Summary: In the summer of 1841, Mary Rogers, a young woman known popularly as "The Beautiful Cigar Girl," disappeared without a trace from her New York City boarding house. Three days later, her body, badly bruised and waterlogged, was found floating in the shallow waters of the Hudson River just a few feet from the Jersey shore. A long celebrated unsolved mystery, this case became the subject of endless commentary and speculation in the new penny press and the popu ...show morelar novel, and received its most famous exposition in Edgar Allan Poe's pioneering detective story "The Mystery of Marie Roget."
In The Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers, historian Amy Gilman Srebnick brilliantly recaptures the story of Mary Rogers, showing how Rogers represented an emerging class of urban women and how her death became a touchstone for mid-nineteenth century concerns over sexual license, the changing roles of women, law and order, and abortion. Rogers' death, first thought due to a murderous gang of rapists and later tacitly understood to be the result of an ill-performed abortion, quickly became a source of popular entertainment, a topic of political debate, and an inspiration to public policy, including the 1845 New York State law criminalizing abortion. The incident and the city's response to it provides a fascinating window into the urban culture and consciousness of the mid-1800s. ...show less