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February 19: The Missing Hebrew Teacher

February 19, 2014
7976720709_bce0951192-1Marion Calisch, 17, described by the New York Times as “an unusually attractive blonde,” disappeared en route to her job as Hebrew teacher at Felix Adler’s Kindergarten in Manhattan on this date in 1881. She would be found six days later by a traveling salesman whom she approached for assistance, and was “restored to her family” in Hoboken. “Miss Calisch at first seemed reluctant to talk” to the police, reported the Times, “but . . . said that on the 19th of January she was suffering from malarial fever, and her reason suddenly left her. She found herself in a room on the upper floor of a house, and was attended by a negress and a white woman.” Calisch was dressed but denied access to her own clothing, and said she was “well cared for and was supplied with wine and many table luxuries. . . . She denied that any man ever visited her in her house,” and said she had escaped from a carriage when the two women were escorting her from the house. “When closely questioned by the detective, her memory appeared to be treacherous. . . . Inspector Byrnes says he is fairly certain that Miss Calisch was not confined in a common disreputable house. When her disappearance was first reported, he summoned all the ward detectives, and every known house of that kind was well searched.” —New York Times, February 25, 1881