More from Gangs of New York:
A score of smaller gangs in Hell’s Kitchen were proud to woe allegiance to the Gophers and fight under the leadership of One Lung Curran and other captains, who had made the name of their gang a synonym for ferocity and Hell’s Kitchen one of the most dangerous areas on the American continent. Chief among these lesser bands were the Gorillas, the Rhodes Gang, and the Parlor Mob. The Gophers also had the support of the Battle Row Ladies’ Social and Athletic Club, better known as the Lady Gophers, which was composed entirely of women whose mettle as fighters had been tested in frequent combats with the police. This organization was led by Battle Annie, the sweetheart of practically the entire gopher gang, and one of the most popular figures in the history of Hell’s Kitchen. Like her illustrious predecessors, Gallus Mag, Sadie the Goat, and Hell Cat Maggie, she was partial to mayhem, and is said to have held classes in the art, giving her followers the benefit of her experience and researches. Over a period of more than a half dozen years Battle Annie was the Queen of Hell’s Kitchen, and acquired widespread renown as the most formidable female of her time. When the practice of hiring gangsters was begun by the labor unions and employers, Battle Annie earned a handsome income by supplying female warriors to both sides in industrial disputes. For many years there was scarcely a strike in which women were engaged that did not find Battle Annie and her gangsters enthusiastically biting and scratching both pickets and strike-breakers
1) Pro and anti Union violence perpetrated by gangs like The Gorillas and the Gophers led by the likes of Battle Annie and One Lung Curran. The future’s strife seems so boring compared to that of the past.
2) “Held classes” … so, in other words, this was not only early martial arts education in New York City but might even be considered education in a martial art indigenous to Hell’s Kitchen.
3) Jess Nevins is one of my favorite scholars/historians out there and certainly my favorite on Tumblr/Twitter. He’s one of the few doing serious research into pulps and superheroes (real and imagined and not just American ones) and the only one I know to have used Twitter as a platform for flash-lectures. Plus he’s got an eye for this sort of stuff.