Columbia Library columns (v.23(1973Nov-1974May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  v.23,no.3(1974:May): Page 3  


Edward M. Shepard and the
Gravesend Affair



^ OR a few months in 1893 and 1894 the comic-opera battle
of boss John Y. McKane against earnest Brooklyn citizens
for political control of the suburban resort town of
Gravesend provided moralists and reformers throughout the na¬
tion with shocks, laughter, and texts. Like many other incidents
of the age of reform, the Gravesend Affair has been remembered
as the occasion for an outburst of righteous indignation against an
arrogant political pirate. In his fine study of The City of Brooklyn,
i86j-iS^S, Harold C. Syrett provided an enduring description of
McKane's colorful career as Supervisor of the Town of Graves¬
end, defender of its Coney Island amusements against Anthony
Comstock and his prying Society for the Suppression of Vice, de-
fier of state investigations, and perpetrator of voting frauds.
These matters, together with much of the story of the fight against
iA'IcKane, were well recorded in the official documents and news¬
papers which devoted so many pages to the boss. But thanks to the
new availability of the Edward M. Shepard Papers, generously
given to the Columbia University Libraries by .Mrs. Ed«'ard Pull¬
ing, additional light can now be thrown on the affair. The Shepard
Papers offer some new answers to old questions, and also provoke
—and suggest answers to—new questions. It is now possible to see
  v.23,no.3(1974:May): Page 3