Harry Thaw’s murder of Stanford White is so well known, I rarely see anything I’m not already familiar with related to that famous 1906 shooting at Madison Square Gardens.

So I was surprised when I came across Harry Thaw’s mugshot the other day. I’d never seen it. Around the turn of the century, male and female criminals were often photographed with and without their hats on.

Thaw’s mugshot published in the New York Tribune

 

Once I knew it existed, I went looking for a better quality copy. I didn’t find one, but I did learn that Thaw later wrote a bizarre book called The Traitor about his life that was published in 1926.

Harry K. Thaw’s strange book

 

It included a collage of pictures titled “Evelyn’s Moods”:

From oddbooks.co.uk

 

Finally, I came across a picture of Harry and Evelyn, long after their marriage ended, looking rather picturesque.

Harry and Evelyn, probably late 1930s or early 1940s, from LA Times 

 

Just a short post for today, but there’s lots of Evelyn Nesbit related posts on Old Spirituals, if you’re interested!

Evelyn Nesbit: A Star is Born

Evelyn Nesbit: The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

Stanford White, Old Sins, and Madison Square Garden

Evelyn Nesbit’s Broken Wings

Charles Dana Gibson and his Gibson Girls

This is a bit outside our normal timeframe, but I hope you like this little story.

In April 1937, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart William Blodgett, were still new to Oakland, California. The couple had moved to California from Saint Paul, Minnesota, with their 5 year old son, William Grinnell Blodgett II. One day, the boy was at a local park with two neighbor children, when he was kidnapped.

Leroy Gardener, 5, and Joan Gardener, 8, told police that a smiling, hatless young man of about 23 had approached them in the park early in the afternoon. He wore a gray suit and white shoes, and he suggested a race to the corner store for candy, the children said. During the race, the children became separated. Leroy said he saw William and the young man get into a brown roadster with a light tan top, Captain James Ritchie, sheriff’s investigator, reported.

It was not until an hour later when the boy’s father went to the park in search of his son that anyone knew about the kidnapping.  Mr. Blodgett appeared to be perplexed by the whole situation. He didn’t know anyone who would want to kidnap his son, and he wasn’t in financial circumstances to pay a large ransom.

Five hours later, just before dark, William walked into a gas station about 5 miles away from home.  An explanatory note pinned to his clothing read:

“I was going to hold this boy for ransom, but I decided to go straight. Please get him to his parents in Berkeley. I am in great need, but would rather starve than make his parents suffer. If they want to contact me, let them address me as Chuck in Wednesday’s Oakland Tribune.”

William Grinnell Blodgett

 

A grave, quiet child, William, was reportedly unimpressed by his adventure.

When his anxious mother asked how he was, he replied, “I’m hungry.”

His mother produced a piece of pie. A news photographer asked the boy to pick up the pie for a “picnic picture.”

“No,” said the child, “I don’t pick up my pie. I’d like a spoon, please.” After finishing his pie, William went to bed.

I’m a little torn about this behavior from William. On the one hand, it’s pretty funny he put the news photographer in his place. On the other hand, this child is so imperturbable, it’s unsettling. What 5-year-old gets kidnapped, dropped off at a strange gas station, and returns home to face a bevy of police and reporters, but has nothing to say, beyond a polite request for a spoon?

I’m guessing “Chuck” the kidnapper was never found. I looked at the Oakland Tribune for the following day, and there was one obscure reference that might be connected.

The newspapers didn’t relay anything William told them about the encounter, and I couldn’t find any follow up to this story. I’ve learned not to say, “That’s the last we’ll ever hear of this story!” because that makes it almost inevitable it will resurface later, but the important thing is, everything turned out well for William.

All’s well that ends well

A big thank you to everyone who has read Cold Heart and left a review on Amazon, GoodReads, and BookBub! I can’t believe it but it’s an Amazon category best-seller! If you happen to be reading this on January 23, the Kindle eBook is on sale for 99¢ until midnight (PST)! https://bit.ly/ColdHeart2020 

I wish you all knew what a huge impact your positive ratings and reviews make, but let’s just say: the book could not have done so well without your support! Thank you again!