The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and by Stephen Duncombe

By Stephen Duncombe

Ripped instantly from the headlines of the Jazz Age, The Bobbed Haired Bandit is a story of flappers and quick vehicles, of intercourse and morality. within the spring of 1924, a negative, 19-year-old laundress from Brooklyn robbed a string of recent York grocery shops with a “baby automatic,” a fur coat, and a stylish bobbed hairdo. Celia Cooney’s crimes made nationwide information, with the likes of Ring Lardner and Walter Lippman writing approximately her exploits for enthralled readers.

The Bobbed Haired Bandit brings to existence a global of significant wealth and poverty, of Prohibition and sophistication clash. along with her husband Ed at her aspect, Celia raised herself from a lifetime of drudgery to develop into a star in her personal pulp-fiction novel, a task she consciously cultivated. She additionally introduced the biggest manhunt in manhattan City's heritage, humiliating the police with bold crimes and taunting notes.

Sifting via conflicting bills, Stephen Duncombe and Andrew Mattson convey how Celia's tale used to be used to give an explanation for the realm, to salary cultural battles, to extra political curiosity, and specifically, to promote newspapers. To progressives, she used to be an instance of what occurs whilst a neighborhood does not safeguard its little ones. To conservatives, she symbolized a permissive society that gave an excessive amount of freedom to the younger, bad, and feminine. those competing tales distill the tensions of the time.

In a gripping account that reads like a detective serial, Duncombe and Mattson have culled newspaper studies, courtroom files, interviews with Celia's sons, or even well known songs and jokes to seize what William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper known as “the strangest, most unearthly, such a lot dramatic, such a lot tragic, human curiosity tale ever told.”

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Additional resources for The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York

Sample text

25 automatic that Ed had owned since before they were married. She didn’t know where Ed had gotten it, but the fact that her new husband owned a gun hadn’t worried Celia. “Lots of fellows had pistols,” she reasoned. ” One small gun had been enough for protection but not for armed robbery, so Ed had made a visit to the Bowery to buy a couple more. He didn’t have any luck in any of the pawnshops that lined Manhattan’s skid row, but in one of the stores a “negro” overheard what Ed was looking for and followed him outside.

She felt “all excited and happy and gay” and couldn’t sit still. She jumped out of her chair and danced, singing “a sort of song that had no sense to it, about pink leather shoes for baby and to _ _ _ _ with the laundry now. ”12 But her mood swung suddenly: And then I cried. I was all so happy and strange inside me, and warm, that I couldn’t help crying. And I picked up one of those big pistols and kissed its handle, where Ed’s hand had been. Then all of a sudden I sort of slumped, and cold shivers went all over me, and I got plain scared, sitting there by myself.

19 Celia walked right up to the man at the cash register; she thought he was the manager because he handled the money. None of the other clerks paid any attention to her. ” She asked him for a dozen eggs, please. The manager turned and walked behind the counter to fill her order. He returned with the eggs and began to wrap it up for her, tying the pasteboard box with string: “All of a sudden I had the funniest thought. ”20 Ed walked in quietly, and Celia knew the time had come. Just as the manager was laying the package of eggs on the counter before her with both hands, she took two steps backward and pulled the gun from the pocket of her fur coat: “Stick ’em up!

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