Emma Snodgrass : Cross dresser


New York Daily Times, 30 Nov 1852, Article 9 page 6
"Miss Emma Snodgrass, a young woman of seventeen, belonging to New York, has a second time been taken into custody by the police of Boston for donning the breeches.  The first time of her appearing in male apparel was, it will be remembered, when she applied for and obtained a situation as clerk at the clothing establishment of John Simmons & Co., Water street, from whence, on the discovery of her real sex, she was taken to the police office, and thence to the house of her father, a respectable city official in New York.  A day or two since she returned to Boston, and in female apparel put up at the Washington Coffee House.  Yesterday she left the house, but soon after returned, dressed in a frock coat, cap, vest and pants.  The bar-keeper at once recognized her, and informed the Chief of Police of her whereabouts.  What her motive may be for thus obstinately rejecting the habiliments of her own sex, is not known."
Hornellsville Tribune - December 4, 1852, Hornellsville, New York
3 Dec 1852 "Again in Breeches - The New York girl who was noticed about a week since under the names of George Green and Emma Snodgrass and who donned the pants and was employed for a short time as a clerk in an extensive clothing warehouse in this city, is again in town.  It will be recollected that a few days since the girl was furnished with proper and comfortable garments, and returned to New York in company with her brother.  On Monday evening Emma, whose surname is not Snodgrass, arrived in this city dressed in a neat frock coat, cloth cap, and black broadcloth pants, and took lodgings at the Washington Coffee House,  where she remained until yesterday, when she was identified as the female who was the subjects of so many remarks through the papers about a week since.  She was taken to the office of the Chief of Police, and last night remained at the house of one of the city officers, who will see that she is again returned to her father's house.  The motives of the girl for persisting in such improper conduct have not transpired - Boston Journal."
New York Daily-Times, Jan 8, 1853 
MORE SPIRIT RAPS.; Matters in Boston-Spirit Convention, &c.
"The foolish girl, Emma Snodgrass, who goes about in virile toggery, was taken before the Court here, as a vagrant, a day or two ago.  But it was proved that she did not beg nor misbehave herself, and that she payed her way.  She was therefore let go -- to pursue a wretched life of idleness and immorality."
Daily Alta California, 7 Feb 1853, "Letter From Boston"
"I mentioned, in my last letter, an eccentric female who roams about town, dressed in the habiliments of the other sex.  She was arrested the other day on a charge of vagrancy, but the charge was not sustained and she was liberated.  She was again arrested at the warrant of her father, who is Mr. Snodgrass, Captain of the First Ward Police in New York.  When she appeared in court, she was accompanied by another female also dressed in men's clothes, and it was with great difficulty that the friends could be separated.  Snodgrass was finally sent to New York in charge of an officer, and her friend was packed off to the House of Industry for two months.  Snodgrass used to circulate in all the drinking houses, made several violent attempts to talk 'horse,' and do other things for which 'fast' boys are noted."

New York Daily-Times - March 23, 1853, New York, New York
"The Allany Journal says: Emma Snodgrass, the lady of newspaper notoriety -- the wanderer in man's apparel -- who some time since created a great deal of talk in Boston, and was finally brought before the Police Magistrate of that city has at last paid us a visit.  She put up at the Exchange Hotel, registering her name as Henry Lewis, Boston.  She visited the Museum, and strolled around town.  The fact leaked out, and she began to attract a good deal of attention; so while engaged in viewing the architectural beauties of the Exchange, she was requested to view the Second District Station House and be introduced to Chief Morgan.  She evaded, at first, her identity, but finally frankly owned up."
New York Daily Times - March 24, 1853
Article 13 -- No Title
"A petition is in circulation in Boston, for signatures, to be presented to the forthcoming Constitutional Convention, asking that an amendment to the Constitution may be reported, striking out the word 'male' wherever it occurs in that instrument.  It is signed by Lucy Stone, Abby Kelly Foster, &c.; but we do not learn from the Springfield Republican, whether Emma Snodgrass has yet attached her name to the document or not."
Fort Wayne Times And Peoples Press - April 27, 1853, Fort Wayne, Indiana
"Emma Snodgrass, the girl in pantaloons, who disturbed the equanimity of the sleepy magistracy in the eastern cities, not long since, was last seen at Louisville, on her way to California.  She wears a frock coat, glazed cap, striped pantaloons, &c., and has the appearance of quite a good looking young man.  She is a practical Woman's Rights girl."
Democratic Banner - June 10, 1853, Davenport, Iowa
"Miss Emma Snodgrass, the young lady, who is so fond of wearing pantaloons and other articles of male attire, was arrested in Cleveland last week."
Grant County Herald - July 13, 1853, Lancaster, Wisconsin
"It is stated that Emma Snodgrass has repented, gone home, taken off her breeches, and sworn eternal attachment to petticoats and propriety.  This is to her credit."
