Library News Blog

Tracing transnational organized crime

Maria Kiriakova

Recently, the library cataloged an electronic version of The World Atlas of Illicit Flows.

This 152-page document was introduced on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly on September 25th. Its creation was possible due to the collaboration between INTERPOL, RHIPTO Norwegian Centre for Global Analyses, and the Global Initiative. Through outstanding charts and graphs, the atlas illustrates how transnational organized crime has infiltrated every corner of society worldwide, exploiting governance weaknesses during local conflicts and sustaining non-armed groups and terrorists. The document provides the first consolidated overview of illicit flows and their significance in conflicts worldwide. There are over a thousand smuggling routes worldwide of goods and services associated with environmental crime, drugs, and people.

Twelve chapters illustrate an atrocious scope of the catastrophe of transnational organized crime, including environmental crime, which is more lucrative than human trafficking. It provides more than a third of income that finances the largest armed groups. Two other big groups of sources for armed groups are illegal trade and exploitation of fuel (20 percent), and illicit taxation and extortion (17 percent). Twenty-eight percent of these groups’ income is derived from production, trafficking, and taxation of drugs. The largest, least risky, and most profitable illicit environmental industry is illegal logging. Other crimes in the World Atlas of Illicit Flows includes illegal wildlife trade; in the document, we learn that pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animals. Human trafficking is also covered; economically speaking, it is the fourth-largest global crime sector, with an estimated annual market value of at least US$157 billion.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, one of the sponsors of the World Atlas of Illicit Flows, is a non-for-profit organization that attempts to regenerate the debate around countering organized crime, illicit trafficking, and trade. Established about seven years ago, this network of experts around the world grew rapidly, including experts in law enforcement agencies, law practitioners, senior officials in international organizations like UN and INTERPOL, academics, and civil society organizations. It encourages free thinking and debate, looks at the problems of trafficking and illicit trade from new angles, mobilizes political will, and creates new ideas. The Global Initiative website has an abundance of information, research publications, policy briefs, infographics, and more. The research publications can be searched by topic, type of document and type of crime.

The Global Initiative is a young organization that has big potential and is already influential in the international arena. Its website should be bookmarked by students learning about international criminal justice, terrorism, economic and environmental crimes. The Global Initiative’s recent environmental crime projects include a search engine that deconstructs law into data, setting the foundation for an unprecedented ability to conduct smart searches within the laws, compare key legal concepts among jurisdictions, and assess the quality of legal systems to effectively manage societal challenge. Another initiative, UN-TOC Watch, seeks to monitor and analyze how the UN System has been responding to organized crime in the period 2012-2017. There were 1,113 UN Security Council passed resolutions analyzed in reference to different types of crime. The findings are just hot off the press, titled Organized Crime and Its Role in Contemporary Conflict: An Analysis of UN Security Council Resolutions. The collected data can be further explored by the region and type of crime.


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Selected by Maria Kiriakova

Chemical Slavery book over  Dopesick book over  The Making of Black Lives Matter book over  Pirate Women book over  Sexographies book over  When They Call You a Terrorist book over

Duncombe, L. (2017). Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press. Stacks G535 .D848 2017

DuPont, R. (2018). Chemical Slavery: Understanding Addiction and Stopping the Drug Epidemic. Rockville, MD: Institute for Behavior and Health. Stacks RC564.29 .D876 2018

Eatmon, D., & Fairey, Shepard. (2017). Chuck D presents This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History. London: Cassell Illustrated. Stacks ML3531 .C58 2017

Fliter, J. (2018). Child Labor in America: The Epic Legal Struggle to Protect Children. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Stacks KF3552 .F55 2018

Galeotti, M. (2018). The Vory: Russia's Super Mafia. New Haven: Yale University Press. Stacks HV6439.R8 G35 2018

Khan-Cullors, P., Bandele, Asha, & Davis, Angela Y. (2018). When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Stacks E185.97.K43 A3 2018

Lebron, C. (2017). The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea. New York: Oxford University Press. Stacks E185.615 .L393 2017 and ebook.

