Regular price $325.00

Late one night in June of 1867, a young Mark Twain was out on the town when some of his friends suggested that they make a stop at Harry Hill's. A combination of dance hall, theater and saloon, located on Houston and Crosby streets, Hill’s was just one of a number of similar establishments that had sprung up in New York City in the second half of the 19th century. Had Twain come in later years, he would have been able to see some of the greatest sport matches held in New York. Boxing and wrestling bouts were a frequent spectacle in Harry's hall with men from all over the world coming to fight championship matches there. In 1876 the manager had the idea of staging the first female fight. A tempting prize of $200, plus a silver-plate immediately produced two volunteers. Nelly Sauders, twenty-four years old and five-foot-six, was set to fight twenty-five year old, five-foot-seven inch Rose Harland, both dancers and dilettantes. On the day of the fight the house was packed. The paper wrote that both fighters, “appeared exceedingly nervous, were very pale, tried to blush and partially succeeded.”15 After three rounds, some of which were “lively and hard,” Nelly Saunders was declared a winner and both boxers left the stage arm in arm. It wasn’t a total loss for Rose Harland who was awarded $10 as a consolation prize. In the mid-1880s, with growing pressure from the temperance and moral crusades, it became harder and harder to keep the business open. When Hill’s liquor license came up for renewal, he was denied. Refusing to continually subject himself to shakedowns by police, Hill threw in the towel and folded up shop. He died in poverty a decade later. Although gone, Harry Hill’s was in many ways a harbinger of what was to come, and its demise did not herald the end of the dance phenomena. The population of New York City, increasing exponentially, clamored for entertainment and by 1910 more than 500 dance halls were active throughout the metropolitan area. This is an original, circa early 1900's photo depiction of Harry Hill's Variety Theatre.
This is an original, matted, photo depiction showing various shots from Harry Hill's including boxing. Bold, clear image. Photo depiction is clean with some soiling to matte. Not creased or torn. Edge and corner wear to matte. Photo depiction is 10" x 12" to a matte of 16" x 18."

Size: 16 x 18

Condition: very good