Evelyn Nesbit
Model, chorus girl, actress
Evelyn Nesbit
Evelyn Nesbit 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.
Biography
Evelyn Nesbit's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Evelyn Nesbit
News
News abour Evelyn Nesbit from around the web
The Grilled Cheese Martini vs. the Honeybee Cocktail - Eater NY (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
That aside, the Cellar at Beecher's on 20th and Broadway is a fantastic space, looking all the part like an industrial drawing room that perhaps Evelyn Nesbit might have a enjoyed a glass of French bubbles in (she does, after all, have a cocktail named
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New Rep Opens Its 28th Season With RENT, Opens 9/6 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Other New Rep credits include: The World Goes 'Round (Woman 3), The Last Five Years (Cathy), Hot Mikado (Pitti-Sing), Speed-the-Plow (Karen), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), The Wild Party (ensemble/Queenie u/s), Ragtime (Evelyn Nesbit), Into the Woods
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Renaissance's 'Ragtime' features big, busy cast - Mansfield News Journal
Google News - over 5 years
One by one, the personal journeys of several historic figures will come alive, including auto tycoon Henry Ford, famed educator Booker T. Washington and chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit. Their stories celebrate the struggle between tradition and independence,
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RAGTIME 'Probable' to Headline Shaw Festival Next Year - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Their personal journeys come alive as historical figures offer guidance and diversion - including Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, and the infamous Evelyn Nesbit. Together their stories celebrate the struggle between tradition and
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Lyric Theatre Presents A CHORUS LINE, 8/2-6 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Lexi Windsor, playing Sheila in A Chorus Line, was seen as Evelyn Nesbit in Lyric's July production of Ragtime. She was also recently seen at Lyric at the Plaza as Gretchen in Boeing Boeing and Columbia in Lyric's 2010 production of The Rocky Horror
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In Casey Anthony case, we're found guilty - Korea Times
Google News - over 5 years
He was the son of an industrial magnate, who in 1906 murdered the famous architect Stanford White at Madison Square Garden because Thaw's wife, the chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit, said White had debauched her. Thaw had two "trials of the century" ― the
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Literary Tales Of Real-Life Crimes - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Matters like Harry Thaw's 1906 murder of architect Stanford White, the ex-lover of famous beauty Evelyn Nesbit, Thaw's new wife. "Ragtime" concentrates on an upper-class New Rochelle family, but there are plenty of famous walk-ons, including Harry
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Review: Hangar stages inspiring spectacle in 'Ragtime' - Ithaca Journal
Google News - over 5 years
There are some false notes here — the scene of Sarah's presidential appeal needs a crowd, not two cops; Little Boy is just too tall (effectively making his uncle look more like his brother); and showgirl Evelyn Nesbit seems too contemporary — but
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Laurie Wells, Josh Tower and More Set for Hangar Theatre's Ragtime - Playbill.com
Google News - over 5 years
The musical, according to press notes, "intertwines the stories of three diverse American families, played out against the background of actual historical celebrities like Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman and Evelyn Nesbit
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HW Brands's The Murder of Jim Fisk recalls an era of scandal and corporate greed - Straight.com
Google News - over 5 years
After all, at the center of all this corporate raiding is a smouldering, ill-starred, and decidedly deadly romantic triangle—less well-known, perhaps, than that other fin-de-siècle triangle featuring Evelyn Nesbit and her red velvet swing,
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Lyric Theatre prepares to launch 49th season - NewsOK.com
Google News - over 5 years
Many historical figures also appear in “Ragtime,” including Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Booker T. Washington, JP Morgan, Henry Ford, Stanford White, Harry Thaw, Adm. Robert Peary and Emma Goldman. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Tony Award-winning
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The Discovery of America and New York in 1892 - Booktryst (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
... experiences Madison Square Rooftop Garden, later the scene for Harry Thaw's murder of architect Stanford White over the alluring Evelyn Nesbit; a New York barroom; the Eden Musée (a toney wax museum and art center); a casino; etc. and so forth
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El Landor Theatre acogerá el estreno del primer revival londinense de RAGTIME ... - todoMUSICALES
Google News - over 5 years
La situación política y social, la inmigración, la pobreza, el racismo marcan gran parte del relato, pero son los cameos de personajes históricos los que ponen la guinda: Houidini, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington y Evelyn Nesbit, son no sólo
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They Call it 'Ragtime': - encore Online
Google News - almost 6 years
The celebrities in the performance help weave the fabric of our country's pop culture, including our obsession with stars, like the first pinup girl, Evelyn Nesbit. Caitlin Becka brings the sexy starlet to life with curvaceous, tawdry moves and in
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David Brussat: Triumvirate: Rosecliff, Semes & White - Providence Journal
Google News - almost 6 years
Scandal refers, of course, to Stanford White's murder by the rich husband of Evelyn Nesbit, a chorus-line dancer seduced by White years before her marriage. But husband Harry K. Thaw couldn't get past her past, and held a fervent grudge
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Melting Point - Memphis Flyer
Google News - almost 6 years
... the lives of historical headline-makers like the great illusionist Harry Houdini, industrialist financier JP Morgan, African-American political leader Booker T. Washington, vaudeville swinger Evelyn Nesbit, and socialist provocateur Emma Goldman
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Get a feel for old New York glamour at the Chatwal - Globe and Mail
Google News - almost 6 years
For example, the elevators are equipped with video monitors showing the movie American Eve, which details White's tempestuous relationship with the model Evelyn Nesbit that ended in his murder in 1906. You'd have to ride the elevator about 120 times to
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On This Day in History: May 5 Fire Destroys Sheepshead Bay Landmark - Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Google News - almost 6 years
... including Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell, and well-known scions of the day such as Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and Harry K. Thaw (best known for murdering architect Stanford White in a jealous rage over chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit
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Auditions for 'Ragtime' at Stroudsburg's Sherman Theater - Pocono Record
Google News - almost 6 years
Historical figures who are characters in the show include Booker T. Washington, Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, JP Morgan, Henry Ford and Evelyn Nesbit. Auditions will be held 6 to 8 pm May 8 and 7 to 9 pm May 9, and at a time to be announced for Tuesday
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Evelyn Nesbit
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1967
    Age 82
    Nesbit died in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California, on January 17, 1967, at the age of 82.
