Public Program- Patricia Cline Cohen, Tim Gilfoyle, and Helen Horowitz

Lectures and Performances
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 7:30pm

Preserving the Flash Press
By Patricia Cline Cohen, Tim Gilfoyle, and Helen Horowitz

Obscene, libidinous, loathsome, lascivious. Those were just some of the ways critics described the nineteenth-century weeklies that covered and publicized New York City's extensive sexual underworld. Most of these publications with names like The Whip and The Flash have been lost to history, but a rare collection at AAS has resurrected this lost genre and formed the basis of a new book, The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
This rare collection contains nearly 100 issues of papers acquired in 1985, which augmented an existing small set already at the AAS. In addition, in 2001 New York scholar Leo Hershkowitz added another ten issues. These antebellum flash papers might well be considered an early precursor to twentieth-century tabloids in their willingness to exaggerate, oversimplify, and sensationalize the news.

Patricia Cline Cohen is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of The Murder of Helen Jewett. She has held three fellowships at AAS including the Mellon Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence for the 2001-02 academic year.

Timothy J. Gilfoyle is a professor of history at Loyola University Chicago and the author of City of Eros.

Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz is professor of American studies and history at Smith College and the author of Rereading Sex. She held a Mellon Post Dissertation Fellowship at AAS in 1999-2000.

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