In New York City, Frank Tousey was a publisher of dime novels and newspapers for boys. In March of 1884, Anthony Comstock had Tousey arrested for reprinting stories from G. W. M. Reynolds’ The Mysteries of the Court of London. An Englishman, Reynolds wrote Victorian mysteries with elements of Gothic novels – haunted castles, damsels in distress and nefarious villains.
Although somewhat spicy, Reynolds’ stories had been in print and on sale in New York for more than 20 years. Tousey’s lawyer claimed Comstock’s raid was a personal vendetta sparked by caricatures in The Judge, a satirical magazine his client had formerly published in which “he ridiculed Comstock in every possible way.”
Tousey, and two clerks who had been arrested with him, was ultimately released but had to destroy the printing plates of The Mysteries of the Court of London to avoid further prosecution. Tousey was also ordered to discontinue publication of the James Boys Weekly, “under the law prohibiting the making of heroes out of notorious criminals.”