AMERICAN HAUNTINGS INK

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NO SMOKING... FOR WOMEN
On this date in 1908, the New York City Board of Alderman passed a municipal law called the Sullivan Ordinance that prohibited women from smoking in public places. The off-balance ordinance did not ban women from smoking in general, or even in public -- but in all public places. 



Right after the ordinance was enacted, on January 22, Katie Mulcahey, the only person ever cited for breaking this ordinance, was fined $5 for smoking in public and then arrested for refusing to pay the fine. Since the ordinance never even mentioned fines (surely an oversight by the all-male board), she was released the next day. New York's mayor at the time, George Brinton McClellan, Jr., vetoed the ordinance two weeks later.

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