Monday, March 31, 2014

Protest and Propaganda

“EVERY NEGRO in the South knows that he is under a kind of sentence of death; he does not know when his turn will come, it may never come, but it may also be at any time.” – John Dollard, Caste and Class in a Southern Town, 1937
Protest and Propaganda; W.E.B. Du Bois, the Crisis, and American History, edited by Amy Helene Kirschke & Phillip Luke Sinitiere, 270 pages, 6.125 x 9.25, 32 illus., index, University of Missouri Press 2014

Daniel Coit Gilman, the founder of the oldest university press in the United States (1878) defined the role of the university press role as “to advance knowledge, and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures – but far and wide.” The University of Missouri Press, founded in 1958, has just published a notable example of advanced knowledge diffusion with Protest and Propaganda, W.E.B. Du Bois, The Crisis, and American History containing ten essays by a diverse set of contributors with background in History, African-American Studies, Art History, English, Political Science, Biblical Studies and Communications Arts & Sciences. 

Modern technology allows the reader to augment the essays by online study of archived runs of The Crisis on digital libraries. Copies from the 1910s and 20s can be browsed at HathiTrust and Open Library. Contemporary issues are available at Google Books.

W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was the founder, editor and chief writer of The Crisis; A Record of the Darker Races, a Negro magazine begun November 1, 1910,which made use of “positive propaganda,” verbal and visual, to fight for black civil rights in a white supremacist society. Du Bois guided The Crisis through World War 1 and left the magazine 1n 1934. It was envisioned primarily as a newspaper, also a historical record of the brutal suffering of blacks under Jim Crow, mob violence and lynching.

The Crisis,Vol 10, No 2, June 1915 
The essays speak to a variety of interests including philosophy, propaganda in art and text, the Great War, women’s suffrage, religion, prophecy and The Crisis children’s page. The articles are as follows.

1  W.E.B. Du Bois and Positive Propaganda – A Philosophical Prelude to His Editorship of The Crisis

2  W.E.B. Du Bois as Print Propagandist

3  Art in Crisis during the Du Bois Years

4  “We Return Fighting” – The Great War and African American Women’s Short Fiction

5  W.E.B. Du Bois and The Crisis of Woman Suffrage

6  The Crisis Children’s Page, The Brownies’ Book, and the Fantastic

7  God in Crisis – Race, Class, and Religion in the Harlem Renaissance

8  W.E.B. Du Bois’s Prophetic Propaganda – Religion and The Crisis, 1910-1934

9  The Crisis Cover Girl – Lena Horne, Walter White, and the NAACP’s Representation of African American Femininity

10   The Crisis Responds to Public School Desegregation

A catalog of University of Missouri Press books can be browsed HERE.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Dancing School by Heinrich Kley

Dancing Teacher, Elephant, Crocodile…

Simplicissimus-Bilderbogen, single-sheet comic strips, were regularly published by Albert Langen in his Simplicissimus before World War I. Most of these comic pages were drawn by Thomas Theodor Heine and Olaf Gulbransson. Heinrich Kley (1863-1945), pen-and-ink master, was a frequent contributor to the weekly papers Jugend (1897-1938, 231 times) and Simplicissimus (1908-44, 141 times.) Kley also drew at least one of the Simplicissimus-Bilderbogen. This two-page example was Number 5 and inserted in Volume 16, Number 51, May 18, 1912. Its title ‘Die Tanzschule,’ translates to The Dancing School. The text in rhyme was written by Karl Borromäus Heinrich (b.1884).

[1] front
[2] back

Ein Krokodilweib kokettierte
Mit einem Elefantentier,
Teilweise wohl aus Lust am Flirte —
Doch grösernteils aus Bildungsgier.

Our thanks to the
Simplicissimus Project

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Strange History of Spring-Heeled Jack (2)

1886 — Spring-Heeled Jack, the Terror of London No. 26, by the author of Turnpike Dick, the Star of the Road, London: Charles Fox, 48 numbers

by John Adcock

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” — Shakespeare

“The Antiquary brings his treasures from remote ages and presents them to this; he examines forgotten repositories, calls things back into existence, counteracts the effects of time, collects the dust of departed matter, moulds it into its pristine state, exhibits the figure to view, and imports it with a kind of immortality.” — William Hutton, 1839

“The condition of an Author, is much like that of a Strumpet… and if Reason be required, Why we betake ourselves to so Scandalous a Profession as Whoring or Pamphleteering, the same exclusive Answer will serve us both, viz. that the unhappy circumstances of a Narrow Fortune, hath forc’d us to do that for our Subsistence, which we are much asham’d of.” A Trip to Jamaica, by Ned Ward, 1698

MORNING NEWSPAPERS. In England in 1837 telegraphs and telephones did not exist. Evening reading was mostly done by candlelight. The streets were lit by gas, which could appear quite dim on a misty day. Messages were sent by street-messengers or by the two-penny post, parcels were sent by foot or by coach. The railroads were in operation, but not one route had been completed by 1838. There were seven daily morning newspapers; the circulation leader was the Times, followed by the Morning Chronicle, Morning Post, Morning Herald, Morning Advertiser, and the Public Ledger. Many proprietors published an evening edition as well.

A harried subeditor had to rely on his own gut instinct as to the veracity of the penny-a-liner reports deposited overnight in the newspaper mailbox. Fraudulent reporting was not uncommon in the scribbler’s subculture. The Waterloo Bridge Mystery of early October 1857 is a perfect example; human remains discovered in a carpet bag caused a newspaper sensation. It turned out to be a manufactured hoax by a “well known penny-a-liner,” low in funds during a slow news period.

