The Judge Brothers

It's a Family Affair

Copyright © 2022 S. A. Perry

Adolphus Henry Judge: "a pioneer in pornographic photographs" and "one of the most extensive and most crafty dealers in these publications and he was called the king of the trade. He was one of a family of six brothers, all engaged in the trade." Yet, not much has been written about the family, hence my newest research project. This is a work in progress and, as always, I am open to new information and/or corrections so please contact me if you have information to share.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2022

The Judge Family Tree

(Names in bold had at least one run-in with the law over obscenity)

Children of Jasper Tomsett Judge (1798-1860) and Mary Matthews:

The patriarch of the Judge family, Jasper Tomsett Judge, was the proprietor for a time of the Cheltenham Journal and Gloucestershire Weekly Fashionable Gazette newspaper, along with his partner John Hadley. He later authored Sketches of Her Majesty's Household (1848) and probably Court Jobbery, the Black Book of the Palace (1848).

In an 1873 newspaper notice on the arrest of his grandson, Adolphus Eugene Judge, it stated "his grandfather, father and uncle had all been punished for the same offense". I did some digging and while I find no evidence that Jasper Tomsett Judge was ever arrested for obscene libel, he and his son Jasper A. F. Judge DID cause a scandal when, after obtaining copies of 63 etchings drawn by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, he employed publisher William Strange to draw up a catalogue of the etchings with the intent of a public exhibition. The Queen and Prince Albert were none too pleased about this as those etchings were private and personal for friends and family only, illegally printed, and never meant for the public. Prince Albert filed suit in 1848 for the surrender of the etchings, for the prohibition of the exhibition, and for prevention of publication of the etchings. His plea was granted. The Morning Post: Nov 7, 1848  |  Prince Albert v. Strange

Jasper's second oldest son Adolphus Henry Judge used many aliases during his lifetime: Benjamin Judge, Henry Judge, and Adolphus Delplangue (or Deplong). In the England census records he gives his profession as artist (1861), publisher (1871), and bookseller (1881) Four of Adolphus' brothers, and his son Adolphus Eugene, were involved in the family enterprise of selling obscene material...sometimes books but mainly pornographic stereographs and daguerreotypes. Sales were done through advertisements, and no doubt "under the table" at the shop, but Adolphus also sent unsolicited circulars containing catalogues of obscene productions available for purchase to private gentlemen throughout the country, especially to military officers, and personnel at naval depots, and dockyards. (The Globe 27 Mar 1866)

Reynolds Newspaper - Dec. 18, 1870

While many of the photos from the mid to late 19th century depicted simple nudity, there were maybe just as many that depicted explicit sexual scenes no different than what you would find today and, if it was a stereograph, in 3D. Kinsey institute has a large collection of these early photographs, but only the tamer examples are online. Examples of Kinsey's more explicit holdings can be found in a write up of their exhibition "Hold That Pose" on Art Blat.

Between 1859 and 1883, Adolphus was indicted four different times for selling and publishing obscene photographs and books, each time he was found guilty and sentenced to prison. At one point in 1872/1873, he and his son (alias David McDonald) were both in prison at the same time. His fifth arrest in 1886, however, was his last as he was sentenced to life. I cannot find a record for his death or any other record for Adolphus Sr. after this date so I can only guess that he died in prison.

Eugene Alfred Judge, Jasper’s third son, gives his profession as photographer in the 1861 England census. No additional information can be found on Eugene until 1870 when, under the alias of Henry Warren, he’s sentenced to 4 years for selling indecent prints. It is unknown when he died but his wife, a widow, remarried in 1877.

Jasper's fifth son, Theophilus Sebastian Judge (1840-1926), used many aliases during his career as a bookseller including Thomas Judge, Thomas Williams, Thomas Brown, Thomas Jay and C. Brown. He, along with his wife Jesse Dugdale (daughter of William Dugdale), operated out of an address on Holywell St. (possibly 32 Holywell St., see Herbert below) and Dugdale’s shop at 44 Wych-street, which he continued running after Dugdale’s death.

