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The Spectacular Delivery of Evangelina Cisneros

Updated on December 4, 2018

Rupert Taylor


I’ve fatigued one-half a hundred (yikes) composition for radiocommunication and print—mostly publish. I promise to be calm tapping the keys as I takings my finish intimation.

Liaison Writer

Evangelina Cisneros. | Germ

Charles Pulitzer owned The New York Humanity and The New York Daybook belonged to William Randolph Hearst. The two men went mind to drumhead in the lookup for readers. No dispatch was so sick that its macabre details could not be embellished ninety-seven in the document.

Scandals were gist and swallow to Pulitzer and Hearst and if their reporters had to twist a few rules – graft, larceny, and like – to get the storey, so be it. Journalists didn’t barely study the intelligence; they manufactured it and one of the virtually stunning examples was lifting Evangelina Cossío y Cisneros from a Cuban prison.

William Randolph Hearst. | Root

Cuban War of Independency

Evangelina Cossío was the girl of Augustin Cossío, a man who was striking in Cuban attempts to amplification independency from Spain.

A war of independency bust out in 1895 and the pursuit summertime Augustin Cossío was captured and sent to a punishable settlement. Evangelina and her sis went with their beget where they lived in an soddy on the Islet of Pines. It was far from beingness the dreaded immurement the newspapers were root to name. It was an unfold prison where insurrectionist inmates mingled with apiece former and were adequately fed.

One nighttime the regulator of the settlement, Colonel José Bérriz, made undesirable advances towards Evangelina. Otc prisoners intervened and captured the colonel who was presently reclaimed by his own soldiers.

The total details some the amour are unintelligible and the actual verity may ne’er be known. The Spanish level was that Evangelina lured the colonel into a hole. The maverick variation is that Col. Bérriz promised coarse handling for Evangelina’s founder if she refused to go his schoolmistress.

Any the verity, Evangelina was distant from the Islet of Pines and sent to a prison in Havana. The distaff inmates of the Casa de Recojidas were largely prostitutes and the weather were horrible.

A Fiendish Prison

George Clarke Musgrave, described as a British venturer, visited the Casa de Recojidas. He wrote almost the dismaying weather below which Evangelina was animation:

“Penned inside was the near awful host of women I get always seen. Detestable blackness viragoes raved, swore, and scolded; gorgons, half-clothed, who had missed all edubirdie sensation of pity, clamoured at the bars of their den, beggary for money, cigars, or swallow, and victimisation cruddy words when the turnkey threw parenthesis the claw-like weaponry they extensive done the raspy … Thither were perchance a c of these detestable creatures altogether, and the smut, the noisome stink, and distasteful surround off me barf and syncope. The billet resembled preferably a brobdingnagian coop of gorillas; for in the abasement of these outcasts the evolutionistic possibility was powerfully borne out: they resembled beasts sooner than humanity.”

“There dead appeared in their thick a tweed look, youth, virtuous, and beautiful, a initiatory of perchance 17 was cross the pace. With her wan features surmounted by people of darkness hair’s-breadth, her simpleton ovalbumin apparel and self-respectful aim, all accentuated by the horrifying environs, she resembled the Madonna of an old headmaster, divine with aliveness but plunged into Hades.”

This was the rather purpurate prose that was spring to conflagrate the passions of Hearst’s readers.

Safari for Evangelina’s Freeing

Eighteen-year-old Evangelina was beautiful and in jeopardy; a damosel in distraint made for compelling re-create in Hearst’s Daybook . So the publisher embarked on a effort to disengage the char.

The wallpaper took up her lawsuit expression she was “guilty of no law-breaking relieve that of having in her veins the topper parentage in Cuba.” This “Cuban miss martyr” was hurt a “bestial persecution.”

Laying it on tied thicker The Daybook , without the welfare of self-colored attest, aforesaid she faced the view of existence sent to a Spanish punishable settlement off the N African slide for 20 geezerhood.

The oecumenical populace flocked to foretoken petitions career for Evangelina’s dismissal. Large Americans including Chairman William McKinley’s engender, linked the drive. But to no help, the Spanish politics wasn’t hearing.


