Woman's Suffrage and Demand For The Right To Vote

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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The MOST Lurid Crime of the 1920s: Sterilization played a role.

Forget Ruth Snyder. Ignore the chicken coop thing. Hell, even Hall-Mills becomes tame when compared to the ultimate tabloid crime of the decade:

THE DEMISE OF MISS HICKS.

June 1929, and tabloid readers across America were enthralled by the ever-more sordid details of the murder of college student Theodora Hix, of Columbus, Ohio, bt Professor James Snook.

Miss Hix was a...free spirit... who had been arrested at least once in the month prior to her death for having sex in public. Both she and the boy, Marion Myers, were fined $20 for this lewdness.

Once her professor discovered that this "modern miss" would do ANYTHING, he did what any responsible college teacher would do.

Yup. Her sterilized her, surgically, so he never needed to use a condom.

Miss Hicks, according to copious testimony at the trial AND in the tabloids, prefered her love making rough. And loud. "Take Me Somewhere Quiet Where I Can Scream All I Want" one headline blared.

Professor Snooks DID indeed drive her someplace quiet, for a session of esoteric erotica. She performed an act on him in the most painful manner possible (it involved twisting and yanking) while simulatneously informing him that Marion Myers, the boy with whom she had been arrested for public sex, was much better endowed and an all-around better lover.

And, in a matter of minutes, Miss Hix was dead. During this bout of....decidely odd...passion, he twisted her arm behind her back and allegedly that she reacted angrily and threatened to kill him. She even drew a knife. The rest, as they say, is history.

Snooks took the rather novel defense that he was defending himself from the advances of a truly demonic 'nympho.' EVERY sordid act they ever committed with one another was brought out at the July 1929 trial, in order to highlight the unwholesome trap from which he tried to escape.

The tabloids, of course, loved it. In 1929 they could not say 'oral sex' in print, but of course could offer so many clues that you knew EXACTLY what was being said. They had engaged in cocaine and marijuana as a prelude to their trysts, and the press lapped that up, too.

Snook's wife refrained from commenting.

Despite his "Held in the thrall of a sadistic homicidal nympho" defense, and his touching "She mocked the size of my organ and then pulled a knife on me" plea for understanding, the jury was less than kindly towards him and he paid the ultimate tabloid-pleasing penalty. He went to "The Chair" in February 1930.

Even I, lover of 1920s lurid crimes, was shocked by this one. Coming a few months before the crash, and subsequent slide into social conservatism, it represented the last great tabloid bonanza of the Jazz Age. And, honestly, the revelations put in print were so....'blue' even by the standards of the tabloids, that it could not possibly have been surpassed without crossing the line into 'trafficking in pornography.'

The fact that Miss Hix had herself sterilized as a means of birth control is an eye-opener.
 
May 27, 2007
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The fact that Miss Hix had herself sterilized as a means of birth control is an eye-opener.
Damn!!! How did he get that done????

Theodora Hix was the sex bomb of her day.
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Sounds like she was a real fire cracker. Theodora "Spitfire" Hix. Miss Hix probably wanted to leave Prof. Snook so rather then loose this luscious peach of a woman he killed her. I wonder if she called him Snookums.
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Jan 28, 2003
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George, George ...

I can't quite figure out how much of this is actually true. But if any of it is, young Theodora Hix is to be pitied - rather than celebrated as a 'luscious peach of a woman', and 'a real firecracker'. She must have been odd, out of control, and in danger. Hers was a short life, horribly terminated, and not to be chortled over decades later. And I feel for the executed Prof too, given the manner of his death .. if it's true.

Of course, it could all be fictional rubbish, in which case, why are we discussing it?

This is ET. But we are increasingly discussing stuff which has nothing to do with the Titanic, which may be somewhat inevitable after all these years. But I am uneasy now about what is fact and fiction - on several threads, whether related to Titanic or not - given the considerable topic 'drift' we now experience.

I can understand that, after all this on-line time, ET might seem to fall victim to the innocence of new interest / dearth of new research for older members. Both these situations can be accommodated on ET with no trouble.

But I don't think ET should fall victim to irrelevancy.
 
May 27, 2007
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But I don't think ET should fall victim to irrelevancy.
True. But depends on the persons view of relevancy or lack of?

As for the aforesaid Miss Hix or Hicks and Professor Snook well while true or false I shouldn't be making fun of what happened to them but it the case just strikes me as ludicrous. I certainly didn't mean any put down or slander of Miss Hicks. If I did I could of used certain words that would have left no dept. Any words I did use were descriptive. Sex Bomb or spitfire was is descriptive of her personality. There's nothing wrong with that. I do wonder what made Miss Hix the way she was. Oppression at home? Perhaps there is a bit of Woman's Suffrage in this case or not? Perhaps the Case wasn't true but if it was then Miss Hix deserves the ultimate Flapper nod. She really did burn her candle at both ends and for 1929 was a bomb.

I tried looking The Hix & Snook Case up to see if I could add anything about Miss Hix or the Professor and couldn't find anything online even in Wikipedia so I agree we should move on from this topic of the Hix/Snook Case. Actually this Case belongs in the Ballyhoo Jazz Topic not the Woman's Suffrage Topic.

