Tarentum, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of Death
Santa Monica, California, USA
Claim to Fame
The Girl on the Velvet Swing
Has Detailed Data (New)
Full Name at Birth
Florence Evelyn Nesbit
Winfield Scott Nesbit
Florence Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967), known professionally as Evelyn Nesbit, was a popular American chorus girl and artists' model whose liaison with architect Stanford White immortalized her as "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing".
Profile Bio Text
Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967) was the professional name of Florence Evelyn Nesbit, a popular American chorus girl and artists’ model whose liaison with renowned architect Stanford White immortalized her as "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing."
In the early part of the twentieth century, the figure and face of Evelyn Nesbit was ubiquitous, appearing in mass circulation newspaper and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items and calendars making her a cultural celebrity. Her career had begun in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York posing for a cadre of respected artists of the era, James Carroll Beckwith, Frederick S. Church, and notably Charles Dana Gibson, who idealized her as a “Gibson Girl.” She had the distinction of being an early “live model,” in an era when fashion photography as an advertising medium was just beginning its ascendancy.
As a stage performer, and while still a teen-ager, she garnered the attention of the then forty-seven year old architect and New York social lion Stanford White, who became her lover and dedicated benefactor. Nesbit achieved world-wide notoriety when her jealous husband, multi-millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, shot and murdered Stanford White on the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden on the evening of June 25, 1906, leading to what the press would sensationalize as “The Trial of the Century.”
She was born as Florence Evelyn Nesbit on December 25, 1884, in Tarentum, a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her actual year of birth remains unconfirmed; her real year of birth may have been 1886. In later years, Nesbit confirmed that her mother at times added several years to her age in order to circumvent child labor laws. She was the daughter of Winfield Scott Nesbit and his wife, née Evelyn Florence McKenzie, and was of Scots-Irish ancestry. Legend has it that so beautiful was the newborn little girl that neighbors came for months after her birth to gaze at and admire her. Two years later, a son Howard was added to the family.
Nesbit had an especially close relationship with her father striving to please him with her accomplishments. Mr. Nesbit was a man who did not subscribe to the sexist prejudices harbored by many of his male contemporaries towards women. He recognized his daughter's intellectual interests and encouraged her vivacious curiosity, and innate self-confidence. Cognizant of her love of reading, he chose books for her to read and set up a small library for her pleasure. It was diverse material, fairy tales, fantasies, and uniquely included books regarded as of interest to boys only—the “pluck and luck” stories so popular in that era. When Nesbit showed an interest in music and dance, he influenced her to take lessons in those areas. Although Mr. Nesbit displayed no outward favoritism of either of his two children, Nesbit knew she was her father’s “star.”
The Nesbit family moved to Pittsburgh around 1893. By all accounts, her father, an unambitious attorney, was an affable man and a feckless manager of the family’s finances. Her mother, Evelyn Florence, was an example of the Victorian cloistered woman, content to dedicate her adult life to the domestic responsibilities of running a household and raising children. Winfield Scott Nesbit died suddenly at age forty when Nesbit was eleven years old. Nesbit, her brother and mother were left penniless. They lost their home and watched as all their possessions were auctioned off to pay outstanding debts. Mrs. Nesbit, an unworldly woman, without the experience or inner resources to navigate the world, found herself and her children in desperate circumstances. Unable to find work that would enable her to earn money using her estimable dressmaking skills, a protracted period of time followed where the family existed solely through the charity of family and friends. All three lived a nomadic existence, invariably sharing a single room in a series of boarding houses. To ease the financial burden, Nesbit's brother Howard was often sent to live with relatives or family friends for indeterminate periods of time.
Eventually, Mrs. Nesbit, again with donated funds, rented a house with the intention of running her own boarding house as a profitable business enterprise. Loath to collect the rent from the boarders herself, she handed that responsibility over to twelve-year-old Nesbit, relying on her daughter’s pre-pubescent charm, markedly in evidence, to collect money from the traveling salesmen and other transient males who constituted the establishment’s core clientele. Many years later in 1915, Nesbit described this period in her family’s misfortunes: “Mamma was always worried about the rent...it was too hard a thing for her to actually ask for every week, and it never went smoothly.” Even at such a young age, Nesbit rec
Brown - Dark
Russell William Thaw (Son)
Coca-Cola, Prudential Life Insurance, Puck Playing Cards, Swift
Actress, screen performer, and model
Gibson Girl look
Cause of Death
Evelyn Florence McKenzie
Berlin, Germany, Paris, France, London, England
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