venus was a quaint brazen relic in tights and her satellites were modern in costume and decidedly dramatic in morals. The comedian of this play was a burnt cork artist and of one the objectionable funny situations of his part was his payment of twenty-five cents for a view of the leg of a female artiste or the cast, she raising her skirt half way to the garter and measuring off what she considered twenty-five cents worth of limb.

This was more than even the peelers could stand, so they gave it away to their superiors, feeling justified in their complaint by the fact the limbs exposed were rather scrawny. A bench warrant was issued on the 3d inst. By the District Attorney for the arrest of the proprietor and performers and police captain Ryan made a descent on the establishment when the piquant show was at its height. It was ten o’clock when the police struck the place. The flashy afterpiece was on and the house was packed with a wonder eyed audience of adolescent youths and young boys. The officers came in at the front and rear entrances simultaneously, creating the wildest sort of a panic. A rush was prevented however by Captain Ryan mounting the stage and making a speech, suring the audience that no one of them would be arrested. The officers then took in custody Rich parker, the proprietor of the theatre, Henry Montague, the author of the play and stage manager, and the following artistes who were on the scene at the time of the raid: Carrie Duncan, Author Daly, Harry Lloyd, George Melinott, Susie Layman, Daisy Golden, Gracie Golden, Violet W. Ballard, Nellie Stein, Sophie Donlin, E. S. Goodwin, John Finnerty, R. W. Lucas, G. L Scott, and Daniel Collier.

After the prisoners had been secured the audience was dismissed. The prisoner were marched through the streets in their costumes, followed by a hooting mob, and locked up in the station house over night. The women wept and pleaded to be spared the disgrace of the public parade, but without avail.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, 21 Oct 1882.