Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Stanford White Murder


Evelyn at the height of her beauty.
Evelyn at the height of her
During the time Evelyn spent as Whites mistress, other men paid her attention. A young John Barrymore wooed her and proposed marriage, but the man who would become most significant to Evelyn was, of course, Henry K. Thaw.

Evelyn had heard rumors about Thaw from the other chorus girls of Florodora and been warned that he was trouble and she should avoid him. She did so.

However, in early 1902, an anonymous admirer began sending Evelyn elaborate flower arrangements and gifts which she accepted. The admirer called himself Mr. Monroe.

Eventually, a friend of Evelyns invited her to a posh restaurant for an after hours party. Although Evelyn thought it odd, she went. There, she met Harry K. Thaw of Pittsburgh, who revealed himself as the mysterious Mr. Monroe.

Evelyn stayed and made polite conversation, but things grew odder when Thaw pressed her for information about her relationship with White.

Before either man had met Evelyn, Thaw hated White, who he blamed for a humiliating snub by some chorus girls.

Thaw asked, Why does your mother permit you to know that beast? referring to White.

Evelyn kept her cool and politely took her leave.

Despite her attempts to avoid him, Thaw remained on the fringes of her life loitering about the theatre and occasionally showing up at her hotel room.

At this time, Evelyn was still deeply involved with White, and he vehemently warned her against seeing Thaw. Evelyn dutifully obeyed, and when White spent time away with his family, she kept company with the young John Barrymore. How she eventually found herself with Thaw is a complicated story.

The relationship with Barrymore put Evelyn in an awkward condition. Although Barrymore proposed, White intervened and installed the still-teenaged Evelyn in The Demille School for girls in New Jersey. Mrs. Demille, the headmistress and mother of film pioneer Cecil B., treated her kindly and saw that she was taught literature, music and French. Seven months into her stay, Evelyn was stricken with appendicitis.

During her ordeal, Thaw came calling. He lavished her with gifts and praise. Mrs. Demille encouraged the relationship, despite Evelyn having told Mrs. Demille that Thaw almost scares me to death.

Yet, Thaw had managed to charm not only Mrs. Demille, but Evelyns mother as well. When Evelyns attack had begun, Mrs. Nesbit had informed both White and Thaw of the situation. Thaw arranged Mrs. Nesbits transportation to New Jersey, and they were both present as Evelyn went under the ether.

When she awoke, White had arrived and agreed to move Evelyn to a New York City sanatorium. Both White and Thaw visited her regularly, but never at the same time. The two rivals always seemed to miss each other.