Monday, August 17, 2015

Adress* (for Address*)

In 1938, Helen Hulick, a 28-year-old Los Angeles kindergarten teacher and witness to a robbery, managed to cause quite a stir (and almost ended up in stir) when she came to court wearing a pair of pants. The judge (who also testily noted the "reclining on your neck on the back of your chair") ordered her to go change into something more feminine. Hulick demurred and later quipped: "I've worn slacks since I was 15. I don't own a dress except a formal. If he wants me to appear in a formal gown that's okay with me." When the judge threatened to hold her in contempt of court, she declared: "I'll come back in slacks and if he puts me in jail I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism." The prison matron gave her a denim frock to wear and the judge sentenced her to five days in jail. Her case drew a lot of attention and garnered hundreds of letters of support. The contempt citation was swiftly overturned by a writ of habeas corpus (which, somewhat ironically here, means "you have the body") and Hulick could now appear in whatever attire she liked. She returned to court a couple months later, impishly wearing ... a dress. This typo was blogged back in 2008, but I just couldn't help addressing it again. Do be aware, though, that since many languages (e.g., French, German, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, and Turkish) spell it with one d, you would do well to limit your search to English-language records and examine the hits you get very carefully. Even with that restriction, Adress* (for address*) appeared 290 times in OhioLINK, and in "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Helen Hulick, photo credit: Andrew H. Arnott / George Wallace / L.A. Times Archive / UCLA.)

Carol Reid

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