Macy, B. (2018). Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Company that Addicted America. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Stacks RC568.O45 M33 2018

Oldfield, W., & Bruce, Victoria. (2018). Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society: America's Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective Who Brought Them to Justice. New York: Touchstone. Stacks HV6448 .O53 2018

Walton, T. (2010). Challenges in Intelligence Analysis: Lessons from 1300 BCE to the Present. New York: Cambridge University Press. Reserve JF1525.I6 W39 2010

Wiener, G., Adcock, Jennifer, & Greaves, Lucy. (2018). Sexographies. Brooklyn, NY: Restless Books. Stacks HQ29 .W536 2018

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Reviewing NYPL’s ebook reader

Robin Davis

Smartphone displaying SimplyE, with Bestsellers and Staff picks book listsAs I waited on the Columbus Circle subway platform, a friend emailed me to recommend Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff’s 2015 novel. By the time the C train doors opened—really!—I was already reading the ebook for free on my smartphone with the SimplyE app. A little frisson of librarian glee ran through me.

Anyone who has struggled with other ebook readers from libraries will understand my joy. Historically, apps like Overdrive and Adobe Digital Editions have been very user-unfriendly. (Even the ebook vendors that Lloyd Sealy Library works with make downloading ebooks for offline use very difficult, although reading online is a cinch.) But SimplyE simply works.

How to use SimplyE

SimplyE is free to download and is available for iOS and Android, and it requires a library card sign-in. If you have a New York Public Library (NYPL) or Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) card, you can access ebooks that are available through those library systems. The app’s home screen displays current best sellers in fiction and non-fiction, staff picks of recent publications, young adult books, and books in Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. Just tap on a book cover to download or reserve it.

(Don’t have a library card? First, let me strongly recommend that you get one! As my colleague Maureen Richards notes in this newsletter, there are many benefits to an NYPL card even beyond checking out print books from their many lovely bricks-and-mortar branches. But until you treat yourself to a library card, you can choose to get ebooks on SimplyE by choosing the Digital Public Library of America as your home library. Their ebooks include public domain classics, some academic press publications, and some children’s books.)

Features and bugs

I use the SimplyE app quite a lot on my Android phone. Browsing and searching work as expected, and it’s infrequent that a book I want to read isn’t in the catalog. What is frequent, however, are long queues for very popular books. (I am currently 635th in line to read Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects.) Just like print books, library ebooks are usually limited in number, so only a certain number of people can download it at a time. Don’t get disheartened, though—you can reserve a place in the queue for unavailable ebooks, and in the meantime, there are plenty of available ones. You can filter the catalog to display only currently downloadable books to avoid disappointment.

Ebook downloads are very fast. The app allows you to read downloaded ebooks without network service, which can be a lifesaver when your subway train is delayed in a tunnel.

There is one odd bug in the Android app that plagues me: when I change font size or page background color, the app takes me back to the first page in the chapter I’m reading—even if that means rewinding 200 pages. (As a programmer myself, I can appreciate the challenge of this seemingly simple function.) As it happens, this bug turns out to be a great incentive to finish a chapter before closing out of SimplyE.

Background of the app

The app is designed and built by Library Simplified, a group of 10 public libraries with NYPL as the lead partner. The Library Simplified project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “Through our collective action,” the Library Simplified website says, “libraries can better connect more people to more books[,] for we believe more people reading more is our ultimate mission. SimplyE is how we hope to connect more people to more books from libraries.”* Hear, hear!

* Source: “About.” Library Simplified. Accessed 17 Oct. 2018.

Ebooks at John Jay

I would be remiss not to note that Lloyd Sealy Library also gives you online access to many ebooks. These are primarily academic publications that support the multidisciplinary research done on our campus. You can find ebooks through OneSearch, which displays a “Full text available” link instead of a call number for ebooks. Reading (or “streaming”) ebooks online is easy as pie, and downloading a chapter at a time as a PDF isn’t too hard, but downloading entire books for offline reading can be immensely onerous and confusing. That said, our ebook collections continue to grow and have proven to be very convenient for off-campus research.

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The new look of LexisNexis

Kathleen Collins

Many of us are by now familiar with using LexisNexis to find news and legal resources. The LexisNexis interface that we’re used to is getting a face lift and a name change. In fact, it already has—Nexis Uni. Currently in the library’s list of popular databases, you will see both the classic and the new versions, but as of the end of 2018, the classic will disappear.

