Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Stanford White Murder

Harry Thaw of Pittsburgh

I am Harry Thaw of Pittsburgh!

Harry Kendall Thaw, the Prince of Pittsburgh
Harry Kendall Thaw, the
Prince of Pittsburgh
This was the proud, trademark introduction of Henry Kendall Thaw, the man who would marry Evelyn and murder White. Like Thaw, Evelyn also hailed from Pittsburgh, but might as well have been from the moon, so separate was her world from Thaws

The heir to a multi-million dollar mine and railroad fortune mansions, servants, ponies, luxurious coaches and private schools shaped his existence. The Prince of Pittsburgh, Thaw had routinely jabbed his silver spoon at whomever and whatever had gotten in his way. From birth, his history was one of temper tantrums, public fits and violent outbursts.

His formidable mother, known to everyone as Mother Thaw, claimed that her sons difficulties began in the womb and grew worse with age. By age three, despite a frail appearance, her little boy could scream until he got his way. His early teachers described him as unintelligible and a troublemaker. By adolescence, the boys fits became paranoid and strange. He sometimes crawled under his desk and in a trancelike state, refused to come out. As a teenager, Thaw went from school to school. At each one, he seemed unhappier and less successful.

Being who he was, Harry had no trouble gaining admission to the University of Pittsburgh to study law. The University appealed to him because he could live in his familys palatial mansion instead of a stifling dormitory. Thaws ailing father noticed that Thaw spent little or no time studying.

Soon, William Thaw passed away. A wise man, he had locked his unstable sons fortune into a trust fund with an allowance of $200 per month for life. However, Mother Thaw thought this sum overly harsh for her boy. Soon, she raised Thaws allowance to a more comfortable $80,000 per year.

Thaw left the University of Pittsburgh for the prestigious Harvard University. At this time, a fortune and a place on the social register could still gain a young man admission. Thaw later bragged that he had studied poker at Harvard. His other activities included drinking binges, attending cockfights and romancing young women. His short career there ended after he chased a cab driver through the streets of Cambridge with a shotgun. Harvards President Elliot, unimpressed with Thaws assertion that the shotgun had been unloaded, expelled him.

In the years following his expulsion, Thaw lived a wealthy, privileged and raucous existence. His public fits continued, and he became particularly well known for overturning the tables of fine restaurants. He often traveled to Europe where he socialized with Lady Churchill and Baron Rothschild. He frequently found himself in New York, as well, where he claimed to be studying.

One subject that interested him was the theater, and he regularly attended Broadway shows. He squired chorus girls about town, despite dark rumors that suggested his penchant for dog whips. A huge fan of Florodora, Thaw took a keen interest in the beautiful Pennsylvania-born chorine who had become the beneficiary of Stanford Whites charity.