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Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso – A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Kali Nicole Gross


Shortly after the discovery of a headless, limbless torso on the bank of a pond just outside of Philadelphia, investigators homed in on two black suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs and George Wilson, a young man Tabbs implicates shortly after her arrest. The ensuing trial spanned several months, with court procceedings lasting from February to September—a record length of time for the late-nineteenth century. The crime and its adjudication took center stage in presses from New York to Missouri. The nature of the case allowed otherwise taboo subjects such as illicit sex, adultery, and domestic violenc ... More

Keywords: Hannah Mary Tabbs, black women’s history, crime, intraracial violence, murder, adultery, true crime, legal history, urban policing

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780190241216
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241216.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kali Nicole Gross, author
Associate Professor of African American Studies, University of Texas at Austin