She Bathes—Hey! Screen that Girl!

Collection

Newspaper story from the March 5, 1913, Chicago Tribune, describing Detective Fred Hirsch's encounter with a copy of September Morn in a Chicago store window. Hirsch orders the painting to be removed because, he claims, it is indecent.

Detective Fred Hirsch of the police censor bureau was walking in Wabash avenue near Monroe street yesterday when something caught his eye.

"By thunder, you're a peach!" he muttered.

Right in front of him in the window of Jackson & Semmelmeyer's photographic store was a copy of Paul Chabas' painting "September Morn," the original of which was exhibited in the Paris salon of 1912 and for which M. Chabas was awarded a gold medal.

Girl About to Bathe

It depicts a young girl about to take an early morning dip in a stream of water. The first blush of dawn suffuses the entire scene and glimpses of sunshine peeping over the tops of the distant hills are reflected in golden sparklets in her hair. She is strikingly beautiful. Her feet are covered—with water. Further deponent sayeth not.

Hirsch drew his book of police regulations from his pocket. Unquestionably the lady of the lake was on trial, and counsel for the defense was putting up an awful battle for her.

Sighing regretfully, Hirsch replaced the book. He had read the law and the law must be obeyed. Buttoning his coat and assuming his most severe expression, he entered the store.

Mrs. Florence Semmelmeyer, one of the firm, was in the rear telephoning. Without waiting for Mrs. Semmelmeyer to finish her conversation Hirsch said:

"Lady, you'll have to take picture out of the window."

"What picture?" she asked in surprise.

That picture of the girl without any clo—O. that oen right out here in this window."

Have to Take It Out.

Hastily concluding her conversation, Mrs. Semmelmeyer went to the window. Hirsch indicated the offending picture.

Why, that is a famous painting by Paul Chabas," she said.

"Can't help it. Gotta hand it to him: he has an eye for beauty; but it has to come out of that window."

"Who are you?"

"I'm from the police department, the censor bureau."

"This is outrageous," said Mrs. Semmelmeyer. "The original of that picture was exhibited in the Paris salon."

"Paris? Say, take it from me lady, there's pictures as bad as that in Chicago saloons, but they're in the back rooms. None in the windows. According to the law that picture isn't decent, and it's got to come out of that window."

He departed. When W. F. Kuehl, manager of the store, arrived a few moments later Mrs. Semmelmeyer told him what had occurred. Mr. Kuehl called the office of the corporation counsel.

He was told the police were the judges and if they said the picture must come out of the window it must come out. So it was removed.

Dublin Core

Title

She Bathes—Hey! Screen that Girl!

Subject

September Morn
Chicago

Description

Newspaper story from the March 5, 1913, Chicago Tribune, describing Detective Fred Hirsch's encounter with a copy of September Morn in a Chicago store window. Hirsch orders the painting to be removed because, he claims, it is indecent.

Source

Chicago Daily Tribune, March 5, 1913

Date

1913-03-05

Language

en

Contribution Form

Online Submission

No

Newspaper Story Item Type Metadata

Headline

SHE BATHES—HEY! SCREEN THAT GIRL!
Chicago's Loop Window Not for Gownless Maids, Decides Admiring Copper.
FROM PRIZE PICTURE, TOO.
But Paul Chabas' Paris Salon Exhibit Has Nothing On Our Saloons, Says Sleuth.

Text

Detective Fred Hirsch of the police censor bureau was walking in Wabash avenue near Monroe street yesterday when something caught his eye.

"By thunder, you're a peach!" he muttered.

Right in front of him in the window of Jackson & Semmelmeyer's photographic store was a copy of Paul Chabas' painting "September Morn," the original of which was exhibited in the Paris salon of 1912 and for which M. Chabas was awarded a gold medal.

Girl About to Bathe

It depicts a young girl about to take an early morning dip in a stream of water. The first blush of dawn suffuses the entire scene and glimpses of sunshine peeping over the tops of the distant hills are reflected in golden sparklets in her hair. She is strikingly beautiful. Her feet are covered—with water. Further deponent sayeth not.

Hirsch drew his book of police regulations from his pocket. Unquestionably the lady of the lake was on trial, and counsel for the defense was putting up an awful battle for her.

Sighing regretfully, Hirsch replaced the book. He had read the law and the law must be obeyed. Buttoning his coat and assuming his most severe expression, he entered the store.

Mrs. Florence Semmelmeyer, one of the firm, was in the rear telephoning. Without waiting for Mrs. Semmelmeyer to finish her conversation Hirsch said:

"Lady, you'll have to take picture out of the window."

"What picture?" she asked in surprise.

That picture of the girl without any clo—O. that oen right out here in this window."

Have to Take It Out.

Hastily concluding her conversation, Mrs. Semmelmeyer went to the window. Hirsch indicated the offending picture.

Why, that is a famous painting by Paul Chabas," she said.

"Can't help it. Gotta hand it to him: he has an eye for beauty; but it has to come out of that window."

"Who are you?"

"I'm from the police department, the censor bureau."

"This is outrageous," said Mrs. Semmelmeyer. "The original of that picture was exhibited in the Paris salon."

"Paris? Say, take it from me lady, there's pictures as bad as that in Chicago saloons, but they're in the back rooms. None in the windows. According to the law that picture isn't decent, and it's got to come out of that window."

He departed. When W. F. Kuehl, manager of the store, arrived a few moments later Mrs. Semmelmeyer told him what had occurred. Mr. Kuehl called the office of the corporation counsel.

He was told the police were the judges and if they said the picture must come out of the window it must come out. So it was removed.

Publication Date

1913-03-05

Newspaper Info

Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 9

Citation

"She Bathes—Hey! Screen that Girl!," in September Morn Archive, Item #38, http://septembermorn.org/items/show/38 (accessed August 18, 2017).