The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
Jean Gauntt, the Immortal Baby, 1939
The Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar Hoax, 1874
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Disappearing Breasts
The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, 1959
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
Petticoat Politics
Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy, was captured by Union forces on May 10, 1865. According to legend, he was caught while trying to flee disguised as a woman. The reality is less colorful. Davis later explained that, when he heard the Union soldiers approaching, he grabbed what he thought was his overcoat and stepped outside. But it was very early morning, and in the darkness he had grabbed his wife's coat by mistake.

The Northern media pounced on the idea of Davis fleeing in feminine disguise, and exaggerated it to suggest that Davis was wearing a skirt, not merely a woman's overcoat. Since there were no photographs of Davis's capture, the Kellogg Brothers, Connecticut-based photographers, printed up satirical "carte-de-visites" showing Davis in women's clothing. They first photographed a model in a hoop skirt, brandishing a knife in her hand. Then they pasted Davis's head onto the body.

Links and References
Collins, K. & Wilsher, A. (July/Sep 1984). "Petticoat Politics: The Capture of Jefferson Davis." History of Photography. 8(3): 237-242.


All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.