Albany, Archive Priests, Archives, Criminal Justice, Forgotten People, John Jay College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, John Jay Sealy Library, Jorge Luis Borges, Library hours, Lloyd Sealy Library, Manhattan, Me, Monk Eastman, NY Sate Archives, Purveyor of Inequities, Snowblower
This blog has been the holder of stories about nice people who have been forgotten.
Now we must write about those who were forgotten with good reason.
This post is also a little different because it starts off about ME.
I like writing about ME.
However, that doesn’t mean that other people like to read about ME. Therefore I will keep the ME portion limited to the introduction.
The sky was full of snow that day. The local radio station had been screaming something about a buildup of fourteen inches of the white stuff. I ignored it; or rather, I put it out of my mind.
I didn’t want to think about getting all bundled up and then trying to shovel with those heavy motion-restricting clothes on. Besides, if I did not want to shovel I only had one choice; the snow blower. That method wasn’t really much easier.
The blower would toss the snow up in the air. The wind, with equal ease, would blow it back in my face. So my choices were to either shovel and lift or have a man-made blizzard blowing on my face and neck, only to have thawed (and still cold) snow drops fall inside my shirt.
There was one more choice; don’t shovel at all. Rather, look into something that had caught my attention several years ago. I had accidentally run across it on the internet; the trial records in John Jay College’s Lloyd Sealy Library. The physical library is located near the corner of 59th Street and 10th Avenue in Manhattan. The Sealy possessed a very complete set of microfilm with respect to crimes committed in New York for a one hundred year period starting in 1850.
After spending some time in the NY State Archives in Albany I knew that I had to plan a trip to the Sealy with great care. I had learned that you just don’t walk in and expect everything to be immediately available. You have to know exactly what you are looking for, where it is located in the archives and which hours are good for scanning files. The prime times are hours you can actually draw documents from their sacred holding places.
I was lucky in Albany. It made me realize how fortunate I was to have visited on the correct day and hours. I don’t know why I got up at 5 A.M. and drove to Albany on my first visit but it was fortuitous.
Once again I drift. It seems to be getting more of the pattern than a rarity these days.
Being a little smarter (now that I had the NY archive experience under my belt) I thought it may be better to look at everything listed on the internet first. I wished to learn about the Sealy and visiting hours, as well as what hours the archives were open and available. So that is where I started. Or rather I should say where I meant to start.
I was looking at the Sealy “Crime in New York – 1850 to 1950” and saw the viewing options and types of searches. I started drifting again.
My focus was lost because it reminded me of how I had accidentally come across this particular internet page several years earlier. It was because my favorite author, Jorge Luis Borges, had written a story about “Monk Eastman – Purveyor of Inequities.”
Oh, there were other very interesting stories in Borges’ “Book of Infamy” but the title of that particular story caught my eye. How does someone “purvey inequities?” I will let Borges tell you that story.
This series of posts are completely different.