Search interface for Nexis Uni with large search box

If you are used to looking for cases in LexisNexis, the same task in Nexis Uni may take a little getting used to. As always, there is more than one way to use the database to find a case and the most obvious-seeming options can be a bit confusing at first. Looking at the main search page of Nexis Uni, you will see a Guided Search area with the question “What are you interested in?” This is tempting, especially as there is a Cases option planted squarely below. However, once you select that cases button, the next question is “State or Federal?” This may be an obstacle to a user who is not certain of the jurisdiction.

So perhaps you go back to the main search page and this time see the “Get a Doc Assistance” link just below the search box. This is tempting, too, especially since, once selected, it seems to be all about cases. You can search by citation, party names or docket number. If you are well-versed in legal research, this may please you, as there are detailed options you can select to conduct a controlled search. The average user, however, will likely feel overwhelmed with the choices. The party names option looks promising but returns zero results unless you also select a jurisdiction. So, back to the home page.

I can vouch for a more direct route to finding a case, especially if what you seek is a specific case for which you have at least one party name, or a case on a particular issue. In the main search box, type your search term (e.g. Griswold or Title IX), then in the dropdown box to the left of the search box (where it says “All Nexis Uni”) you can open that to choose Cases from a list, then select Search in the lower right of that same page. If your desired results do not appear early on in the list, you can enter a party name or a key word on the left side of the page to narrow the results.

One other note to keep in mind. There is a prominently displayed “Export Citation” button at the top of each document. This takes you to a set of options for citation styles, but does not (yet?) connect with citation managers like RefWorks as classic LexisNexis did.

I don’t mean to disparage Nexis Uni. It improves in several ways upon the classic, most notably in its clean appearance and the ability to run either natural language or Boolean searches. They will likely continue to make changes in coming months to address users’ needs. The Discover Topics link presented on the home page, which may be a replacement for the Hot Topics links in the classic version, can be a useful tool for generating topic ideas, via three broad categories: Business, Criminal Justice, and Political Science.

To end on a positive note, Nexis Uni is still the excellent source for news and legal resources that it always has been—it’s just a matter of adjusting to new strategies to get to them.

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Database overview

Karen Okamoto

HeinOnline’s Slavery in America and the World database provides free public access to countless English-language legal materials, pamphlets and books on slavery. Though the collection covers slavery in other parts of the world, its content is largely from and about the United States. Its legal materials include every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute pertaining to slavery, and all reported state and federal cases about slavery. It also includes legal commentary published before 1920 as well as modern law reviews. Its non-legal materials consist of books and pamphlets from the Buffalo Public Library’s rare book collection.

Users can search and browse the collection from a number of access points. The main page includes a full text search, a link to an advanced search, and several browsing options for quick access to specific types of documents. For example, researchers can click on the “Slavery Statutes” tab to access and review federal and state statutes. The advanced search provides a number of filters such as document type, which includes speeches, narratives, and specific legal documents.

Originally conceived as a subscription-based database, HeinOnline decided in 2016 to make Slavery in America and the World free to the public. This decision was in response to, as the company president outlines in a press release, the crisis in race relations in America. HeinOnline decided to rethink the idea of profiting from a collection on slavery. This means that well after graduation, our students can access this important and impressive collection that brings together HeinOnline’s strong legal collections with non-legal documents in one searchable platform.

Please also consult:

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Search and serendipity

Jeffrey Kroessler

I am trying to track down a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The ends pre-exist in the means.” Writing about terrorism, I want to contrast that Emersonian idea with its opposite: “The ends justify the means,” or as Malcolm X put it, “By any means necessary.” What I need is the citation.

Without anything at hand to go on, I first entered the words in quotes into the OneSearch box on the library’s homepage. Nothing. But that should not be surprising, as this is designed to identify sources for research. Even so, the quotation might have turned up somewhere.

Google Scholar is a better option, because it does allow searching for an exact quotation. Here I added “Emerson” in the search box. Surely the original will turn up, or maybe it will be cited in another work. The search does not yield the original source but does offer an intriguing array of essays containing a version of the quote.

The first is “Educational Appraisals,” by Ross L. Mooney, in Education Research Bulletin, vol. 36, no. 2 (Feb. 13, 1957). In this case I can access the entire eight-page piece. But the quote is not in that essay. Rather, it is found at the end of the previous piece on the page the Mooney piece begins. So, the first result in this search did not bring up the article where the quote was to be found. The article listed second by Google Scholar, “Educational Means” by Edgar Dale from the same publication, was the one with the quote. The Emerson reference was footnoted: an entry titled “Education” in his journals dated September 13, 1831 (that author used a 1909 edition of his journals; for me, the nearest edition would do). But actually, he summarized the quote and the reference refers to another: “The things which are taught children are not an education, but the means of education.”

