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Newspaper Page Text
known her sex. So must the fed
eral officers who arrested her and
obtained her conviction.
She is there today in the garb of
a man, and until this story carried
her appeal to the world, her. secret
had been locked within the prison's
grim, gray walls.
For three years "Art" Baker lived
among hundreds of rough men, who,
one by one learned her secret.
She was jostled and jibed and in
sulted until an appeal to the prison
doctor brought her a separate cell
and a little booth at one end of the
big room where from 1,400 to 1,800
men take their baths every week.
Even this bit of privacy accorded
her by the prison's executives has
not lessened the sting which this
woman's life, lived among men, has
brought on her.
"I will kill myself if they don't
send me into the women's ward," she
said, as I interviewed her at the. pris
on. "I have lived three years of
horror in this prison among male
convicts and they have made my life
a hell. "
"I cannot describe the long days
of labor among them in the jute mill
and the prison yard or the insults of
fered me as we line up and march
in and out of the prison.
"I experience the keenest suffering
and humiliation when bathing time
comes. The prison officials have at
last allowed me to disrobe and
bathe in a little booth at one end of
the great bathroom, where from
1,500 to l.SOO men convicts take
"They have also given me permis
sion to have a cell of my own, so that
I am not compelled to sleep in "the
same cell with a man convict. B6
fore those privileges weje granted
my life was even a greater hell than
It is now."
"Artie" Baker's story reads like
romance torn from the pages of fic
tion. She was born, a deformed baby
girl, in a little Iowa farming town
"40 .years ago.' ,,,,
Her mother did not know her sex
because of her deformity until sb,e
was 11 years old, and up to that time
dressed her as a boy. Then a family
physicjan was consulted and he told
the mother that the child was a girl.
"lly mother did not dare face the
ridicule of the neighbors by putting
me in dresses after I had worn- boy's . v j
doming, tne woman prisoner ioia
me. "So despite the physician's ver
dict, I went on living my lie to the
world, as a boy instead of a girl.
"The instincts of a woman were
so strong in me, however, that I be.
gan to excite comment among the
neighbors. The children called me
"In 1904 one of my brothers got
into trouble. A girl was about tq
become a mother. To save m
brother from prison, the, girl from
disgrace and at the same time to
quiet the gossip of the neighbors
about my effeminacy, I married the
girl and became the 'father' of my
brother's child. f
"This marriage occurred in Har
lan, Iowa, and soon afterward in pur
suance of my agreement I separated
from the girl. After that I left home
and taught school as & man in Iowa,
Kansas and Colorado.
"I was driven from my schools in .
all of those states when the superin
tendents learned that I was a wom
an. I went to Los Angeles and at
tended the revival meetings then be
ing cbnducted by 'Gypsy' Smith, the
"One day 'Gypsy' -Smith, with a.
Rev. Emmett took me to a room in
the Alexandria hotel of that city and
in the resence of Dr. Ethel Leonard
accused me of being a woman.
' "I broke down and confessed. Dr.
Leonard said I would be a normal .
woman with a slight operation.
" 'Gypsy Smith then bought me
woman's clothes and I wore them-to
his "revival meetings. There I met
and fell in love with a young man
named Fred Vincent We became en-
gaged.to.be married. Rev. Emmett .