STEEL JACK. On December 23, 1837, Parliament was prorogued by the Queen to the sixteenth of January. While parliamentary reporters were paid leave through the holiday, the penny-a-liners were left to their own resources. Five slow news days later, on December 28, 1837, the Morning Chronicle reported that “some scoundrel, disguised in a bear-skin, and wearing spring shoes, has been seen jumping to and fro before foot passengers in the neighborhood of Lewisham…”

EFFECTS OF ARISTOCRATIC EXAMPLE. For the last two or three nights several “larks,” as they are called, have been played off at Greenwich, and which are assigned by rumour to certain parties who have recently figured before the public in an unenviable character. Among other pranks these persons demolished a valuable statue placed in the garden of Mr Collins, painter, in Blisset Street. Crackers were also attached to the door of Mr Painter, of No.16, Royal-hill, at midnight, and set fire to, and the noise occasioned by them seriously alarmed the family, who had retired to rest. The fellows, it is stated, next attempted to remove the sign board at the Fox and Hounds, No.8, Royal-hill. It is likewise currently reported that some scoundrel, disguised in a bear-skin, and wearing spring shoes, has been seen jumping to and fro before foot passengers in the neighborhood of Lewisham, and has in one or two instances greatly alarmed females. This feat, it is said, is to decide a wager; he having undertaken to play off these freaks for a number of nights in nine different parishes without being apprehended. A sharp look out, however, is being kept after him, and there is little doubt that he will be the loser. He has been named STEEL JACK by the inhabitants of Lewisham, many of whom are afraid to leave their houses after dark. 

THE MARQUIS OF WATERFORD. The headline could only have referred to the waggeries of Lord Waterford and his drink-sodden companions, Edward Horner Reynard, Sir Frederick Johnstone, the Hon. Mr. Villiers, and Captain Grantham, who lived for perpetrating the drunken ‘larks’ described. Waterford’s drunken exploits in April, 1837 had been reported in all the London newspapers and at the time of the ‘Steel Jack’ report he was said to be residing in London. This newspaper column, which clumsily mixed two separate stories, was to bond Waterford and Spring-Heeled Jack together in the public mind forever. Other than newspaper innuendo no evidence backs up the theory, but I have found another suspect and the evidence against him is much more compelling.



The first section of this story is straightforward enough, with dates and addresses, but the second part contains no facts that can be checked. In fact it merely resuscitates the old story reported in the New Times (London) on January 16, 1826, under the heading REMARKABLE GHOST, wherein the ghost, clad in steel armour and a pair of spring boots vaulted over a ten-foot wall. That report was superseded by the account in Pierce Egan’s Life in London in 1825 which reported on the New Hammersmith Ghost who was supposedly a nobleman’s son who carried on his pranks for a wager. The ‘steel’ in ‘Steel Jack’ reflected the ghost’s appearance in armour. The writer had a long memory.

THE SUBEDITOR. The most important job on a daily newspaper like the Morning Chronicle, where Steel Jack made his debut, belonged to the subeditor, “the real heart and centre of the great machine whose influence is felt all over England.” The tasks of the subeditor began about seven o’clock in the evening and ended when the newspaper was “put to bed” between four and five o’clock in the morning, for “midnight is the noon of the daily paper office.”

he it is who knows the night before what the paper of the next morning is going to contain; who decides whether the ‘copy’ which poor Flimsy the penny-a-liner has dropped into the box with fear and trembling an hour before, shall be accepted and paid for, or flung carelessly into the wastebasket; who writes the short, stinging notes at the end of letters of disagreeable or wearisome correspondents… who compiles the readable summaries of the day’s news… and under whose direction the whole of that vast array of close reading, the law reports, accounts of meetings, accidents, ceremonies, and races, letters from foreign correspondents, and miscellaneous items of information which made up the bulk of every modern newspaper, are gathered together, condensed, digested, and arranged…” ‘Scissors and Paste’, in Chambers’s Journal No. 207, December 14, 1867

FLIMSY. In order to make up five or six copies the penny-a-line author used a ‘flimsy’ made of silver paper and lined with oiled tissue, which was written on once with a stylus made of polished agate or ivory. Flimsy was greasy to the touch and subeditors frequently resorted to hand-washing during a shift. The subeditor was also responsible for trimming the verbosity of the liners ramblings from a column to a few lines. The liner’s long-winded ‘English’ was adopted in order to receive as large a price for the copy as possible. “On an average not one-tenth of the mass of ‘flimsy’ manuscripts received every night by the subeditors of the morning papers is accepted and printed.”




The major news departments consisted of six departments although the employees sometimes worked for more than one department. The typographical department was made up of about sixty compositors, the commercial department handled supplies, advertising, management and accounts, and the reporting department was made up of parliamentary reporters, police reporters, and penny-a-liners. Foreign correspondents had a department to themselves and it was one of the most expensive to manage. The Editorial department included editors, subeditors, and authors of leaders, articles on fine arts, literature, and drama. The sixth department was general, consisting of day and night porters, messengers, assistants, couriers employed on Foreign Service and labourers.

