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Monthly Archives: October 2011

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: bracelets

bracelets – handcuffs. Sources Barrère, Albert and Charles G. Leland. A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant. [London]: The Ballantyne Press, 1889. Farmer, John S. and W. E. Henley. A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English. Abridged from Slang and Its Analogues. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1912. London Antiquary, A [Hotten, John Camden]. A […]

Early American Criminals: Owen Syllavan’s Bunker

After one week, hunger finally drove Owen Syllavan out of his hiding place in the Connecticut woods and forced him to seek refuge with an acquaintance. Syllavan cut open a plank in the floor of his friend’s house, dug a large cavity that went under the hearth of the fireplace, and rigged a vent so […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: bowsprit

bowsprit – a nose. bowsprit in parentheses – a pulled nose. From the nose being the front-most part of the face, as the bowsprit is of a ship. Sources Barrère, Albert and Charles G. Leland. A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant. [London]: The Ballantyne Press, 1889. Grose, Francis and Egan Pierce. Grose’s Classical Dictionary […]

Crime and Prison Songs: “Prisoner’s Song”

In 1924, Vernon Dalhart, a classically trained light opera singer, had some success recording a song, “The Wreck On The Southern Old 97,” for the Edison Company, but believed that he could get wider distribution if he recorded it with Victor. The recording executives at Victor agreed, but they needed a song for the […]