I’ve started working on the section about the Penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island (backstory: I’m writing a book about Blackwell’s Island for Algonquin Books). I find this great quote by Charles Dickens describing the stripes the men wore, and I wondered if the women wore stripes as well. But I couldn’t find a reference to what the women wore anywhere, not in decades of annual reports, or newspaper articles, etc. I also couldn’t find a single photograph of the female prisoners, although I found a couple of drawings, which kinda looked like the women’s dresses were striped, but it looked more like the technique they used to employ for shading.
Then I remember I have this great article by Emma Goldman, who spent a year in the Penitentiary. Surely she would think to include a detail like that! I’m looking around on my computer, but I don’t immediately find it. Where did I put it? And what was the title again?
Here’s the part that proves my brain no longer works. Recap: I’m specifically trying to find out if the women wore stripes. So, I suddenly remember the title of Goldman’s article. It’s, “My Year in Stripes.” But do I realize then that I now have my answer?? NO. I was just happy I remembered the title, and I read through the article, not realizing until I got to the line about what they wore that the answer was in the title. Idiot!
An arrest I recently walked by in the 14th Street subway station.