SENSATIONAL STORIES. Searches through all issues of that week show that sensational unsubstantiated stories like that of Steel Jack were not commonly printed by the Morning Chronicle. Thursday’s paper ran to four pages. Six cases of crime were brought before the courts, a few drunks, a case of bigamy, one burglar, an embezzler, an assault, and the capture of a smuggling vessel on the Thames River. Friday’s edition featured another four pages with coverage of five petty crimes ranging from shoplifting to forgery. There was no follow-up to the Steel Jack story or the aristocratic pranksters on Friday or Saturday and the Morning Chronicle didn’t publish on the last day of the year, Sunday, December 31, 1837.

So near the end of December 1837, a strange being, known as ‘Steel Jack,’ later to be dubbed ‘Spring-Heeled Jack,’ was reported to be haunting the suburbs of London alarming females. The first mention, in the Morning Chronicle, tossed ‘Steel Jack’ off as an afterthought to a notice of pranks known to be played by the sporting gentry. The West Kent Guardian reprinted the Morning Chronicle column on December 30, 1837. On January 6, 1838, the Guardian published another scoffing account under the headline ‘Spring Jack.’ He was to be seen “day and night, at the corner of every lane, street, and road…”

THE MORNING CHRONICLE. The Morning Chronicle was a Liberal newspaper owned by Sir John Easthope, a stockbroker, and two others, Simon McGillivray, and James Duncan. The editor was John Black. The Morning Chronicle branched off with an evening paper titled the Evening Chronicle on January 31, 1835. The subeditor of the Morning Chronicle on December 23, 1837 was John Payne Collier, Shakespearean scholar, antiquarian, barrister, and parliamentary reporter.

…the premier literary scholar in London…
JOHN PAYNE COLLIER. John Payne Collier (1789-1883) was born January 11, 1879, the year of French Revolution. He was a research scholar who contributed to the publications of the Camden Society, the Percy Society, and the Shakespeare Society. The Percy Society collected ballads, songs, plays, and popular literature of ancient times. By 1850 J.P. Collier was celebrated as the premier literary scholar in London.

John Dyer Collier, his father, worked as a penny-a-liner filling the columns of periodicals and newspapers. He was the editor of The Monthly Register in 1802 The prosperity of the family had its ups and downs moneywise but the family home was host to Henry Crabb Robinson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb, and William Hazlitt as well as John Dyer’s colleagues in newspaper journalism. The boy John Payne helped keep the family by colouring engravings (possibly for the Cruikshank family manufactory) and at fifteen, after mastering shorthand, joined his father as a penny-a-liner. Old Dyer was hired by The Times and Payne became his paid assistant aged fifteen (1805). He learned his journalism firsthand from parliamentary and police reporters and counted among his friends Charles Dickens, George Cruikshank and Thomas Hood. 

ANTIQUARIAN BOOKS. It was then he had his first introduction to antiquarian books in the bookshop of Thomas Rodd, a friend of John Dyer’s. Seven years later (1812) the young journalist left The Times for the Morning Chronicle. Three years later (1815) he was back at The Times as Parliamentary reporter. He was dismissed mid-1823 by Thomas Barnes and returned to the Morning Chronicle until 1847. He was the subeditor of the Morning Chronicle from October 16, 1837, until May 1838 when he was replaced by Thomas Fraser. By 1850 John Payne Collier was celebrated as the premier literary scholar in London.

THE OLD CORRECTOR. On January 31, 1852, in The Athenaeum, Collier announced a startling find, a Shakespeare Second Folio dated 1632 corrected by a mid-seventeenth century hand. It became known as the ‘Perkins folio’ based on an owner’s inscription on the cover and was published in one volume in 1853 and in six volumes in 1858. Collier blundered by presenting the original annotated manuscript to the duke of Devonshire in 1853. The manuscript was then loaned to the British Museum in May 1859 where it was carefully examined by Frederic Madden, keeper of manuscripts, assisted by N.E.S.A. Hamilton and Nevil Maskelyne. John Payne Collier’s sterling reputation would come crashing down in July 1859 when Hamilton published the results of his examination of the folio in The Times.

“It turned out that the old corrector was a modern myth. He had first made his corrections in pencil, and in a modern hand, and then he had copied them over in ink, and in a forged ancient hand. The same word sometimes recurred in both handwritings. The ink, which looked old, was really no English ink at all, not even Ireland’s mixture. It seemed to be sepia, sometimes mixed with a little Indian ink.” ‘Literary Forgeries,’ in Books and Bookmen, Andrew Lang, 1886 

FABRICATIONS. It is now well known that his literary fabrications go back as far as 1831 with the publication of a History of English Dramatic Poetry and Annals of the Stage, in which according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography “fabrications of historical evidence and documentary text are interspersed in an otherwise meticulous and original scholarly work.”



FACT. J.P. Collier was working for The Times on December 7, 1809, when they published the account of the man with the curry comb headlined MONSTER.

FACT. J.P. Collier was a reporter on the Morning Chronicle on December 31, 1824, when an account was published under the headline THE HAMMERSMITH MONSTER (not the first account, which was THE NEW HAMMERSMITH GHOST – December 12, 1824 – published in Pierce Egan’s Life in London).

FACT. J.P. Collier was a parliamentary Reporter on the Times on December 13, 1833 (RESUSCITATION OF THE HAMMERSMITH GHOST).

FACT. J.P. Collier was the subeditor on the Morning Chronicle on December 28, 1837 (EFFECTS OF ARISTOCRATIC EXAMPLE). Collier had been employed as subeditor on October 16, 1837, replacing Charles Mackay. In 1839 Collier was demoted from subeditor to reporter.

