From the Evening World on September 12, 1890:
Where is Lillie Slitzka?
Strange Disappearance of the Equitable’s Sweet-Faced Newsgirl.
Lillie Slitzka, the rosy-cheeked, brown-haired, demure little creature who has served to the habitues of the Equitable Building their afternoon papers ever since she was but little more than a baby, is missing from her accustomed place in the mellow-tinted rotunda of that big business palace.
Lillie is fifteen years old, but she is small, and still seems to be as much a child as she was when, nine years ago, she first took her stand with her papers under her arm in the old building which stood where the Equitable Building is now.
The child was one of three bairns left to her mother’s care at the death of her father. The Widow Slitzka’s little figure and brisk, business-like ways are familiar to thousands of downtown business me, who have bought their evening papers of her at the corner of Broadway and Cedar street these many years.
The boys, two manly little fellows, have been at work for themselves for some years, and Lillie was also inducted into the work of newspaper selling by her mother. The family were close together in their work, and always went home together at night. They lived in a comfortable little flat at 162 Webster avenue, Jersey City Heights, and between them had laid up a sung little store ‘gainst a rainy day, in a savings’ bank.
Lillie attended the public school up to two years ago, coming over to “business” after school hours. Since then she has [unknown] typewriting and stenography [unknown] Mrs. Vermilye, 816 Broadway.
Two weeks ago the sweet-faced, shy little woman disappeared, and all the efforts of the police of three cities—New York, Brooklyn, and Jersey City—have failed to discover her whereabouts.
“Some time ago she became acquainted with Annie and Mary McGee, who live on the Heights at 241 Central avenue alone,” says the distracted mother.
“One day one of them brought a letter to Lillie, and after reading it she wanted to go to a picnic. I let her go, and that was the last I ever saw of her. I went to the McGee’s next day, but they kept me in the hall while Lillie went out by a back door. She staid with a Mrs. Richards, a good woman, in Park avenue that night.
“I had Mary and Annie McGee before Judge Wanser, but they told him they knew nothing about my little girl.”
Ex-Alderman Tom Cleary, janitor of the Equitable, spoke with much feeling this morning.
“It is all a mystery to me,” he said. “Lillie was a modest, shy little one, not like most girls. I always kept an eye out for her, and no one ever molested her or offered any advances to her except once, and I warned that man, a stranger, out of the building. That was a year ago.
“She was not well developed for her age, and offered no inducement to familiarity or attraction to any villain. I have interested every one I could in tracing her, but I fear some one has taken advantage of her innocence and lured her away.”
Lillie’s place in the rotunda is kept open for her return.