The proliferation of newspapers targeted at specific audiences did not stop with language, religion, or reform. Also included were “racy” or “sporting” newspapers, aimed at men, particularly young bachelors. Reaching their peak in the 1840s, these papers are full of colorful stories and provocative illustrations about illicit and immoral activities, boxing matches and cockfights, crime and vice, gambling and drinking, and tell-all scandals.
The Flash is one example. Among the pages in this issue are a disclaimer about libel lawsuits leveled against the paper, bawdy verses, and a notice from a woman named Mary Moore asking for a certain prominent “gentleman(?)” to return a valuable hair brush and pay a balance due. There is also a story about a woman who drowned in the North River because she drank too much, fell in, and couldn’t keep her head above water because her India rubber bustle “elevated that part of her person which has no need to breathe above the surface and depressed her head, and thus she perished.”Click the image below to browse the full issue.