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Mashers, Owl Cars, and Night Hawks

Mashers, Owl Cars, and Night Hawks

Chapter:
(p.138) Chapter 8 Mashers, Owl Cars, and Night Hawks
Source:
In the Watches of the Night
Author(s):
Peter C. Baldwin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226036038.003.0008

This chapter examines the safety of women riding in streetcars at night time in American cities during the 1800s. It highlights the repeated descriptions of harassment of women on the streetcars and suggests that women’s precarious safety on the streetcars was a particularly disturbing sign of social crisis. It discusses the establishment of a law of common carriers that made railroad companies responsible for the safety and welfare of the traveling public. This chapter also describes the case of Avery D. Putnam who became an exemplar of the masculine resolve needed to resist urban disorder after being killed for defending a woman being harassed by a drunken streetcar passenger.

Keywords:   streetcars, women, harassment, social crisis, Avery D. Putnam, urban disorder

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