No. 424
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
May 27, 2019

Photographed as he Died.

June 24, 2014
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Chapter 2
19th century ivory Ho-tei, via Buddhamuseum.com. Not guaranteed to come with a curse. In 1928, travel writer Charles James Lambert and his wife Marie were visiting Kobe, Japan. While passing the window of a junk shop, a small statue of Ho-tei, the Japanese god of good fortune, happened to catch Mrs. Lambert’s eye. Although the exquisite little figure was obviously very old and made of
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Strange Company - 5/27/2019


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Coming in May! Warps and Wefts is excited to announce the publication of “Dressing Miss Lizzie”, a collection of paper …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 4/23/2019
The last Automat in New York City closed its doors in 1991, and I wish I had the foresight back then to give the hot coffee and much-heralded slices of pie a try. Instead, I’ll have to suffice with memoirs and stories from old-timers, who happily recall the more than 40 Automats scattered across the […]
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Ephemeral New York - 5/26/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Anne C. Chapman went to the First National Bank of Warsaw, Indiana, in September 1880, to cash a check for $300. The cashier did not hesitate; the check was signed by her father, the director of the bank. During the course of business that day, her father came across the check and immediately pronounced the signature a forgery. He reported the crime and had his daughter arrested, refusing to
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Murder by Gaslight - 5/25/2019
Wikileaks published this incident report from the monumental trove of war secrets leaked at incredible personal cost by whistleblower Chelsea Manning. AAA MISSION/OPERATION: IRAQI FREEDOM VI / CJSOTF-AP BBB WHO: MAJOR ABBAS MOHAMMED ARDANI (HADITHAH SWAT CDR) CCC WHAT: ALLEGEDLY TRANSFERRED A HADITHA SWAT PRISONER TO FACILITATE EJK. (MNC-I CCIR #8) DDD WHERE: 38S KC […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 5/26/2019
[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.