So, I search for the referenced journal entry, not confident that the quote would be found there. The library catalog yielded Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 16-volume set published between 1960 and 1982. On the shelf, however I find only Volume 7 (1838-1842). Clicking deeper into the bibliographic record I learn that John Jay only has Volume 7. That was after I had gone into the stacks. Frustrating. And I’m the librarian! 

Back to the Google Scholar results. A promising item is “Sources of Value for Modern Man” by Eduard C. Lindemane, in Religious Education, vol. 42, 1947. Alas, access to the full piece is blocked, and searching our collection of journals by title, I found that we do not have it in any database.

The next possibility is “Speech Sportsmanship,” a brief essay by Burton H. Byers in The Speech Teacher, vol. 3, no. 2, 1954 (now Communication Education). The Google Scholar link leads to the publisher’s page, and a dead end (no, I do not wish to purchase the article). Looking again under journals by title, I find that we do have access to the journal. Byers makes great use of the Emerson: “In a totalitarian society, it is generally held that the ends justify the means. A person who believes in democracy is likely to think that greater wisdom was expressed by Emerson when he wrote that the ends pre-exist in the means.” A wonderful application of the idea, but there is no citation.

Moving on to “Postcards from the Edge: Surveying the Digital Divide,” by Andrew G. Celli and Kenneth M. Dreifach, in Cardozo Arts Entertainment Law Journal, 20 (2002). They reference Emerson and locate the source as his 1841 essay “Compensation.” Bingo! The actual sentence in that essay is different, however: “Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”

This was a twisted, frustrating, and ultimately successful research journey, and at its end I am left with two questions. First, is the popular version of the quote—“The ends pre-exist in the means”—to be found elsewhere in Emerson’s writings, somewhere in his journals, perhaps? Or is it simply a pithier version of the sentence from “Compensation”? And second, why did I find several references to this quotation in essays from the 1940s and 1950s but scarcely any from later decades?

The journey continues.


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Maria Kiriakova

It is a hard balance for Lloyd Sealy Library to keep the collections growing, on the one hand, and to provide more quiet study space for a steadily growing student population, on the other hand. We use our creativity to make rearrangements and carve out new space in the existing library physical plant.

This semester, the students are now able to enjoy two new study space additions that are the results of the librarians’ hard work. The computer lab on the ground floor was expanded by gaining a room that can accommodate 24 users. The south wing of the library on the upper level was transformed into the Silent Study Area South, which is full of natural light.

Long room with desks and chairs along the table. Students study at the tables.The computer lab expansion idea was born more than five years ago. The library was ready to give up space allocated for the staff to satisfy students’ requests for additional computer seats. Moving the walls was not an easy undertaking, but now the students have a renovated space with brand new furniture. This already popular spot will definitely be appreciated during the 24-hour Library Lounge & Lab operation at the end of each semester during finals period.

The creation of the Silent Study Area South was an attempt to make a space without breaking any walls. We decided to compress the bound periodicals collection and create an opening at the end of the south wing on the upper level, mirroring the existing quiet study area in the north wing. Despite the dropped ceiling, the room now looks bright and airy, thanks to the big windows along two walls. It took a month of physical labor this summer by Maria Kiriakova, Matt Murphy, Ellen Belcher, Ellen Sexton, Jeff Kroessler, Mark Zubarev, and Omar Rivera to move 34,200 volumes. We had to make the calculations and measurements first, vacuum the books, rearrange and clean the shelves, and check and fix the records in the catalog. The Office of Space Planning helped with new carpeting and building of two countertops. Geng Lin coordinated the electric and data wiring aspects for both projects.

These new study spaces fit well into John Jay College students’ ideal vision of an academic library. The Pop-Up Library’s surveys in March of this year revealed that the young scholars imagined “quiet,” “calming,” and “distraction-free” spaces in their ideal library. These two study spaces fulfill these dreams.


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Expanding access to NYPL, Columbia University, & Princeton University shared collections

Maureen Richards

During the first few weeks of the fall semester, you may have noticed the New York Public Library (NYPL) table in the Atrium. NYPL staff were present to streamline the process for getting a fully activated NYPL library card, with a barcode and PIN.