The youngest son, Herbert Constantine Judge (1850-1919) was arrested three different times between 1872 and 1885 for selling obscene books, the most famous title being an edition of Fanny Hill, seized at 32 Holywell St., an address formally used by William Dugdale. Herbert's wife was murdered 21 Jul 1878 by a man named Thomas Smithers (1847-1878). It's unknown if he's somehow related to Leonard Charles Smithers (1861-1907). Old Bailey court transcript

Stereographic card, c.1850s. Kinsey institute.

Timeline of Arrests

Adolphus Henry Judge

24 Oct 1859 - Arrested for selling obscene pictures under the alias of Adolphus Delplangue. He gave his occupation as traveller. He bailed out 10 days later. On 7 Feb 1862 he was indicted for "unlawfully selling and publishing divers obscene and indecent representations called Photographic Pictures". Found guilty, Adolphus was sentenced to 12 months at Clerkenwell prison.
Central Criminal Court: After Trial Calendars of Prisoners

03 Apr 1866 - As Adolphus Henry Judge, found guilty of selling obscene libel and pictures. Sentenced to two years.
Home office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales | Reynolds Newspaper 1 Apr 1866

26 Aug 1872 - Adolphus as Henry Judge and his brother Albert are arrested at 6 Exeter-Street for obscene libel. Adolphus was sentenced to two years in Clerkenwell prison. Albert was acquitted.
Calendar of Prisoners in The House of Detention at Clerkenwell | The Morning Advertiser 23 Aug 1872

3 Dec 1883 - Arraigned as Benjamin Judge for selling an obscene book in a public place. Pled guilty and sentenced to a total of four years.
The Whitney Gazette. 8 Dec 1883. (See also the source document in the 1886 entry below)

26 Mar 1886 - As Benjamin Judge, he was convicted on this date of "attempt to extort money for the possession of indecent books and photographs supplied by the prisoner, who had been sentenced to four years imprisonment for selling the same. He was sentenced to life in prison.
A Calendar of Prisoners Tried at The General Quarter Sessions

Adolphus Eugene Judge

02 Sep 1873 - Indicted as David McDonald for "Unlawfully and wickedly selling a certain lewd and obscene book at St. Paul, Depford, in the county of Surrey". Found guilty and sentenced to two years hard labor at Wandsworth prison. This is probably Adolpohus Henry's son, Adolphus Eugene Judge.
A Calendar of Prisoners Tried at The General Quarter Sessions | The Morning Post 3 Sep 1873

Eugene Alfred Judge

10 Aug 1870 - Under the alias Henry Warren, he was convicted of selling 14 obscene prints called photographic cards and sentenced to 18 months in Cold Bath Fields.
A Calendar of Prisoners Tried at The General Quarter Sessions

Theophilus Sebastian Judge

13 Apr 1869 - Indicted as Thomas Williams, alias Brown for selling obscene prints and books from 44 Wych-street and sentenced to 2 years in prison.
A Calendar of Prisoners in The House of Detention at Clerkenwell | The Daily News 13 Apr 1869

11 Apr 1877 - Arrested as Thomas Brown at 33 Holywell St. for selling and publishing an obscene book. I cannot find a record showing he was tried for that offense, only the notice in the newspaper.
Lloyd's Weekly London 15 Apr 1877

Herbert Constantine Judge

29 Aug 1872 - Occupation listed as book collector. He is found guilty of "unlawfully and wickedly publishing a certain obscene libel tending to violate and corrupt the minds and morals of the people". He is sentenced to two years at Wandsworth prison.
Calendar of Prisoners in Her Majesty's Gaol of Newgate

18 Jan 1875 - Indicted as "Herbert Judge, otherwise White" for "Scandalously selling to Charles Richard Chapman an indecent and obscene book entitled Fanny Hill". Sentenced to two years.
Calendar of Prisoners

4 Jun 1885 - Indicted as Herbert Constantine for "maliciously publishing and uttering to Walter Dinnie a certain lewd and obscene book and pictures therein". Sentenced to 12 months in Holloway prison.
Calendar of Prisoners

Additional Sources

• Church of England Parish Registers. London Metropolitan Archives, London. (Marriage and baptism records)

• Kinsey Institute

• UK Census records

Research Notes and Questions for Further Study

A question has been brought up wondering if the brothers acted as distributors for bookseller/publisher William Dugdale

Eugene Alfred Judge gives his profession as photographer. Was he producing the "obscene" photos they were selling or did the brothers get them from a supplier?