FACT. J.P. Collier, like many other prominent literary figures, started his career as a penny-a-liner, a free-lance newspaper reporter. Although he claimed “I never engaged but with The Times and Chronicle, and my work for country newspapers was both political and literary – comments and criticisms,” it seems most likely that he supplemented his income with penny-a-line contributions to a variety of newspapers. In his Old Man’s Diary Collier did confess to writing for the Morning Herald. It’s not impossible that he had contributed the majority of early Monster reports to six newspapers at a time. Curiously Steel Jack and his predecessors almost always made their appearance in newspaper columns in the month of December when Parliament was prorogued, a slow news time of year.

FACT. J.P. Collier was well-acquainted with Joseph Haslewood, the man who purchased the pamphlet The Wonder of Suffolk (1677) from the auction of George Nassau’s collection in 1824. He may also have examined the Earl of Oxford copy that was bequeathed to the Bodleian Library in 1814. If anyone in England was familiar with The Wonder of Suffolk it would have been Collier, who had access to every major antiquarian collection of broadsheets and pamphlets in England. (See my previous post on Spring-Heeled Jack HERE).

None of these facts are decisive however. Collier may have been an innocent bystander to the events of 1809, 1824, 1833 and 1837 but he is a more plausible suspect than the “Mad Marquis” of Waterford ever was. If Collier was in fact the perpetrator of all these newspaper columns he was the first to portray the MONSTER with claws, the first to mention the wearing of armour, the first to document the spitting of flames, and the first to describe the wearing of spring-heeled shoes. 

NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT. John Payne Collier, the 19th century’s most notorious fraud, forger and hoaxer, was the subeditor responsible for giving the okay to the ‘Steel Jack’ report published on December 28, 1837, in the Morning Chronicle, and that may not have been his last contribution to the myth of ‘SPRING-HEELED JACK.’

[ To be continued in our next — ]


Mike Dash (compiler of the indispensable 
Calendar of Sources, 1996), 
David Clarke, Paul Chambers, 
Theo Paijmans, Mike Davis, Petr Janacek  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wilhelm Schulz in Simplicissimus, Munich

1 [1907, Jan 21] Michel, wake up! (Michel, wach auf!), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 43, Vol. 11, p.685

ARTIST Wilhelm Schulz (1865-1952), of Lüneburg, Germany, was a contributor to Simplicissimus almost from the start on April 4, 1896. His first of nearly 2500 contributions was in issue number 5 of May 2. Simplicissimus was a prominent satirical weekly founded in Munich by its publisher Albert Langen (1869-1909) and artist Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948).  

It started only months after a similar German paper was launched in January with the title Jugend that sparked the name Jugendstil (from Jugend: youth + Stil: style); a paper published by Georg Hirth (1841-1916) and first introduced as ‘Münchner illustrierte Wochenschrift für Kunst und Leben’ (Munich illustrated weekly for Art and Life). A vital ingredient in both Jugend and Simplicissimus was exciting graphic art, including comics art.

2 [1896, Oct 31] To no avail (Umsonst), Wilhelm Schulz strip, full backpage of Simplicissimus 31, Vol. 1, p.8
3 [1897, Jan 9] Guardian angel Aegir (Schutzengel Aegir), Wilhelm Schulz strip, full page in Simplicissimus 41, Vol. 1, p.4
4 [1898, Jul 30] The boat trip (Die Bootpartie), Wilhelm Schulz strip, full page in Simplicissimus 18, Vol. 3, p.141
5 [1902, May 20] In the Wood (Im Wald), Wilhelm Schulz drawing and poem, full page of Simplicissimus 8, Vol. 7, p.61
6 [1904, Dec 20] Christmas in Asia (Weinachten in Ostasien), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 39, Vol. 9, p.381
7 [1913, Nov 24] From the north country (Aus der Nordmark), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 35, Vol. 18, p.569. On the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.
8 [1917, Jan 2] Panic in the munition trade (Panik im Munitionsgeschäft), Wilhelm Schulz, full page of Simplicissimus 40, Vol. 21, p.508. Uncle Sam deals with Death.
9 [1917, Nov 13] In the Land of Freedom (Im Lande der Freiheit), Wilhelm Schulz, full page of Simplicissimus 33, Vol. 22, p.416
10 [1919, Dec 10] The Board of Inquiry (Der Untersuchungsausschuß), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 37, Vol. 24, p.521
11 [1920, Oct 13] The Paper Flood (Die Papiersintflut), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 29, Vol. 25, p.377
12 [1920, Dec 15] Beethoven, Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 38, Vol. 25, p.501
13 [1920, Dec 22] German Christmas (Deutsche Weihnacht), Wilhelm Schulz cover of Simplicissimus 39, Vol. 25, p.517

The first Simplicissimus ran from April 1896 to September 1944. It was revived under the abbreviated title Der Simpl in 1946-50 (subtitle: ‘Kunst - Karikatur - Kritik’), and then as Simplicissimus again, by illustrator Olaf Iverson, in a final series that lasted from 1954 until 1967. Jugend ran from 1896 to 1940.


Our thanks to Eckart Sackmann

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seven Men Who Draw Funny Pictures –

August 28, 1919
Seven Men Who Draw Funny Pictures
The Literary Digest, August 14, 1920

The Bookseller and Stationer, April 1, 1921
April 2, 1920

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Le Petit Moniteur’s affiches

[1] 1874, for L’Ogresse written by Paul Féval.
Le Petit Moniteur was founded in 1869 by Léo Lespès, known as Timothée Trimm, along with printers Pointel and Dalloz. The weekly paper reportedly reached a circulation of 300,000 by February 1870. It was one of the favorite organs of the working-classes, due mostly to its low price but also to the quality of its feuilletons or serials and Timothée Trimm’s popularity. 

