By Stephen Duncombe
Ripped directly from the headlines of the Jazz Age, The Bobbed Haired Bandit is a story of flappers and quickly vehicles, of intercourse and morality. within the spring of 1924, a negative, 19-year-old laundress from Brooklyn robbed a string of latest York grocery shops with a “baby automatic,” a fur coat, and a stylish bobbed hairdo. Celia Cooney’s crimes made nationwide information, with the likes of Ring Lardner and Walter Lippman writing approximately her exploits for enthralled readers.
The Bobbed Haired Bandit brings to existence an international of significant wealth and poverty, of Prohibition and sophistication clash. along with her husband Ed at her facet, Celia raised herself from a lifetime of drudgery to turn into a star in her personal pulp-fiction novel, a task she consciously cultivated. She additionally introduced the most important manhunt in long island City's historical past, humiliating the police with bold crimes and taunting notes.
Sifting via conflicting debts, Stephen Duncombe and Andrew Mattson exhibit how Celia's tale was once used to give an explanation for the realm, to salary cultural battles, to additional political curiosity, and principally, to promote newspapers. To progressives, she was once an instance of what occurs while a group does not guard its young children. To conservatives, she symbolized a permissive society that gave an excessive amount of freedom to the younger, bad, and feminine. those competing tales distill the tensions of the time.
In a gripping account that reads like a detective serial, Duncombe and Mattson have culled newspaper reviews, courtroom documents, interviews with Celia's sons, or even renowned songs and jokes to catch what William Randolph Hearst’s newspaper referred to as “the strangest, most eldritch, such a lot dramatic, such a lot tragic, human curiosity tale ever told.”
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