This mug shot of the "Queen of the Bank Burglars" is likely not her only one. Sophie Lyons, a New York City pickpocket turned bank robber, was in and out of prison due to her life of crime. She even once escaped Sing Sing with her husband (miraculously!) after they were both sentenced to five years for stealing $150,000 from a Waterford, New York, bank. This particular mug shot of Lyons was taken in 1886 after she was arrested for stealing a piece of silk from Koch & Sons dry goods on Sixth Avenue. Later in life, Lyons retired from the criminal underworld and published a memoir called "Crime Doesn't Pay." She emphasized her newfound desire to lead an honest life, but the detailed stories of her previous occupation also made it clear that she was a woman who defied society's conventions of womanhood, motherhood, and sexuality. You can learn more about Lyons and other 19th-century women who challenged the status quo in #RebelWomenNY
, on view through Jan 6.
Jacob Riis. Sophie Levy Lyons Mugshot, 1880s. Museum of the City of New York, 220.127.116.11. #sophielyons #victorianera #victorianwomanhood #rebelwomen #rebelwoman #jacobriis #crime #history #USA #US #NewYork #C19 #C19th #19thcentury