This is ET. But we are increasingly discussing stuff which has nothing to do with the Titanic, which may be somewhat inevitable after all these years. But I am uneasy now about what is fact and fiction - on several threads, whether related to Titanic or not - given the considerable topic 'drift' we now experience.
Yes there is a lot of drifting in the Topics and ET does seem at times like it's turning into a Social Fiction Writes Club. But even in the fiction there might be truth or grains of it. Myself I usually write fiction to make a point. But you are right in that this isn't a writers site but a Titanic Enthusiasts Site. So for myself I will try to desist from fictionalizing. I can't promise anything but will make an effort.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Perhaps we should then use this thread to focus on the Women's Sufferage movement and the surrounding controversies. For the lurid crimes involving sex, murder, and other fun things, we have the All Roads Lead to Ballyhoo thread. As Jim Kalafus has demonstrated, there was quite a bit going on in the not so innocent as myth would have you believe Guilded Age to keep us chatting for some time to come. It also has the virtue of helping us to understand the attitudes and mores of the period.

If it helps any, some of the people on the Titanic were not the nicest people in the world so surely there has to be some fodder for discussion there, and if anybody has the "dirt" on some of them, Jim Kalafus is surely the guy.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Sep 26, 2008
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Hello-
This book I have: "The Four Epochs of Woman's Life, A study in hygiene, by Anna M. Galbraith, M.D. Published originally in 1901, revised in 1903, and reprinted in '04,'07,'11,'13 and my copy in 1915.(W.B. Saunders Co.pub.).

Regarding abortion: Under the chapter "Sterility" is this:
"Women in their frenzy at finding themselves in this condition [pregnancy], and with no slightest idea of the sin they are are committing, are constantly guilty of committing abortions on themselves, or going to professional abortionists to have this crime of child-murder committed. This is another of the sins due to ignorance of the sex in all matters pertaining to reproduction; and it is a fearfully prevalent one."
22 pages later abortion is last mentioned again:
"Artificially produced abortions are not an infrequent cause of sterility; the young wife becomes pregnant, and has an abortion produced because she is not yet ready to give up all her pleasures; and eventually when she does become very anxious to have a child such an extent of uterine disease has been produced by the abortions that she cannot conceive."

I admit, when I found this book in a used bookstore I expected a sanitised oh how funny they were back then sort of thing. I was quite impressed by the candor and well informed medical and realistic approach the book was attempting to convey. And written by a woman doctor no less! A blast from the past that opened my modern eyes.
I share this because of two things...modern impressions of the past get cloudy. And things we thought were unheard of, or worse, non-existant, were going on and discussed as they still are today.
Kris
 
May 27, 2007
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"Artificially produced abortions are not an infrequent cause of sterility; the young wife becomes pregnant, and has an abortion produced because she is not yet ready to give up all her pleasures; and eventually when she does become very anxious to have a child such an extent of uterine disease has been produced by the abortions that she cannot conceive."
That's about it in a nutshell.

I also agree that the past tends to be viewed through a purple haze. Although there were also woman who had children non-stop. One sea-captain helped smuggle in condoms from France for Margaret Sanger so the story goes because his wife had 12 children so he saw the need for them and the importance of planned parenthood. I don't know how true this story is. I remember watching it on History Channel's XY Factor, Sex Through The Ages. But I believe there where families with a dozen or more children. Especially when you look at Sanger's Family.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Sep 26, 2008
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Hello-
The above quote does not mention that she could end up dead in her search to terminate the pregnancy! Since it was illegal (no mention of that, which I thought interesting) the risk was great.

If one could provide, large families were normal, yes. If you could'nt feed them, well, things got tricky. Birth control was illegal also, so your sea captain story rings true, i.e. smuggling.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hello Kris.

Since it was illegal (no mention of that, which I thought interesting) the risk was great.
Illegal Indeed. I did forget to mention that.

Abortions were dangerous and deadly during the Gilded Age and not only that but if a Doctor or practitioner was found to have preformed one they could go to jail along with woman who had the abortion and would have to live with others blaming them for their actions.

As for the Sea Caption smuggling Condoms for Margaret Sanger from France I think I heard that on Margaret Sanger's Biography on A&E Channel.

The problem with big families of which Sanger herself came from was that having all those children really ran down a Woman's health if not ending up killing her and raising all those kids were hard on the family finances.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>and not only that but if a Doctor or practitioner was found to have preformed one they could go to jail <<

Worse then that, under some governments, anybody who provided such a service could be executed. The name eludes me at the moment but I recall an account of a woman who went to the guillotine in France for exactly that reason.
 
May 27, 2007
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Howdy Mike,
The name eludes me at the moment but I recall an account of a woman who went to the guillotine in France for exactly that reason.
I think you mean Marie Latour. The 1942 last Execution by Guillotine of Marie Latour in Nazis occupied France for preforming abortions on prostitutes and working women including a Housewife with 6 children. I saw Claude Chabrol's Une affaire de femmes (The Story Of Women) (1988) in the Independent Film Channel which was based on this case. I recommend it as it was a good balanced betrayal of her life.
 
May 27, 2007
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I also bombed at French as well in 6th grade. Wish I'd taken Spanish instead. I heard it's easier to learn and I had friends in school who spoke it so I could of practiced. I posted the link for our French readers. Luckily The Story Of Women is available as either dubbed or subtitled.