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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

FRIDAY, DEC. 16, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

Did “The Moonlight Waltz” constitute a menace to the virtue of Spokane girls?

That claim was advanced in a federal court case against a Spokane firefighter accused of “white slavery,” the 1911 term for the prostitution trade.

Dance halls commonly turned off the lights for up to 20 minutes while they played “The Moonlight Waltz,” according to prosecutors.

They intended to produce evidence that “many girls are led to their downfall” during such interludes.

“Procurers wearing diamonds and flashily dressed are declared to attend these dances for the purpose of ensnaring victims,” said The Spokesman-Review.

From the libel beat: The dean of All Saints’ Cathedral of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Spokane sued the Spokane Press for libel.

The Press, which The Spokesman-Review condescendingly referred to as a local “penny sheet,” had alleged that the dean had “been accused of misconduct” with a certain Margaret Brennan – not the reverend’s wife.

He asked for $50,000 in damages, an eye-popping figure for 1911.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1773: The Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest tea taxes.

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