No. 512
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
March 02, 2021

Photographed as he Died.

June 24, 2014
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Chapter 2
A Prize FightBetween Clow of Colorado,and Hynds of Wyoming.The Butte Weekly MinerAugust 12, 1885(Click image to enlarge)  OAPY SMITH AS TIME-KEEPER IN RAWLINS, WYOMING.     There are numerous boxing matches in which badman "Soapy" Smith officiated. This is one example I found for a fight taking place at the Opera House in Rawlins, Wyoming, a few days previous to the publishing of the article
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/2/2021


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Surprising news broke tonight of the listing for sale of the popular bed & breakfast, open as a business for …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 1/10/2021
On December 10, 1978, the “Atlanta Constitution” carried a story by reporter Charles Salter where he detailed the very strange goings on in an antebellum mansion.  At the request of the current owners of the home, he did not give the family’s real name, and the location was described only as “a little north Georgia town.”  However, he believed that the source for his story--the lady of the house,
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Strange Company - 3/1/2021

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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ExecutedToday.com - 11/13/2020
 On a road outside of Norristown, Pennsylvania, on October 28, 1896, Frank Mancil and his daughter came upon an agitated man shouting, “Murder! Help!” The man was bleeding from his arm, and, in a buggy nearby, a woman lay prostrate.The man, Charles O. Kaiser, Jr., told Mancil that he and his wife Emma had been attacked by highwaymen who shot them both then left with their watches and her purse
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Murder by Gaslight - 2/27/2021
Most of New York City’s vintage postcards feature beautiful sites of the city itself—not Gotham’s beautiful women. But this turn-of-the-century postcard is a strange exception to the rule. “Pretty girls, pretty girls everywhere, but the New York belles are claimed most fair” reads the caption, with the images of six women, none of whom I […]
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Ephemeral New York - 3/1/2021
[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
Independence Day in the Country. | Scenes from “In the Tenderloin.”

Photographed as he Died.

Suicide

A Well-known photographer of Albany, Vt., Successfully takes a picture of his own suicide.[more]

Miles Pierce, a prominent photographer of Albany, Vt., posed himself in the big plush chair in his gallery with the utmost nicety one day last week. He presented a three-quarters view to the lens of the camera, which was focused upon him at close range. A drop shutter was attached to the instrument and an instantaneous plate was in the holder.

When the photographer had adjusted himself to his liking he picked up a big revolver that lay on a table conveniently near, cocked it and held the muzzle against his temple.

In his left hand he gripped the bulb connecting with the camera.

As the forefinger pf the photographer’s right hand pressed the trigger his left contracted upon the rubber bulb. Simultaneously with the report of the weapon the eye of the camera winked, and that was all. The body of the man collapsed in the red plush chair. The pistol fell with a clatter to the floor, a cloud of white smoke eddied up toward the sklylight and slowly dispersed, and all was silent.

An hour or two later the body of the man was found.

There was the usual wild excitement in the village, the constables were called, and then the coroner. The camera was shoved out of the way. The verdict was suicide by reason of temporary insanity. The real reason is that nobody in Albany wanted to be photographed, and that Miles Pierce had no more money.

The man who had purchased the photographic outfit found the plate in the camera. He had the curiosity to develop it. When the image on the negative sprang into view he was so startled that he let it fall and smashed the glass. It was piece together and a few proofs printed form it. The owner has exhibited them only to a few persons, and will not part with nay. The drop did its work and the picture was recorded the instant when the bullet had pierce the photographers’s skull.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, January 16, 1897.