Take one jealous drug addicted millionaire, an architect and America's most famous beauty and you're sure to end up with a dangerous and fateful concoction. And this is just what happened, all due to a false connection to a nude bronze statue named 'Diana', also known as 'Diana of the Tower'. In 1892, Diana was the tallest object on the Manhattan skyline. In Victorian America, this was as risqué as it got, commissioned by architect Standford White, she was created by American sculpture Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Diana is bathing by a woodland pool & senses she's being spied on and stands up nude and shoots her arrow at the young Prince & transforms into a stag. White placed Diana at the pinnacle at what was then Madison Square Garden & not the sports arena we know today, but an earlier building topped with an ornate tower and illuminated by a spotlight. Diana could be seen by every New Yorker. Children were rushed past by their nannies, so they wouldn't see the vision, old men used their spy glasses to view the naked beauty. This statue spoke to America, where modesty was on it's way out and overt display was on it's way in.
A real woman who came to display this spirit, was Evelyn Nesbit. Many New Yorkers believed her face & figure was the inspiration for Diana. Like a supermodel of today, Evelyn was first famous for her looks and then famous for being famous. Her life became gossip and speculation in a new kind of newspaper, one that New York helped create: The Tabloid. At the same time she was the personification of every man's fantasy. Stanford White shared this fantasy.
The famous architect was also a famous womaniser, even though married with children. He was rumoured to have secret love nests all around Manhattan where he seduced many young woman like Nesbit. He met her when she was merely 14 years old, he saw a breath-taking beauty and took her under his wing. At the turn of the century remember, it was considered nearly the right age at 14 to get married and have children - gladly times have changed. He invited Evelyn to one of his apartments and supplied her with champagne and pushed her on a red velvet swing. She became groggy and passed out. She woke up hours later with her clothes beside her & felt violated somehow. White made her promise not to tell anyone, not even her mother. Evelyn said in her own memoir that, 'I went in there a girl and came out a woman'. She didn't even tell the new man she became involved with after about it - at first, Harry Thaw, a millionaire playboy.
Born into a wealthy family in the 1890's, Thaw was a cocaine feign and indulged in anything possible. Standford White used all his influences in New York to shut Thaw out. The 2 men hated each other, understandably. Thaw had cocaine rages and threw furniture. When Standford White got him blacklisted from every club, Thaw took a tremendous front to this and got back at him by marrying Evelyn. On their wedding night, Evelyn revealed that Standford had taken her virginity, Thaw flew into a violent rage & over time came to assault his bride with a dog whip. Thaw realised that Standford White wasn't heart broken over this and it made him even more angry. He started on the notion that White ruined his wife and used her as a model for the statue that was at the top of the Original Madison Square Garden. Thaw's anger, fuelled by righteous indignation & cocaine, moved him into plan of action. He decided that White must pay with his life.
On June 25th, 1906 in an open air theatre beneath the statue of Diana, Thaw & Evelyn attended a performance, seeing Standford White, Thaw took aim and shot him in the face. White fell to the ground, people screamed and rushed away. Harry Thaw shouted, 'I did this because you ruined my wife'! Beneath the statue that helped trigger Thaw's rage, Standford White dies in a pool of blood. The arrest & trial that follow caused a media frenzy in New York and beyond. It was the trial of the century. It resulted in a hung jury and at Thaw's second trial, Evelyn took the stand as the prosecution's star witness. The jury thought Thaw was right to defend his wife's honour and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Evelyn, America's first supermodel faded into obscurity, dying alone after a long struggle of drugs and alcohol. And as it turns out, the statue that sparked the murder, wasn't even Evelyn at all. It had been created when she was only 7 years old, the real inspiration for the statue was Julia Baird.
Moral of the story kids....jealousy & drugs don't mix...keep it clean & keep away from the crazies! All I can say is....scandalous, haha!! There is much more to learn about Evelyn, but I just stayed with this story, but do check more out as it's quite interesting!! Have a fun Wednesday dolls!!