Evil Passions

Champagne 1

In December of 1895, Anthony Comstock arrested Alfred Weisenthamer, along with his office boy and a bill poster hired by the company, for displaying a poster depicting a nude woman emerging from a champagne bottle. When the case came to trial, the newspaper noted, “The only witness in the case yesterday was Comstock, who showed only half the poster and told Justices Hayes, Jacob and Jerome that the lower part of the picture was too indecent even for judicial scrutiny.”

However, “The champagne agent produced an entire picture, which was gazed upon with admiration by Justice Jerome, with horror by Justice Hayes, and with indifference by Justice Jacob.” The office boy was acquitted; the bill poster was fined $50; the wine agent was fined $500. Justice Jerome added, “If the morals of the community were upon a somewhat higher plane than they are now, it would be better for it and for those among us who can view the nude in art without having evil passions excited.”

Champagne Poster 1897


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s