Thursday, February 2, 2017



image from Wikipedia
Born Florence Evelyn Nesbit, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, life was good enough until her father's death meant debt and poverty. Then her mother pushed Evelyn forward to support them both. As a beautiful girl in the Gilded Age she posed for artists around New York and was seduced by the married and famous architect Stanford White when she was a 16 year old virgin and he was 46.  (There are existing statues, posters, and other art that she posed for. Some call her "the Original Gibson Girl").
After being wined, dined, and taught to enjoy the finer things in life, after entertaining White's fetish, for which he had built a secret room, where she sat naked on a special red velvet swing and, well, swung,  as had other girls, Evelyn's introduction to sex was date rape with intoxication. Then, at 17, she became too old for Stanford's tastes.  It was time to move on and up.
She had a fling with the actor John Barrymore, and then became entwined with Pittsburgh Millionaire, Harry Kendall Thaw, who may have been unstable all along.  He took her and her mother on a tour of Europe and again she was raped.  This time it was sadistically. Had she entered into a "Fifty Shades of Grey" kind of relationship?
Evelyn claimed till the day she died, in 1967, that White was the only man she had ever loved.   She is quoted as saying, "The tragedy wasn’t that Stanford White died, but that I lived."
The book that is the primary reference for
this months Mistress of the Month!
Author Paula Uruburu, for her book "American Eve" 
made use of Nesbit's own memoirs, photos, and diaries,
as well as personal research, 
to bring the scandalous story of Evelyn Nesbit's life as a young woman to us. 
White was murdered by Thaw and in public, making it not just a murder but a society scandal.  He died in 1906, while dining out at what would become Madison Square Garden, when the jealous and perhaps revengeful, Thaw shot him. This event led to a public trial and generated lots of scandalous news.  Evelyn was considered a flirt and a Gold Digger and that notoriety still sticks with her when you research around her in the present day, though it may have been another case of blaming the victim.  (Consider the more recent case of Scott Thorson, the man who was kept by Liberace starting when he was a teenager.)
Evelyn may have been promised reward for her testimony in the trial.  According to IMDb,"Harry Thaw's mother quickly financed propaganda, even a film, to portray her son as a protector of women's virtues, while, at the same time, the media reported on the very-married White's many other transgressions involving young women. After her son's first trial ended in a hung jury, Thaw was retried in 1908 and found insane. He was sent away to a mental institution for the criminally insane in upstate New York, from which he escaped once, and was released in 1915 with reputation untarnished -- "a homicidal hero."

Evelyn, be it that she was continually sadistically or otherwise abused by her husband or not, stuck with him for a decade. They were married from 1905-1915 and had a son, Russell Thaw, who would eventually act in some Hollywood films himself. 
As I write this month's Mistress of the Month post, I think about EMPOWERMENT, about CHOICE, about SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS OF WOMEN, of how it is we (at least some of us) get to live, breath air into our lungs and claim value on this earth, survive, and even prosper, while others do not. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world where no one ever gets raped, or molested, or pimped out, or sex trafficked?  Wouldn't it be wonderful if victims were no longer blamed for having become so?
Consider reading, here at MISTRESS MANIFESTO, about the lives of the teenage ballerinas in France in the 19th century, who often had to prostitute themselves or find a man to Keep them.  Or perhaps about the life of Dawn Schiller, the teenager who was seduced and eventually pimped out by her porn actor boyfriend,  John Holmes,
Then, and this may make you seriously question how young a woman is when she makes the choice to have less-than-legal sex, read here at Mistress Manifesto BlogSpot about the Groupies, sometimes under the age of 18 (legal adulthood), who had sex with Rock Gods.  The ones talking about it say it was their choice - even if they were 14 at the time.  I ask you to do this having personally known women who started having sex at 14 and who say that's just how they were and do not seem to regret it.  But the women I know were with boys of the same age or just a bit older, boys from high school who lived with their parents too, and the element of POWER OVER that figures in when a man is much older, or rich, or a celebrity or powerful man of business, just isn't there.
EVELYN NESBIT seems to have made the case for not having been seriously forever hurt by her early sexuality.  It is historically true that girls who were just 14 or 16, depending on the state, were considered ready to legally marry for quite some time in early America and many of us have ancestors who married that young. Some people think teenagehood as a transitional time in life was just a modern invention of marketers, not a link between childhood and adulthood!
We want to know if she survived after this well.  Read the rest of this month where you will find evidence Evelyn sure seems to have!
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P.S. Use the Google Search feature embedded on the side bar to read about Scott Thorson, the ballarinas, the groupies, or any of the many Mistresses (and Mantresses) I've covered! 

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