Article ID: CBB652674885

The Curious Case of Chastine Cox: Murder, Race, Medicine and the Media in the Gilded Age (2019)


This paper explores the intersection of race, law and medical authority in Gilded Age New York through an examination of the trial and execution of Chastine Cox. This case was a media sensation due to two controversies which played out in the courtroom and the court of public opinion. For the public, Cox’s race inflected the debate over the crime and execution. Within the courtroom, however, controversy centred on the interpretation of medical evidence, which raised the possibility that Cox was not guilty. In particular, the defence strategy centred on medical theories of suspended animation, making use of new medical evidence about the line between life and death to prompt uncertainties both about the possibility of murder and the reliability of medical professionals. This paper demonstrates the ways in which anxieties about life, death, law, race and medicine were negotiated in courts of law and public opinion.

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Authors & Contributors
Paolo Cassoli
Di Cesare, Giuseppe
Parlato, Lucia
Feeley, Lynne
Duvall, Nicholas
Schlett, James
Social History of Medicine
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Medical History
Jewish History
History of Psychology
Environmental History
Rutgers University Press
University of Wisconsin at Madison
State University of New York at Albany
Peter Lang
Johns Hopkins University Press
Criminal law
Medicine and law
Forensic medicine
Trials (law)
John Donald Merrett
Song, Ci
Sbaraglia, Gian Girolamo
May, Rollo
Malpighi, Marcello
Jones, Mary Dixon
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
21st century
17th century
New York (U.S.)
United States
Naples (Italy)
Bologna (Italy)
St. John's University (New York)

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