Hundreds of students signed up, many of whom learned they were eligible to receive a NYPL library card simply because they attend a school in New York City. Those who thought they had an active card—NYPL cards must be renewed every 3 years—were able to make sure that they did.

John Jay librarians were also on hand to explain that in addition to the 88 neighborhood branches that focus on serving the needs of the local community, NYPL cardholders have access to world-renowned scholarly resources that include:

  • NYPL’s four research libraries
  • Hundreds of specialized and multidisciplinary databases
  • Thousands of ebooks
  • Shared Collection Catalog

The research materials in the databases and ebooks are appropriate for academic work and are accessible remotely, so long as you have an active NYPL barcode and PIN.  

NYPL’s Shared Collection Catalog is the newest tool for discovering the research collections available to NYPL library card holders. This catalog searches all of NYPL’s on-site research collection and items stored in an off-site facility that is owned and operated by NYPL, Columbia University, and Princeton University libraries, to facilitate the sharing of resources. Through this new Shared Collection Catalog, you can now easily search, find, and gain access to millions of items that are part of this shared collection.

How the Shared Collection Catalog works

Start at the Shared Collection Catalog search box which can be found behind the Research tab on the NYPL homepage. It looks like this:

Search bar in the catalog

Conduct a search and look under Status to see if the item is available at an NYPL location or whether you have to request the item:

Book title with location specific as offsite, with a Request button

When the item is not immediately available, you can click on the title to find out more, including which of the three libraries systems owns the materials. Once you request an item, you will be prompted to enter your active NYPL barcode and PIN, then choose a delivery option. Materials can be delivered to one or more locations at NYPL research libraries or you can request to have a small portion (such as the table of contents, single article, book chapter or index) of the item scanned and emailed to you.

If you order a book before 2:30pm, Monday through Thursday, it will be delivered to NYPL the next day. Special items, like films that need projectors, will be delivered to the NYPL library with the viewing equipment. Keep in mind that these items may not be taken out of the NYPL building, but they will keep any requested materials on hold for you as long as you need them—so you can come back each day and use them.

If you have already used this new Shared Collection Catalog, please let us know about your experience.  If you have not, start exploring it now!

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Fall 2018

Library news in brief

Open book with the text, Indoor Voices Podcast: curating interesting CUNY conversations

Season 2 of Indoor Voices, podcast hosted by two CUNY librarians

Indoor Voices, the podcast co-hosted by Kathleen Collins (John Jay) and Steve Ovadia (LaGuardia) is going strong in its second season, thanks to support from the Office for the Advancement of Research and a wealth of interesting work done by people all around CUNY. Visit the blog at to peruse past episodes and subscribe to keep up with new ones. Follow them on Twitter @indoorvoicespod.

Barcode logins for John Jay Online students

We’ve made a change to how students in John Jay Online fully-online degree programs get their barcode number, which is used to log into OneSearch to unlock extra features (like requesting books from other CUNY libraries) and view more search results. Barcodes are now issued by email to JJO degree students on request via a request form. (All online students already have access to full-text articles with their usual login.)

Event flyer: First-year seminar students and transfer seminars... Escape the library!

Escape the Library!

The Lloyd Sealy Library and Student Academic Success Programs (SASP) partnered up to coordinate the “Escape the Library!” challenge. This hands-on learning activity introduced first-year and transfer students to basic library research skills and study spaces available to them. SASP Peer Success Coaches attended each day of the game to help guide participants toward solving the puzzles. Over the summer, 137 students participated in the game, and four dozen more did in the fall semester. In total, over 700 students have participated in the game since its inception in 2013. Overall, this semester’s “Escape the Library!” event was a success: students rated the activity highly and met the library’s learning objectives.

Betsy Crenshaw joins the Library

We welcomed Betsy Crenshaw as an adjunct assistant professor in the library. She will bring her extensive experience from multiple CUNY libraries to the Reference Desk at Lloyd Sealy Library. Welcome, Betsy!


Faculty notes

Kathleen Collins published “Comedian Hosts and the Demotic Turn” in Llinares, Fox, and Berry, eds. Podcasting: New Aural Cultures and Digital Media (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), available to read on CUNY Academic Works.