Colorful affiches or posters – typeset, wood engraved, lithographic – were utilized to advertise serials in Paris kiosks and on wall hoardings.

[2] 1875, for Les Mystères du Nouveau Paris written by Fortuné du Boisgobey. The Paris coach is driven by a batman.
[3] 1876, title page of L’Omnibus du Diable written by Fortuné du Boisgobey.
[4] 1876, Recent publications of É. Dentu, Editeur in Paris.
[5] c.1875, for Les Voleurs du Grand Monde written by Ponson du Terrail.
[6] 1870, for Séquestre written by Elie Berthet.
[7] 1873, poster Who Was It? The Iron Mask.
[8] 1880, for La Déesse Raison written by Alph. Brot & Saint-Véran.
[9] 1881, for Le Cochon d’Or written by Fortuné du Boisgobey.
[10] 1875, Le Petit Moniteur (the little monitor), ‘A Million Readers’ poster.
[11] c.1885, for Les Cravates Blanches written by Adolphe Belot.
[12] c.1875, for Les Voleurs du Grand Monde written by Ponson du Terrail.

All images courtesy Gallica

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Strange History of Spring-Heeled Jack

[1] 1886 — Spring-Heeled Jack, the Terror of London No. 37, by the author of Turnpike Dick, the Star of the Road, London: Charles Fox, 48 numbers

by John Adcock

“The greater the crime, the larger the woodcut.” ‘Nothing Like Example,’ in All the Year Round, May 30, 1868
“If you pour over the works of Shakespeare, you can learn much about the workings of the great artistic mind; if you wish to be better informed about the “spirit of the age,” you turn to the minors, to the grub-street hack, to the garret boy who can yark up a pamphlet in a couple of hours and can get together with four others of his kind to knock out a quickie topical play about the latest scandal or murder.” — John Crow, in his Introduction to the second edition of The English Novel 1740-1850 by Andrew Block, 1961

TODAY, 176 years after Spring-Heeled Jack was first given an identity by an anonymous newspaper reporter, the only facts we have about the ‘Suburban Ghost’ are found in contemporary penny-a-liner reports, the reported Mansion-House letters, and second-hand speculation in various histories and reminiscences. In most cases researchers have taken newspaper accounts at face value, and assumed that Victorian newspapers, like the modern press, had stringent fact-checking apparatus in place to ensure the veracity of their reports.

POLICE REPORTS. In fact journalistic standards as we understand them today did not then exist. John Black, then editor of the Morning Chronicle for twenty three years, stated in 1843 that:

“…as to the police reports, we get them from a channel not the very best frequently. In some Courts we station reporters of our own; but in many other cases the reports are supplied by men who volunteer, the penny-a-liners, as we call them; men who send reports to all the different newspapers. Two or three different individuals will send a report, and we will take what we think best. Our only check over these individuals is to refuse to take the copy if they do not state the thing fairly.”

[2] 1677 — ‘The WONDER of Suffolk’ pamphlet

IN 1824 an auction “catalogue of the choice, curious, and extensive library of the late George Nassau” was published. Item no 1176 was a pamphlet which bore the extraordinary title The WONDER of Suffolk; Being a TRUE RELATION; Of one that Reports he Made a League with the DEVIL for Three years to do Mischief; And now breaks open houses, robs people daily, destroys Cattel before the owners faces, strips women naked, &c. and can neither be Shot nor Taken; but leaps over walls fifteen foot high, runs five or six miles in a quarter of an hour, and sometimes vanishes in the midst of multitudes that go to take him.

MANUSCRIPT. The manuscript was “Faithfully written in a Letter from a Sober person, dated not long since, to a friend in Ship yard near Temple Bar, and ready to be attested by hundreds that have been Spectators of, or Sufferers by his Exploits, in several parts of Suffolk. London: Printed for D.M. 1677.”

ANNOTATION. An annotation in the auction catalogue shows that the The WONDER of Suffolk pamphlet was sold to a man named Hazlewood for 17 shillings. This was probably a misspelling of Joseph Haslewood (1769-1833), an English writer, antiquary and one of the eighteen members who first met at dinner at the St. Albans Tavern on 17 June 1812, forming themselves into the Roxburghe Clubthe oldest society of bibliophiles in the worldA catalogue from 1743 notes a copy had belonged to the “library of the late Earl of Oxford.” Aubrey de Vere (1627-1703) was the 20th and last Earl of Oxford. This, or another copy, was bequeathed to the Bodleian Library in 1814 and resides there to this day.

[3] — Ballad-seller, copy after Inigo Jones

THE STORY is related by a man just returned to England from an ocean voyage and concerns “a person of a very loose life and Conversation” who, while serving time in Gaol made league with the devil to do what mischief he pleased for three years with impunity. Escaping from prison he begins a life of robbery, cattle-stealing, and stripping women he meets, leaving them tied naked to trees. 

His main ‘residence’ is the woods although he also spends nights in alehouses drinking beer which he lawfully pays for. It proves impossible to bring the miscreant to justice – he has a strange habit of vanishing – sometimes by leaping over brick walls 10 or 15 foot high. He seems impervious to bullets. He is aware that his destiny is the gallows but part of his pact with the devil calls for him to first kill a woman heavy with child.

