Interesting Lady: The Gilded It-Girl

Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967) was one of the very first supermodels during the Gilded Age in America. After her father died, she started modelling for artists to earn money for her family. She moved to New York City to further her career, became a chorus girl and was introduced to Manhattan’s most renowned artists and illustrators. Soon her beautiful face was everywhere: magazine advertisements, souvenirs, calendars and she became the it-girl of her time. One of her beaux was the architect and well-known libertine Stanford White who sexually assaulted her while unconscious. Despite this, she began an affair with the powerful socialite more than thirty years her senior.

A few years later her very jealous and insane multi-millionaire husband Harry Thaw shot and killed White on the roof of Madison Square Garden. The story and the following trial were widely publicized in the tabloids and the scandal was soon dubbed the trial of the century.

Evelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beautyEvelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beauty2 Evelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beauty5evelyn-nesbit-for-lumberEvelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beauty-film-posterEvelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beautyEvelyn-Nesbit-it-girl-vintage-beauty4

* Most photos by Rudolf Eickemeyer jr.