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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in the Spokane County Jail: Doctor orders “mashed potatoes and dough” diet to inmate to prevent suicide

Charles Cooper, a prisoner in the Spokane County Jail, broke a safety razor into pieces — and then swallowed it in a suicide attempt, The Spokesman-Review reported on Dec. 21, 1916. (SR)

From our archives, 100 years ago

Charles Cooper, a prisoner in the county jail, broke a safety razor into pieces – and then swallowed it.

Cooper had been trying for weeks to take his own life. The county physician sprang into action and “immediately fed him a heavy diet of mashed potatoes and dough,” in hopes that this might encase the sharp blades and prevent them from cutting him up inside.

Doctor and patient were awaiting the outcome. He earlier “caused a sensation,” the newspaper reported, “by swallowing a pulverized jelly bowl.”

He was manacled so he “could make no further attempts at self-destruction.” Previously, Cooper had swallowed glass, lye, pins and other articles. He had just returned from two weeks at Sacred Heart Hospital, where X-rays showed pins and glass inside of him.

From the bawdy beat: The Japanese proprietor of the Logan Hotel, described as a “disorderly house” on Main Avenue, was sentenced to 30 days in jail after several women testified against him in court.

Three women, all of them described as white, said they were hired nominally as “chambermaids,” but were given no salary for that job. Instead, they were granted the privilege of “soliciting” as their remuneration.

One woman said she even paid the proprietor extra for “the privilege of plying her trade as an inmate of the house.”