Philadelphia: n. p., 1853. First edition. Unbound pamphlet, contemporary (original?) blue paper spine reinforcement, 8.75 x 5.5 inches, 20 pages. Spine splitting but stitching sound; some light soiling and toning; a very good copy. Item #19480
“We visited the house of an astrologer in Small Street, below Seventh. ‘Crazy Nancy’ is the soubriquet borne by an old Negro woman who professes to ‘read the stars,’ and perform charms. She occupies a cellar under a rag and bone shop. . . . Close to the wall, on the bare, damp floor, a sick man lay wrapped up in a piece of old rag carpet. ‘Crazy Nancy’ takes in lodgers, besides reading the planets. She also ferrets out thieves for the police, and traces stolen property. Besides all this, Nancy drives a brisk trade in charms, and makes a good many sixpence by making ‘lucky bags’ for the superstitious and credulous negroes to wear around their necks. Nancy fills the bags with herbs, and after pow-wowing them she is firm in her faith of their efficacy.” Ostensibly a work of reform, the unauthorized republication of the findings of a Grand Jury presentment, which inspected conditions in the slums of the southern part of Philadelphia, Southwark, and Moyamensing, as well as various penal and reform organizations in Philadelphia; this official return is here accompanied by the narrative from Philadelphia Bulletin reporter Casper Souder, Jr., of an extensive tour through the cribs, dens, groggeries, and hovels of the quarter, replete with detail: “Babies are hired for begging purposes, and sickly babies are at a premium. The mother is always entitled to one-half of the proceeds of such expeditions,” etc. Sabin 51653: “Contains a fund of startling information and frightful facts.”.