The manuscript is signed:
June 10, 1677.

ANOTHER earlier wonder pamphlet “printed for D.M. in London” was titled God’s dreadful judgement upon an eminent person in the Upper Lorain who was wonderfully transformed into a dog; Attested in a letter to a friend, by one Richard Mare, who was an eye-witness thereof; and is a present a lodger in the house of Mr Lyncol a grocer in St. Alban-street. With permission, and signed and dated at end: the third of August, 1675, Richard Mare.

[4] — Roger L’Estrange portrayed

NO D.M. can be found in available 17th-century printer’s lists. However, D.M.’s most prolific contributor of pamphlets was the notorious Roger L’Estrange (1616-1704, sentenced to death for spying, acquitted and later knighted), who began as a royalist pamphleteer, spent time in Newgate, and switched allegiances. He became the publisher of one of the earliest of British newspapers, the Public Intelligencer, which first appeared Monday, August 31, 1663 and ran until January 19, 1665. L’Estrange’s D.M. pamphlets were mostly coverage of criminal trials and executions.

REAL OR IMAGINED ghosts were popular fare in the broad-sheets and pamphlets of the seventeenth century. There was The Tyburn Ghost of 1678, Father Whitebread’s Walking Ghost — “which lately appeared to a Cabal of Jesuits in Drury-lane” in 1679 —, the Cock Lane Ghost in 1762, and the Portsmouth Ghost of 1770. Devils and soul-wagers too, as in Strange and Terrible News from Shoreditch, of a Woman that has sold herself to the Devil, Living in Badger-Alley, 1674.

[5] 1926 — HAMMERSMITH GHOST, Newgate Calendar

CURRY-COMB. The Annual Register and the Newgate Calendar carried accounts of the Hammersmith Ghost of 1804, who dressed “sometimes in white and sometimes in the skin of some wild beast.” On December 7, 1809 The Times printed a story which echoed that of the Wonder of Suffolk:

MONSTER— The vicinity of Croydon, in Surrey, has been alarmed, for this past fortnight, by an inhuman wretch, who sallies out at night, in a black mask, a dark-coloured cloak, and military boots, with long spurs. He is a tall stout made man. His practice is to attack all women whom he meets. Having let the object pass, he turns round, and, seizing her by the shoulders, he shakes and pinches her in a violent manner. He concludes the brutal assault, by passing her clothes over her head, and tearing her person with a curry-comb; sometimes his spurs are applied to the same cruel and inhuman purpose. Should he perceive any person coming to the assistance of his victim, he makes off, and leaps over park palings, or walls of extraordinary height, with the greatest ease.

By his strength and agility he has hitherto evaded his pursuers. Upwards of 50 persons have been most seriously ill-treated by this monster; amongst which is Mrs Wildgoose, the wife of a respectable gentleman at Croydon; she now lies dangerously ill from the treatment she has received. Also the ostler at the Hare and Hounds, at Wadding, whom he mistook for a woman, owing to the darkness of the night, and whom he caught hold of, and, finding his mistake, threw the poor man into a deep ditch. The inhabitants are taking every means to discover the monster’s retreat; numerous parties were out last night in search of him. The terror is so great among the females of the vicinity of Croydon, that not a woman is to be seen out of doors after dusk.

[6] 1890 — Metal curry-comb used for grooming horses
In the ‘man with the curry-comb’ we find a close parallel with both ‘the Suffolk wonder’ and the later sprees of Spring-Heeled Jack. The curry-comb, used to groom horses, would be replaced by Jack’s claws, and he makes his escapes by “leaps over park palings, or walls of extraordinary height, with the greatest ease.” Among his fifty victims was one Mrs. Wildgoose. The complaint that “not a woman is to be seen out of doors after dusk” was to come up again in many SHJ newspaper reports.

THE PRETENDER GHOST had a long history in England. The Annual Register for March 4, 1761, had an account of a ‘pretender ghost’ who was “wrapped up in a large white sheet with the corners hanging over his head in imitation of feathers.”

[7] 1800 — Hammersmith Mall
The Hammersmith Ghost of 1804 was very similar to the later Spring-Heeled Jack, “its dress has been described as sometimes in white and sometimes as if in the skin of some beast.” The dark lanes and lonely country roads of England were haunted by black dogs and spectral coaches with headless coachmen. The Spring-Heeled Jack of 1837-38 was different, a city bogle that first haunted the suburbs and eventually went knocking on doors in the metropolis itself, flashing his red eyes and spitting flames in the faces of terrified home-owners.

GHOST OR MONSTER. The original Hammersmith Ghost story was resurrected and improved upon in 1824 when the ‘New Hammersmith Ghost,’ also known as the ‘Hammersmith Monster,’ was clawing people in the lanes. The Monster’s first appearance was under the headline “The New Hammersmith Ghost” in Pierce Egan’s Life in London newspaper, on December 12, 1824: 

THE NEW HAMMERSMITH GHOST:  This adventurer still continues to infest Hammersmith and its neighbourhood, particularly the lanes leading to the Malls, and to alarm some of its inhabitants. After having somewhat seriously alarmed the young woman living at the Angel public-house, in Hammersmith, as she was passing up Angel-lane, the “Ghost” kept quiet for several nights.
The outrageous character of that attack aroused the indignation of some inhabitants, who resolved to watch for the Ghost, and, if possible, to treat the ghostly representative with a ducking in the River Thames, as the “witches” of old were treated in the horse-pond, &c., in order to ascertain the divine character of their mission. After some nights’ respite, the Ghost revisited the “glimpses of the moon,” but adopted a new scene for his exploits, appearing in the lanes connecting Hammersmith with Chiswick.

