Saturday, April 05, 2008

Murder of the Century

The details of the murder trial were considered so sexy and lurid that for a time, by presidential order, news accounts of the scandal were forbidden to be carried in the U.S. mail. These were The Thaw-White murder and trials of 1906-08.

It was the first "trial of the century" of the 20th century. Stanford White, the playboy architect whose firm designed Madison Square Garden, was shot and killed in public by jealous husband Harry Thaw, heir to a railroad fortune. His wife was the beautiful showgirl, Evelyn Nesbit.


kingstreetfarm said...

We actually lived in a Stanford White building in the city but I never knew that was the way he met his demise. She looks like she might actually have been worth it, at least in that picture. Va va voom.

Greg said...

As the story goes, White had a red velvet swing installed in his penthouse apartment above Madison Square Garden so she could swing naked in the room. If I remember correctly, she was only 17 years old when all of this was going on. This whole affair gave rise to the tabloid press we know today.

Al said...

This actually made for a fun song in the musical version of _Ragtime_. You could look up the lyrics ("Crime of the Century") but YouTube is always more fun:

Greg said...


That was great. I never new that is what the musical was about. The story was huge back in the day. If you could imagine today if Brad Pitt shot George Clooney because he was having an affair with Angalina Whats-her-Name.

This was the first time the unblinking eye of the press was focused on celebrities for months or years on end. People had a field day with it. This was when they coined the term "Yellow Journalism" because of a comic strip in one of the newspapers that had unrelenting coverage of it. It was Hearst's or Pulitzer's paper. I don't recall which.

Al said...

I think it was Hearst's, but I'm not sure. My History of Media prof from undergrad would be most disappointed -- oops. Nesbit is just one subplot in _Ragtime_ -- it's all about industry and labor and race relations and other issues of the time.. actually quite dark for a musical. I haven't read the book but I'd like to. It's got other fun songs, though, like the one where the chorus is "HENRY FORD! HENRY FORD!" ;)

Good job on the laundry room!! said...

Holy cow! BEAUTIFUL!