Robin Davis gave a presentation, “Keep it secret, keep it safe! Preserving anonymity by subverting stylometry” in October at PyGotham, an annual conference for Python programmers in New York City. With Mark Eaton, a librarian at KBCC, she led “Python for Beginners: A Gentle and Fun Introduction,” a LITA Pre-Conference Institute at the ALA Annual Conference, which took place in New Orleans in June 2018.

Maria Kiriakova published “Combatting Corruption in the USA: State, Dynamics, and Tendencies,” co-written with Y. Truntsevsky, in Public International and Private International Law: Science-Practice and Information Journal, vol. 100, no. 3.

Jeffrey Kroessler appeared in the PBS documentary “The Woman in the Iron Coffin” in the series “Secrets of the Dead,” about the remains of an unidentified African-American woman found in Queens in 2011. His report, prepared for the City Club of New York, “Losing Its Way: The Landmarks Preservation Commission in Eclipse,” was reprinted in Environmental Law in New York (vol. 29, no. 8 and 9, Aug. and Sept. 2018) and is accessible through CUNY Academic Works. In October, he presented his research on terrorism in New York City to the Seminar on the City at Columbia University.

Maureen Richards presented at the ExLibris Northeast User Group 2018 conference in October on what we are learning from the use of the library’s web-scale discovery tool, OneSearch.

Ellen Sexton and Vee Herrington presented “Using LibGuides and Eportfolio as hosting platforms for ZTC [Zero Textbook Cost] courses” at Open Ed 2018 in October in Niagara Falls.

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From the Desk of the Chief Librarian, Larry E. Sullivan

"Horrible tragedy! Jealousy, murder, arson and probable suicide. A well-known citizen murdered in cold blood! A wife strangled by her husband. A city chapter of blood and horror.” Sealy Library’s recent rare book acquisitions includes this compendium of horrific deeds committed in the “Queen City” of Cincinnati, with its vibrant culture, but also a city beset by the mayhem of the Old West. The author and compiler of Murder Will Out… by “An Old Citizen” (1867), but identified as Colonel William De Beck, chronicles numerous crimes, including child murder, lynching, spousal poisoning, riots, and other misdeeds.  His cautionary tale introduction notes that “they of both sexes will find much that they thus must avoid—the commission of the first little sin, may be the means of bringing  them to destruction.” He goes on to chronicle such incidents as the “Murder of S. Easton’s Little Son”; “Fannie French, the Cyprian, Shoots her Paramour, Devlin”; “The Notorious Maythes Family”; and many, many  others.

We in the criminal justice world are not exceptionally shocked by reading about these crimes.  But in the middle of the book we come across accounts of two murders and a riot linked to the rising populist, nativist, anti-immigrant feelings that were then spreading across the United States.  The influx of the Irish and the Germans in the 1850s gave rise to the “Know-Nothing” political party. Many cities, such as San Francisco, set up vigilance committees to fight the political control of Irish and German immigrants. New York, with half of its voting rolls populated by naturalized immigrants, formed the American Party (Know-Nothings), which advocated an exclusionary model to make it difficult if not impossible for foreigners, especially the Irish, to become naturalized citizens. Their platform included setting a long residency requirement (21 years), deporting immigrant paupers and criminals, and other measures. This rhetoric and these actions are all too familiar to our contemporary political situation, not just in America, but globally as well.

In Cincinnati, the 1855 mayoral election featuring the populist, nativist candidate for mayor, James Taylor, editor of the Cincinnati Times, delivered inflammatory attacks on the Germans, which sparked a vicious assault  by the  nativist “Americans” on the  German “Over-the Rhine” neighborhood. The Germans fought back successfully, leading to the Democratic candidate James J. Faran winning the election.    

Our author relates that the day after the election, a Know-Nothing was murdered walking down a street “in which he had no business.” To the chagrin of the “old citizen” he was given a soldier’s funeral. But shortly thereafter the American party, owing in part to its antagonism to the anti-slavery movement, largely disappeared from the political scene in Cincinnati and other cities. Our author states that “Know Nothingism was carried to such an excess, that we think few shed tears when it became extinct. Any thing [sic] which tends to alienate one part of the people from another is injurious to the public good, and ought not to be tolerated under any circumstances in this land of free speech.”

Plus ça change...


Murder Will Out... is available in the Special Collections Room, call number HV6534 .C5 D5.

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