Sarah Horowitz

Historian of Nineteenth-Century France

Post 6: November 1908 – Scandal

Figure 6.1: A photograph of Mme Steinheil’s hand wearing a pearl ring — what broke the case open

Previous posts have discussed how the June 1908 coverage of the Steinheil Affair fit into conventional understanding of crime in terms of who criminals and their victims were (immoral members of the lower class and elegant members of the bourgeoisie, respectively) and … Read more

Post 5: Meg and the President

Note: The following post was written by Sam Gibson, Washington and Lee University class of 2017, who worked on this project in Summer 2016 and Summer 2017.

Fig 5.1: MORT DE FELIX FAURE – Le Petit Journal

A decade before the grisly deaths of her mother and husband catapulted her name and personal life into the public eye, Marguerite – … Read more

Post 4: Debuting After Prison: Physical Descriptions of Meg Steinheil During the First Day of the Trial

Note: The following post was written by Megan Doherty, Washington and Lee University class of 2019, who worked on this project in Summer 2017.

Fig. 4.1: Crowds outside of the Palais de Justice awaiting Meg’s arrival.


Marguerite “Meg” Steinheil was a captivating woman. Of that we have little doubt, and the newspapers cast her as a sensational actress within … Read more

Post 3: June 1908 — Class, Crime and Doubt

Figure 3.1: Two members of the Parisian lower classes dancing the night away in 1908. The woman is showing a fair amount of skin for the time, reflecting the degree to which working-class women were thought to be sexually looser than their bourgeois counterparts.

This post takes a deeper dive into the commonly used adjectives in the June 1908 coverage … Read more

Post 2: June 1, 1908 — Crime Stories

Figure 2.1: Sherlock Holmes on another case.

When reports of the murder of Adolphe Steinheil and his mother-in-law, Mme Japy, broke in the Parisian press, the story was clearly regarded as a significant one. It was front page news for all nine newspapers (since La Croix didn’t publish on Sundays, there was no June 1, 1908 issue) and often had … Read more

Post 1: Scandal! Murder! Text Analysis!

Figure 1.1: Félix Vallotton’s L’âge du papier (1898)

What is the language of scandal? This is a question I have been working on over the past two summers with Sam Gibson and Megan Doherty, two Washington and Lee undergraduates, as well Brandon Walsh and Sarah McEleney, both at UVA. This is a first of a series of posts that … Read more

The Nitty Gritty: The Steinheil Affair and the Press

Because the blog posts discuss details of the Steinheil Affair and/or the press culture of the time, this page goes into more depth on the unfolding of the affair, its participants, and the newspapers being examine. I’ll be updating as necessary.

The Newspapers

The following table lists all ten newspapers studied in this project, their politics, their circulation (as of … Read more

Bibliography and acknowledgements

Note: instead of providing a bibliography for every post on the Steinheil Affair, here’s a running bibliography that I’ll update with new citations as necessary.

All the newspaper articles are available from the Bibliothèque nationale on Gallica

On the Steinheil Affair:

Darmon, Pierre. Marguerite Steinheil, ingénue criminelle? Paris: Perrin, 1996.

Lanoux, Armand, Madame Steinheil, ou, “la connaissance du président.” Paris: … Read more

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