Spice in the Saloon

Harper FIRST

In November of 1893, Anthony Comstock descended upon Elmira, N.Y., and, impersonating a saloon owner from another city, acquired a pack of spicy cards from the bartender of the Office Saloon. He next swore out warrants for the arrests of the saloon’s owner and his bartender for “unlawfully lending, giving away and showing a certain obscene and lascivious card.” During his raid, he confiscated 17,404 of the risque cards, “upon which was published poetry and stories such as are usually bandied among men of the world and which were exceedingly suggestive in some instances and positively indecent in others,” and next arrested the cards’ printers, seizing the printing plates as well. The saloon owner, Lew C. Gilmore, was apparently mailing the cards all over the United States, including a pack ordered by Anthony Comstock under an assumed name, and was re-arrested on that charge.

Harper FINAL


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