7 Things You Didn’t Know About Evelyn Nesbit and Her Marriage To Harry Thaw

In the early parts of the 20th century, faces of models were not popular in advertising. They were not used as a means of selling or even promoting products until the face of a young girl named Evelyn Nesbit changed it all. She was on everything from toothpaste to magazine covers, beauty products, and everything in between. Because of her beauty, she also attracted the eyes of many men including Harry Thaw whom she later married.

Her marriage to Thaw would later end in divorce after he killed another man who had sexually exploited the model when she was much younger and also continued having a sexual relationship with her for some time. Here are things you do not know about the model and her marriage to Harry Thaw.

1. Evelyn Nesbit Before She Met Thaw

A model and actress amongst other things, Evelyn had a very difficult childhood before she later gained fame and fortune and then got married to Thaw. She was born either in 1884 or ’85; her exact date of birth is not known as she revealed that her mother changed her age at different times while she was growing up so that she could also work and support the family.

When she was 10, Evelyn lost her father and with a lot of debt, her family lost everything as it was auctioned to pay for his debt. As a result of this, the family would continue to struggle financially, having to depend on the charity of others to keep surviving.

2. Harry Thaw Was Not The First Man In Her Life

The financial stress on her family would later ease off after her beauty opened doors for her as a sought after model, an actress, and a performer. More than that, the beauty exposed her to men, some of whom wanted real relationships with her while others only wanted a sexual relationship.

Before meeting her husband, she had relationships with other men including Stanford White who first helped her and her family but later started having a sexual relationship with her. There were also others including John Barrymore, polo player James Montgomery Waterbury, as well as Robert J. Collier who was a magazine publisher.

3. How Evelyn Nesbit And Harry Thaw Met

Evelyn Nesbit
Evelyn Nesbit and Harry Thaw (Image Source)

Harry Thaw was a son of a coal and railroad baron. Heir to a fortune of $40 million, he saw Nesbit perform and he, like others, was smitten by her beauty so he arranged that they met. At first, he hid his true identity claiming instead to be ‘Mr. Munroe’. Their relationship blossomed and in 1905, they got married.

4. The Killing Of Stanford White

While growing up, Thaw had a history of mental instability. But more than that, he also believed that women must be pious. Even before he met Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Thaw despised Stanford for his relationship with women.

The resentment changed to something worse when his then wife-to-be, told him how White had exploited her when he helped her and how they continued having an affair after that.

On his part, White had no idea that the other man had any ill feelings towards him and even if he had, he wouldn’t have taken it seriously because he saw Thaw as a man of little consequence. But then, in 1906, Thaw shot White on the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden, killing him instantly.

5. Trail Of The Century

The trial of Thaw was deemed a trial of the century because of the publicity it received. As far as he was concerned, what he did was only an act of defending womanhood. He was tried twice; in the first, he was found guilty by seven jurors and acquitted by five.

At the second trial, he pleaded temporary insanity. As a result of that, he was not found guilty but was incarcerated for life in a criminally insane facility.

6. Details Behind Their Divorce

Although Thaw would later regain his freedom in 1915, his marriage to Evelyn Nesbit also came to an end around that time. The union produced a son (Russell William Thaw) who was born in 1910. The son grew up to become an accomplished pilot.

Although Evelyn Nesbit insisted Russell was Thaw’s son whom she conceived during a conjugal visit when he was locked-up, Harry denied paternity throughout his life.

7. Their Lives After The Divorce

After the marriage, Evelyn continued receiving financial support from Harry’s family even though she later got married to Jack Clifford in 1916. The union lasted until 1933 when it came to an end in a divorce.  She died in 1967 at the age of 82.

On his part, Thaw did not get married again. He died at the age of 76 in 1947, leaving a little of his fortune to Evelyn.


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