Today, I’d like to show you some of the coverage from the Harry Thaw trial in pictures.
One of the best ways to get a feel for what people thought and felt when any event in history was happening is to go back to the newspaper reports… before things get romanticized.
Quick summary: Harry Thaw was put on trial for murdering architect Stanford White in 1906 over his previous relations with Thaw’s wife, Evelyn Nesbit. White had groomed Nesbit when she was a young model of fifteen years old—and he was 48.
I’m including a small bit of Evelyn’s testimony. Her description of what White said to her the day after he attacked her sounds a lot like a modern story of a certain powerful Hollywood producer.
White gave Evelyn $25 a week after attacking her, which is roughly equivalent to $875 in 2022. I wonder how readers–most who had a fraction of this sum per month–processed this information when they read it in 1907.
After the trial, everything went to ruin. You can read more about it in the posts I link to at the end, but in short: Harry Thaw was locked up in a mental institution. Evelyn never was really healthy or happy again. And Stanford White’s beautiful work–because he was a fine architect–was slowly destroyed.
Harry Thaw escaped from the mental institution. He was soon recaptured and eventually released. He divorced Evelyn, denied paternity of her child, and was later tried for another, more scandalous crime.
In 1940, Paso Robles Hotel, designed by White, burned down. “Only the chimneys remained today of the famous Paso Robles Hotel, built in 1889 by Stanford White, New York architect, and once the home of Pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski. It burned to the ground last night. The excitement brought death through a heart attack to Desk Clerk J. H. Emsley. The hotel was famous for its mineral baths, its rambling construction (it covered nearly two blocks) and its fireplace in every room.”
I’ve written more in-depth posts about Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Thaw, and Stanford White. Have a look!
- Evelyn Nesbit: A Star is Born
- The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing
- Evelyn Nesbit’s Broken Wings
- Stanford White, Old Sins, and Madison Square Garden
- Harry K. Thaw’s Madness and Mundanity