Locked Up

Cuban 2

This news item from November of 1899:

“Anthony Comstock went into the cigar store of Max Rosenthal at 84 Sixth avenue yesterday afternoon and began to inspect the stock of cigars on the counters. He seemed to be particularly interested in a brand that had for a label a number of young Cuban women in décolleté ball costumes and Rosenthal thought he had a customer. He was sure of it when Comstock ordered all of the boxes of that particular brand… Rosenthal wrapped them up and Comstock started out of the store with them.

“Hold on,” shouted Rosenthal. “Where’s my money?”

“I am Anthony Comstock,” replied the great Purifier.

“I don’t care if you are President McKinley and Admiral Dewey rolled into one,” retorted Rosenthal. “You can’t have those cigars without paying for them.”

Comstock could not think of buying the cigars, so he tore the lids off all the boxes and took them with him to the Jefferson Market police court where he made affidavit before Magistrate Flammer that the pictures on them were obscene. On his sworn statement the Magistrate issued a warrant and Rosenthal was arrested. He was locked up in the Mercer street station.”

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