2/27/15

A Sketch, a Model and a Murder

Drawing from vintage photographs is fun, especially when the subject is a beautiful woman. Even more fun is the fact that this particular woman was a Pittsburgh-area native whose beauty made her famous for two different things.


Her name was Evelyn Nesbit and she lived from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The first thing she is famous for is that she was the model for the creation of the “Gibson Girl”. In those days the look of the Gibson Girl was considered the embodiment of pure American beauty. She was called the Gibson Girl because her image was created by the great American illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.

The second thing Evelyn Nesbit is famous for is that she was at the center of a famously deadly love triangle.

Evelyn made it big as a chorus girl on Broadway during the turn of the century. She caught the attention of one Harry K. Thaw, a very rich man who was also from Pittsburgh. Thaw used to send Evelyn roses wrapped in one-hundred dollar bills. Might not come as a surprise then that he got what he wanted and ended up having her. They even got married.

Problem was, ­that many other rich and influential men of the time were interested in her as well, marriage not withstanding. One of those men was an architect called Stanford White of the famous architectural firm McKim, Mead & White.

To cut a long post short, Harry didn’t cotton to the idea of having Stanford make a play for his wife. In 1906, on the roof of Madison Square Garden of all places, Harry shot and killed Stanford. It was a huge scandal that received loads of media attention, even for those days, and was followed by a trial known as “the trial of the century” seventy some odd years before O.J. Simpson.

All caused by one beautiful woman.

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