New York Daily Times, Mar 14, 1856
"The girl 'Charley' was arrested on Wednesday, and brought before Justice Wood, at the Essex Market Police Court, charged with being a 'vagrant.'  Charley is a 'gallus' character, and while in Court was the observed of all observers.  He -- we mean she -- heard the complaint preferred with apparent indifference, and replied to it by a simple plea of not guilty, and was then sentenced to two months imprisonment on Blackwell's Island.
   "Charley chews tobacco with ease, and enjoys a mile Havanna.  Her teeth, though, are good and white, and appear to be an object of great care.  Her face is full, plump, and smooth, and her hair, short and black, is neatly arranged.  Charley's tile is a la mode, shines like a mirrow, and is usually worn ajaunt, as becomes a gay young man about town.  Her coat and br-- pants are new, neat and well fitting.  Her boots most fascinating, and her shirt-collar and bosom perfectly irresistible.  Charley is about five feet three inches in height, rather slim and when 'fixed up,' is what most tender young ladies would call a 'perfect love of a fellow.'  Charley has broken some little hearts in his -- we mean her -- day, without intending any such calamity; but, generally, by a proper method, succeeded in getting rid of the lovers.  There was one exception -- a confiding creature -- who for some time would not believe her story as to how things stood.  It was very hard to convince her.  But when the true state of affairs was made apparent she was inconsolable, and refused all offers of comfort from another source.  Charley says she retired to a convent; but Charley is a wag.
   "She -- he was born in New-Orleans, and is now 19 years of age.  When her fifteenth birthday rolled round she doffed her feminine and donned masculine attire.  The change suited so well that she has never seen fit to change it since.  She first offered her services as a mess-boy on board of a Mississippi steamboat. and was on the up trip promoted to cabin-boy.  She was for a time employed in the latter capacity on board the ill-fated Jewess.  She worked in New-Orleans for about two years, and made one or two voyages as a passenger from that city to this.  About a year ago she was engaged as bar-tender in the 'Jenny Lind' Saloon in Canal street.  Leaving here, Charley went back to New-Orleans, and about two months ago returned again to this City, and has since been out of employment.
   "Charley says that she has maintained herself 'like a man,' without doing anything wrong, and feels an evident price at the success with which she has carried out her masculine disguise.
   "Don't you think I'm smart," said she to our Reporter, "never to be found out till now?  Of course you do.  I'm not a bad looking fellow, am I?"
   "But why do you dress in male attire>"
   "Well, because I can get along better.  Can get more wages.  A poor girl, (here Charle's voice showed more feminine, and her big eyes grew bigger and milder,) has no chance.  I acted wrong once, I dont' deny it; but I didn't like to, and it was to prevent the necessity of continuing to act bad that I put on boy's clothes.  I am not a vagrant, never have been, and never will be so long as I have hands to work.  See there; my hands are hard -- harder and bigger than yours; that looks like work.  Yes, my hands are big, and homely too.  They were little once, when I was living at home with my mother.  But then there is no use crying about it, is there?  I have roughed it so long, and I may as well be rough.  All I want is that folks will let me alone.  I can get along."
   "But you have had no visible means of gaining a livelihood, for some time."
   "I known I have been out of work, but I have paid my way, and when a man pays his way he ain't a vagrant.  I have been stopping, since I came, at the Richmond House, in Chambers street -- pay $2.50 a-week for my room, and eat at Green's.  I have some money that I saved yet, and of course I am not a vagrant.  I don't know why Joe Keefe arrested me for a vagrant."
   "How did Joe find you out?"
   "Frank Hope told me out, and told Joe where I was.  I don't think either of them acted very smart.  I don't want to go on the Island, and I don't think they can send me, either."
   "But you can be punished for dressing in male attire -- there is a law against that."
   "Well, now, I think it's rather hard that a person can't dress as he sees fit, so long as he's decent.  Why don't they arrest the Bloomers?  Isn't my dress a better one than the Bloomer, and more becoming?"
   "That may be so, but the law" --
   "Oh! Well, my lawyer tells me that he thinks that law is unconstitutional."
   "Even if you be dismissed, now that you are known, you cannot remain in the City."
   "I don't intend to.  I have a sister in California.  Here's a letter from her.  She wants me to go to her, and I will go."
   "Will you then dress in woman's clothes?"
   "Yes, I suppose so, but it will come hard to me.  I wouldn't know how to walk.  It comes so natural to me to be a man.  Whey, when Emma Snodgrass was in Boston, I was with her.  They took her up for dressing in boy's clothes, and let me go, because they thought I was a man."
   "Charley rolled her quid in her mouth, during the above conversation, and made frequent use of the spittoon.  She learned to chew on the Mississippi, she said, the better to keep her disguise, and rather liked it now.  When parting, she offered our Reporter a paper of Mrs. Miller's fine cut, and he reciprocated by presenting her with a fine 'esculapio,' which, when he left, she was enjoying on a bench placed for her accommodation in front of her cell.
   "Charley's counsel applied yesterday for her discharge on a writ of habeas corpus.  The Recorder before whom the mater was brought postponed it till to-day."