Wednesday, May 27, 2020

When things are not what they seem …

Remember Friday, when I shared this innocent little tearoom photo from the Library of Congress?

What I was most interested in was the two women taking tea. They're wearing pretty hats and appear to be enjoying their tea. Sweet, right? But then Vernona commented, "The woman in the plaid dress may look like a simple tea-room proprietress, but in her earlier life she was at the center of one of the biggest scandals and most-publicized murder trials of the 20th-century." WHAT? Vernona sent me to the Wikipedia article on Evelyn, and among other things, I learned that Evelyn had been a Wanamaker employee (for those of us who love old department stores) and later a model, chorus girl, and actress. And then there was the murder trial after her husband killed a prominent New York architect and socialite. What a sad but fascinating life she had … and I was totally oblivious to all of this until a tip from Vernona, who thought she recognized Evelyn Nesbit's name.

As if all that weren't enough, my friend Kathy wrote and asked whether I noticed that Evelyn appears to have only four fingers and wants to know what happened to the other one. I fancy myself a writer, and yet I missed all of this? Thank goodness I have sharp friends!


  1. My great-granfather, Allen Diefendorf, who studied with Freund, and opened the field of psychiatry in the US, mad history testifying in the trial that resulted from the killing of Stanford White. Harry Thaw, the defendant, was the son of a very wealthy family. They brought my great-grandfather in to evaluate Harry---who, it was reported, spent much of his time in his cell walking around naked---and declared that Harry was insane and therefore not competent to be considered guilty. It was the first time insanity was used as a defense.

    1. My goodness, the hits keep coming with this post! :) How fascinating that your great-grandfather studied with Freud *and* was involved in this case—and in such a history-making fashion too. Now I'm obsessed with learning more about Evelyn and this case!

  2. That's hilarious! Who would have thought?

  3. I agree, both fascinating and sad. I hadn't noticed the four fingers, either, but looking at the close-up, it seems to be the wedding ring finger. Wonder if there is a deeper meaning there??

  4. Isn't history fascinating? You always find such fascinating photos, Angela, and your observant readers find different things in them. I didn't notice Ms. Nesbit's missing finger and can find no reference to it on-line.

  5. Wow. Interesting read of the day.

  6. Tea time trivia! �� Donna z

  7. Now this was fascinating, Angela! WOW is all I can say!!


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!