2. The Man-Monster Lithograph

A week or so after Sewally's trial a lithograph of him dressed as a woman, titled "'The Man-Monster; Peter Sewally, alias Mary Jones”, was printed in New York City and offered for sale at the shop of H.R. Robinson. Here is the Man-Monster print:

mary jones lithograph.jpg

Robinson was a prominent publisher of prints, many of them political satires. This publisher was also an innovator in the sale of sensational prints drawn from notorious court cases. The same summer he issued the "Man-Monster" print, he published another depicting a murdered prostitute, Helen Jewett, the subject of a sensational trial and media scandal. Here is the Jewett print:


In 1842 Robinson was arrested and tried after his shop was raided and the police seized $20,000 worth of print and visual pornography, leading to one of the first obscenity cases in New York.

Henry R. Robinson (right), depicted in a cartoon, late 1838 or early 1839.

Newspaper reports of Sewally appear ten years after his original trial. In 1846, alluding to the original notorious trial and salacious stories that surrounded it, a newspaper mentioned that “Pete Sevanley, alias 'beef steak Pete,” is “playing up his old game, sailing along the street in the full rig of a female.”