According to this site, in the run-up to the Spanish-American war there was a breathless account published in the New York Journal about a supposed provocation by the Spanish:

As the American steamship Olivette was about to leave Havana Harbor for the United States, it was boarded by Spanish police officers who searched three young Cuban women, one of whom was suspected of carrying messages from the rebels. The Journal ran the story with the headline, “Does Our Flag Protect Women?”

It was accompanied by a dramatic sketch by Frederic Remington across one half a page showing Spanish plainclothes men searching a nude woman. The Journal went on to editorialize, “War is a dreadful thing, but there are things more dreadful than even war, and one of them is dishonor.”

This caught my attention because the lurid sketch of the strip search is by none other than THE Frederick Remington, the same one whose Western-themed art and cowboy sculptures later beceme so iconic and evocative of the fantasy of the American west. Here’s a detail from the strip-search sketch (click the image for the full sketch):


Of course, the sketch is hopelessly lurid compared to the reality behind the tabloid account of the strip search:

Soon, however, the story unraveled. The World quickly produced one of the young women who contested the Journal’s version of the incident. Eventually the Journal was forced to correct the story. The search had been appropriately conducted by a police matron with no men present.

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