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Chorus girls laid out louts

125 years ago, 1895

Taken directly from the Youngstown Vindicator:

“Two Mashers called down very hard by two chorus girls, insist on escorting them. One of the dudes marked for life by a bottle of cosmetic.”

One of the chorus girls of the D’Arville opera company laid out two young men from Niles with a cold cream bottle and the vanquished mashers only escaped more severe treatment at the hands of the male members of the company by flight.

The young men from Niles had come to this city to see the show, and they had gone out between acts to see a man and evidently had seen several men, judging from their condition, after the show was over. These young men from Niles, like a great many others, imagined because a girl appears on stage and wears shorts or abbreviated skirts, that she is just dying to go out after the show and have a good time with any Willie boy who has money to buy oysters and bottled beer, so they thought they would take the pick of the girls of the chorus and go out and make a night of it.

They posted themselves at the corner of Central Square near the cafe and in all the glory of their light fall overcoats and Fedora hats, they waited for the appearance of the girls. Very soon two of the girls of the chorus came along on their way to the hotel and entered the cafe car to get a lunch. One of the girls carried in her hand a cold cream bottle, and just as she was about to step into the cafe, the smaller and more verdant of the two young men from Niles stepped forward and made some remark. For this reply he got a backhanded slap in the face that sent him sprawling on the sidewalk. The other would be masher had entered the cafe car, and made an attempt to get familiar with the girl with the cold cream bottle. In resentment of his advances, the girl struck him with the bottle, cutting a gash above his eyes the width of his forehead, knocking him down and the blood from the cut smeared his face and shirt front.

The sound of the blow, and the racket caused by the disturbance, attracted the attention of several gentlemen of the company, who hurried to the girls’ assistance, and would have finished the work of the chastisement, but the young men from Niles sought safety in flight.

The fellow whose head had been cut went into the Park Hotel, where he was stopping, and had his wounds attended by a surgeon. He gave his name as Lynch and claimed to represent a Pittsburgh area tea house. The identity of the other fellow could not be learned. Lynch was afterward arrested by Officer Smith and taken to police headquarters, but was released on deposit.

Those who witnessed the occurrence at the cafe car said that the young men from Niles only received what they richly deserved, and hereafter they should take heed of the experience of the Duke of Marlborough and leave the chorus girls alone.

40 years ago, 1980

What started as a collection of 168 books locked in a school cupboard marked its 100th anniversary as the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Incorporation papers were signed on Oct. 27, 1880, to form the Youngstown Library Association. Those early signers included Reuben McMillan, the superintendent of Youngstown schools in 1880. He could never have imagined the expanded services over those first 100 years including computer terminals, outreach services to those unable to visit library locations, and multimedia programs.

The original collection of books was part of an early library operation dating back to the 1840s when the Ohio General Assembly approved a law that provided books to every school district in the state. Those books were kept at the Wood Street School in a locked case and only opened once or twice a year. Sarah E. Pearson and Julia A. Hitchcock, Youngstown teachers, took charge of that collection in the 1870s when the library was moved to the school board’s downtown office.

In 1898, the Youngstown Library Association bought the home of Richard and Henrietta Brown at the corner of Market and Front Streets for use as a library building. The association and its new library were named in honor of McMillan, and they remained at that location until 1907 when Mahoning County commissioners bought the land for the new county courthouse.

Funds from the sale, along with a substantial gift from Andrew Carnegie, were used to build and open the new Reuben McMillan Free Library on Wick Avenue in 1910. The next several years saw expanded services and public offerings but it was not always an easy task. World War I impacted the library financially but a 1920 levy got the association back on stable footing. The following decades saw new branches built in the city and eventually throughout the county.

• Compiled from the archives of the Youngstown Vindicator by Traci Manning, MVHS Curator of Education

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