One such evening, Wednesday night last, there were no fewer than twelve persons – a species of “Jury” or “Inquest” – on the watch for the Ghost! On Friday night the “Ghost” again appeared in Angel-lane! The frights to which the poor girl belonging to the Angel public-house had been subjected, has excited a very strong feeling in her favour; so much so, that if, in the course of the evening, she had any occasion to go up the lane, she was almost sure to be accompanied by some of the neighbours.
On the night in question, an honest, hard-working woman of the name of Chambers went with the young woman up the lane; and for the purpose of making some call, she had only left the young woman about two minutes when the “Ghost” appeared, several times crossing her path!
The figure was in completely white costume for some time, and then it suddenly changed into black. This induces the persons who are on the watch for the Ghost to infer that the ghostly dress is black on the one side and white on the other – a large mantle and hood, for instance, of such character – so that it can be almost instantaneously changed turned or changed, the black outside being such as not likely to attract particular attention.
The last fright to the servant engaged at the Angel public-house was more serious than the former; she was got home with difficulty, and was afterwards in almost continual fits for four hours. From divers circumstances connected with her situation, this young woman is deemed to be a particular object the Ghost’s attack.
 However, the brutal character of those attacks, the effects on the young woman, and the circumstance of her having narrowly escaped being run over by a waggon some weeks ago, have excited very active sympathy in her favour. It will be a clever “Ghost” if it escapes all the plans formed to “lay” it; but, be that as it may, it is melancholy to think that, for the sake of “practical jokes,” so much injury to females can be risked by one in the form of man. On the gates of a very harmless, but eccentric Gentleman’s house in Hammersmith, there has been written, “The Ghost lives here!”
It may have been only coincidence, but 1824 was the year the George Nassau edition of The WONDER of Suffolk resurfaced at auction and passed into the hands of Joseph Haslewood.

PIERCE EGAN was the well-known author of Life in London; or, the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis (1820), which introduced the characters of Tom and Jerry to the world. Egan was a master printer and self-described “scribbler,” held in high esteem by the boxing crowd for ‘Boxiana, or, Sketches of ancient and modern pugilism, from the days of the renowned Broughton and Slack to the heroes of the present milling era’ (by ‘One of the Fancy).

[8] 1839 — Hammersmith Mall
The second newspaper report on the New Hammersmith Ghost appeared in the Morning Chronicle on December 31, 1824, renamed:

Such has been this personage’s conduct of late, that he now has got the name of “Monster”, instead of that comparatively more harmless one of the “new” Hammersmith Ghost. Not content with frightening women in lampless lanes, a sufficiently cowardly and cruel proceeding, he now rarely quits the terrified objects who may happen to come in his way without scratching or seriously wounding them.
The indignation that has been hence produced amongst the inhabitants may be imagined, but it is hardly possible to conceive how much alarm is occasioned among the females of the neighbourhood. Several women have been so alarmed as to have be seriously ill with fits, &c., for many days afterwards; others have been scratched or torn in the face, as if with hooks; and all are no little alarmed to go out after dark, except along the main road, even with protectors.
Two or three nights ago, the monster made his appearance at Bradmore, which is at the back of Hammersmith, and leading to Shepherds’ Bush. It is open to the fields, many open paths leading to it; but as there are no lamps, any person may soon be lost in the surrounding darkness, and elude the most vigilant pursuit, by means of the different lanes and paths. 

He went to a small house kept by a gardener, named White, opening the front door by lifting the latch. The wife was there — the front parlour being a species of chandler’s shop — and she was not a little affrighted to behold in the door-way a strange and “ghostly” dressed figure, with a large ugly mask and glaring eye-balls. — Some flame was then emitted, after which the Ghost exclaimed “Good night, farewell!” and decamped with supernatural rapidity, according to the woman’s disordered observation.
The Ghost afterwards came into contact with a man, and extended the arms and caught the poor man’s cheek, as if with some hooked instrument fastened on the fingers, and then scampered off swiftly enough. 

Suspicion has been directed to a crazy sort of person, who ostentatiously amuses himself with chalking on the gates and doors about Hammersmith divers gloomy sentences, such as “Be ye ready!” “Prepare to die!” “Your end is near!” “Ye are all lost sinners” &c. only he is said to be an aged person, and the “Monster” has much activity. Many sums have been offered for the Monster’s apprehension, especially by persons on the Upper Mall, that being a favourite haunt, and several stout persons are regularly on the look-out.

FIRST REPORT. The first report (12 Dec 1824) in Egan’s newspaper described a ghost whose “figure was in completely white costume for some time, and then it suddenly changed into black.” The Morning Chronicle description is much more elaborate. The Hammersmith Monster now wears a mask, has glaring eyeballs, slashes faces with a hooked instrument, and emits flame from his mouth. Egan’s last report mentions a rumor that the Ghost had been seized in Kensington and “discovered to be a Nobleman’s son” who had wagered that he would “walk as a ghost” for a certain number of nights without being caught. The notion of a wager would surface again in the days of Spring-Heeled Jack.

