Monday, June 9, 2014

Taking Her Stockings Was the Last Straw

He was stretching them
Here are some of the things that Rebecca Kreger, a Pittsburgh resident in 1922, could deal with her husband doing:

  • Kicking
  • Beating
  • Keeping company with other women

But he had better stay out of her underwear.

I was somewhat surprised to stumble on this article from 1922 in which a woman had her husband called into court on a moral charge, because she claimed that she caught him wearing her stockings and lingerie.
I managed to get along with him until the other morning. When I awoke I went to my trunk for an undergarment, and I found that my husband had been there before me and taken it. My silk stockings and other lingerie had also been removed, and later I found that my husband was wearing them. He should have been ashamed to do such a thing, but he wasn't.
Mr. Kreger denied the charge.
Before Magistrate De Wolf [magistrate of the morals court] could put the question to Kreger, the latter laughingly said: "I never wore her — clothes."
Well, Mr. Kreger, if you didn't wear her damned clothes, what were you doing?

There's a Nathan Kreger who filled out a draft registration card in 1917. He's a married peddler with two children, born in Russia, about 1889, living in Pittsburgh, but I'm not turing up anything else about that Mr. Kreger (like confirmation of the name of his wife).

I suspect in 1922 when the newspapers report that your wife has publicly accused you of wearing her lingerie (and I found this in the Washington Times of June 9, 1922), and she has no interest in reconciling, you move. And you probably change your name if you can.

I feel sorry for the unhappy couple, but if snitching things from your underwear drawer is the deal breaker, what can you do? Kreger said that she couldn't and wouldn't give her husband another chance after that.

The article continues that
Magistrate De Wolf continued the case so that he could make an investigation into Mrs. Kreger's charges.
It was generally illegal in 1922 to wear the clothing of the opposite sex. Mr. Kreger might have been in for some trouble.
The angry wife did not state that her husband was wearing any of her lingerie while he was in court, but she intimated to a court attendant that he "might have some of it on."
Update: A clever friend sent me a private message in which she pointed out that under the laws of the period Mrs. Kreger might not have been able to do anything about the beatings, but that a charge of cross-dressing brought immediate action. The magistrate doesn't seem to be too concerned about Mr. Kreger's alleged domestic violence or infidelity, just whether he's worn silk stockings.
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