CHARLES HENRY PARKHURST: CLERGYMAN, SOCIAL REFORMER, CROOKED POLITICIAN’S AND CORRUPT POLICEMAN’S NIGHTMARE (1892)

Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842-1933) is the subject of this Cabinet Card photograph which is published by Newsboy. Photographer Napoleon Sarony has the 1892 copyright for this photograph. Parkhurst was a clergyman and social reformer. He was a presbyterian minister and from 1874 until 1880, he was a pastor in Lenox, Massachusetts. He then became the pastor for Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City (1880-1919). During the year of this photograph, Parkhurst began giving tough sermons attacking the political corruption in the New York City government. This led to the exposure of the corruption in Tammany Hall and subsequent social and political reform. He had a special concern about the problem of prostitution in New York City’s tenderloin section. He hired private detectives to investigate the houses of ill repute and their police protection. Concerning the police, he said “while we fight iniquity they shield or patronize it; while we try to convert criminals, they manufacture them”. He took his concerns and investigative results to court on these matters. He was President of the New York Society for the Prevention of Crime and published numerous magazine articles and books. Parkhurst died tragically; while sleep walking he fell off the second story porch of his home.

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