[9] 1825 — THE NEW HAMMERSMITH GHOST, Pierce Egan’s Life in London, January 25

MONSTER CAUGHT. The Hammersmith Monster was reported to have been caught (Bell’s Weekly Messenger, Feb 20, 1825) and revealed as a farmer and hay salesman named John Benjamin. Paul Chambers research into the session rolls has failed to turn up any evidence that John Benjamin was ever tried which suggests this was probably a facetious penny-a-liner report. John Benjamin may have been invented by the imaginative author, a man old enough to recall the furore over the Hammersmith Ghost and the Man with the Curry Comb. In Pierce Egan’s role of a penny-a-liner he covered boxing and sports for other newspapers than his own, among them, Bell’s Weekly Messenger. Egan’s wife Catherine also contributed flimsy to Bell’s

On January 16, 1826, the London New Times reported:

REMARKABLE GHOST:  NEWPORT (ISLE OF WIGHT) JAN 14.—The person who has been exhibiting himself with a mask, &c., at Southampton and Lymington, has reached the Island, and is making his terrific appearance, almost nightly, on the Mall, near this town, which has caused great consternation, and been the means of frightening into fits several persons, who are, in consequence, lying dangerously ill. He has also been playing off his pranks at other little villages near. He has been shot at by two or three individuals, but is found to be invulnerable, being enveloped, it is said, in steel armour, and a pair of spring boots; the latter of which are so constructed to allow him, with a little exertion, to vault over a ten-foot wall.

HIS GHOSTSHIP. For a short period in 1833, seven years later, ‘his ghostship’ was back, attacking females in Hammersmith, Acton and Chiswick-lane (The Times, Dec 13, 1833) Judging by the shortage of newspaper coverage, this attempt at resurrecting the ghost was an abysmal failure:

RESUSCITATION OF THE HAMMERSMITH GHOST:  It is in the recollection of most of our readers that about eight years since much excitement was created by a report that a ghost had appeared to a number of persons in the neighbourhood of Hammersmith, Fulham, &c., several of whom, more particularly females, against whom he appeared to have a great animosity, had been much frightened and ill-treated by him. 

After continuing his freaks for some time, he became so troublesome that the parochial authorities adopted measures for his apprehension, and after watching for him for some nights he was taken in one of the lanes attired in full ghostly costume, and was sent by the magistrate to the House of Correction to undergo a little wholesome discipline for his pranks. 

Since that time nothing had been heard of his ghostship until about six weeks ago, when he reappeared in a lane at North End, and it is reported that he has been seen subsequently in Webb’s-lane, Hammersmith, and Acton, but the principal scene of his adventures is stated to be the mud huts in Chiswick-lane, and that the servant of a Mr. Scott was attacked by him there, his assaults, as before, being directed against females. 

On Saturday night last it was currently reported that he had been taken by the police at Acton, attired in a large white dress, with long nails or claws, by which he was enabled to scale walls and hedges for the purpose of making himself scarce when requisite; and that when brought to the station-house he proved to be a celebrated captain of the sporting notoriety. 

Several of the inhabitants attended the Hammersmith, &c., petty sessions on Monday, in the hope of obtaining an audience of the spiritual incognito, when it was found that the statement of his apprehension was premature. Another report states him to be dressed in armour, and that he has laid a wager that he will strip the clothes off a certain number of females in a given time, and that he has only one more to strip to win the bet. It is to be hoped that the police will put a stop to the pranks of his ghostship previous to his completing his task, that he may receive a proper reward for his exertions.

CELEBRATED. ‘Celebrated’ was the Victorian term used to refer to the ‘famous.’ The ‘celebrated captain’ of the newspaper report might have been a reference to Pierce Egan (1772-1849) who was the most famous sporting celebrity of the period. By 1826 Pierce Pierce Egan's Life in London and Sporting Guide was in trouble and in 1827 was incorporated with Bell’s Life in London. As noted Egan was an industrious penny-a-liner contributor to the newspapers. Perhaps a fellow liner was having a bit of fun at his expense.

In 1832 the three daily stamped newspapers with the highest circulation were The Times, the Morning Herald and the Morning Chronicle. The Times journalists, under editors Barnes and Murray, included Foreign correspondents, Parliamentary reporters, and Police reporters. Mr. Archbold covered the criminal courts at Bow Street; Mr. Smith at Queen’s Square; Mr. E. Haynes, “an officer on half pay,” oversaw the Union Hall, and Mr. T. Haynes, “an Irishman rising six feet, a scholar and a gentleman,” took the Mansion House. At a time when Moore, the poet, made £500 a year from the Times, and no expense was considered too much for the salaried reporters, the Times paid casual reporters three half-pence a line. By 1868 the Times had only twelve police reporters, frequently young barristers, on salary.

[10] 1903 — SPRING-HEELED JACK, from a pamphlet of 1838, reproduced in Gossip in the First Decade of Victoria’s Reign by John Ashton 
The National Standard, owned and partly written by W.M. Thackeray, had a facetiously written piece on 14 December 1833. After a Bell’s New Weekly Messenger report on December 29, 1833, no further newspaper columns appeared on the 1833 “resuscitation.” 

STEEL JACK OR SPRING-HEELED JACK. The ghost would return in 1837-38, first named Steel Jack, “disguised in a bear-skin, and wearing spring-shoes,” but soon evolving into Spring-Heeled Jack, the name we know him by today.

[ To be continued in our next — ]


Mike Dash (compiler of the indispensable 
Calendar of Sources, 1996), 
David Clarke, Paul Chambers, 
Theo Paijmans, Mike Davis, Petr Janacek