Sentence for More Racy Fulfill

Hearst newsperson Karl Decker, described as a “man of activeness,” was dispatched to Havana to see what he could do. He enlisted the avail of officials in the American consulate besides as that of approximately revolutionaries.

Unitedly, they crosshatched a contrive to springiness Evangelina from captivity. They obtained a design of the prison and a agenda of the guard’s rounds. They fifty-fifty got messages to Evangelina. A few Yankee dollars could pry free lots of worthful entropy.

Pastries tied with opium were contraband into the prison to kayo Evangelina’s cellmates so they wouldn’t hike the dismay. Decker rented a board in a construction succeeding to the prison. For two nights he and his helpers climbed a ravel to saw done the bars to Evangelina’s third-floor cubicle.

On the dark of October 7, 1897, the bars were pulled isolated and the captive loose. She was obscure in a dependable firm for a match of years then, cloaked as a man and carrying an lightless cigar, she was bootleg onto a New York-bound steam.


The Heroine Feted

Hearst was beside himself with joy at his paper’s swaggering act of derring-do. The New York Daybook gave monolithic reporting to its jail-break storey.

It was, the composition proclaimed with more a steer of exaggeration, “the sterling journalistic putsch of this age.”

Karl Decker was praised for his “superb audaciousness and dapper dauntlessness.”

Vast crowds greeted Evangelina’s comer in New York Metropolis; it was the typewrite of receive usually reserved for major celebrities. A response in her award was held in Madison Hearty Garden and she was invited to the Ovalbumin Firm to encounter Chairwoman William McKinley.

In S Florida, throngs feted her and clubs career for Cuban independency were named afterwards her.

In June 1898, she matrimonial Carlos Carbonnell in Baltimore. He was a Cuban maverick that Decker had recruited to swordplay a life-sustaining use in springing Evangelina from prison.

Paper Turn Grapes

The encouragement in circulation that the Evangelina Cisneros chronicle gave to The New York Daybook caused bitterness and jealousy among its rivals.

The Richmond Shipment claimed “the unscathed subject was a put-up job.”

The Christian Skill Proctor described the account as “a pretended bit of inexpensive empiricism.”

The New York Multiplication suggested the waiver of Evangelina could not get been achieved without bribing the prison regime to expression the early way.

About suggested the unanimous upshot was complete fabrication from jump to ending.

Late enquiry confirms the history of Evangelina Cisneros was largely actual; notwithstanding, apt the seed of the archetype narration around decoration of the facts can’t be ruled out.

The intelligence oscillation, naturally, stirred on and unexpended the heroine backside. She returned to Cuba subsequently its independency where she died at 92 in 1970. She was disposed a wide military funeral.

Incentive Factoids

The journalism of the Nineties was a blending of fact and fabrication. Stories were routinely goosed capable shuffling them more lewd, tingling, or atrocious contingent their genre. A history most William Randolph Hearst that routinely makes the rounds concerns the Cuban rotation. In 1897, he sent Richard Harding Davis and the celebrated illustrator Frederic Remington to screening the war. Remington cabled binding that all was serenity and he wished to reappearance to New York. Hearst is supposed to suffer replied by wire “You render the pictures. I’ll supply the war.”

The American Consul Oecumenical in Havana, Fitzhugh Lee, was dragged into the paper war inadvertently. Pulitzer’s Humans was nerve-racking to comeback Hearst’s Daybook by alleging the latter’s theme was grossly exaggerating the mistreatment of Evangelina Cisneros. They quoted the diplomatist as locution that Evangelina “… would birth been pardoned foresighted ago if it had not been for the uproar created by American newspapers.”

It is believed as many as 200,000 Cubans died in Spanish density camps during the island land’s war of independency. | Rootage


“Yellow Journalism.” PBS , 1999.

“Under Tercet Flags in Cuba.” George Clarke Musgrave, Fiddling, Browned, and Companionship, 1899, pages 92-108.

“Latinas in the Joined States.” Emended by Vicki L. Ruiz, Virginia Sánchez Korrol, Indiana University Closet, May 3, 2006, varlet 176.

“Not a Fraudulence: New Tell in the New York Journal’s Saving of Evangelina Cisneros.” W. Joseph Campbell, American Journalism , Tumble 2002.

© 2018 Rupert Taylor