    More Details Hide Details Nesbit was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
  • 1955
    Age 70
    She was a technical adviser on the 1955 movie The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing for which she was paid $10,000.
    More Details Hide Details The movie ultimately proved to be a highly fictionalized account of events in Nesbit's life. She lived quietly for several years in Northfield, New Jersey.
  • 1947
    Age 62
    Harry Kendall Thaw died in 1947; in his will he left Nesbit a $10,000 bequest from an estate valued at over one million dollars.
    More Details Hide Details Nesbit published two memoirs, The Story of My Life (1914), and Prodigal Days (1934). During the years of World War II, Nesbit lived in Los Angeles, teaching ceramics and sculpting at the Grant Beach School of Arts and Crafts.
  • FORTIES
  • 1926
    Age 41
    Harry Kendall Thaw, who as late as 1926 was still keeping his ex-wife under surveillance by private detectives, went to Chicago where Nesbit was hospitalized.
    More Details Hide Details He learned his ex-wife, despondent after losing her job dancing at the Moulin Rouge Café, had swallowed a disinfectant in a suicide attempt. The reunion generated speculation on the status of their relationship. One newspaper reported on January 8, 1926: “Thaw to Visit Chicago: Reconciliation Rumor.” In an interview with the press, Thaw revealed he had for some time been giving Nesbit ten dollars a day through an attorney as a “token of pleasant memories of the past when we were happy.” They were photographed together in June 1926 and Nesbit gave an interview to The New York Times, stating that she and Thaw had reconciled, but nothing came of the renewed relationship.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1918
    Age 33
    Clifford came to feel his wife’s notoriety an insurmountable issue, his own identity being subsumed into that of “Mr. Evelyn Nesbit.” He left her in 1918, and she divorced him in 1933.
    More Details Hide Details In the 1920s, Nesbit became the proprietor of either a tearoom or speakeasy located in the West Fifties in Manhattan. The actual libation served remains obscured in history. She may have run more than one establishment during this decade. It was during this period and well into the 1930s that Nesbit struggled with alcoholism and morphine addiction. During the 1930s she worked on burlesque stages throughout the country, though not as a stripper. In 1939, the then 53-year-old Nesbit told a New York Times reporter: "I wish I were a strip-teaser. I wouldn’t have to bother with so many clothes."
  • 1916
    Age 31
    In 1916 she married dancer Jack Clifford; the two had worked up a stage act together.
    More Details Hide Details Their marriage was not a success. Nesbit seemed unable to start a new life as the public refused to let her relinquish her past. Audiences came to see “the lethal beauty” associated with the “playboy killer,” and the murder of Stanford White.
  • 1915
    Age 30
    Nesbit divorced Thaw in 1915.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1914
    Age 29
    Nesbit was left to her own resources to provide for herself. She found modest success working in vaudeville, and on the silent screen. In 1914, she appeared in Threads of Destiny produced at the Betzwood studios of film producer Siegmund Lubin.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1911
    Age 26
    In 1911, Nesbit reconciled with her mother, who took on the role of caregiver for the child while Nesbit sought out opportunities to support herself and her son.
    More Details Hide Details Russell Thaw appeared with his mother in at least six films: Threads of Destiny (1918), Redemption (1917), Her Mistake (1918), The Woman Who Gave (1918), I Want to Forget (1918), and The Hidden Woman (1922). Russell Thaw became an accomplished pilot, placing third in the 1935 Bendix Trophy race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, ahead of Amelia Earhart in fifth place, and during World War II, Thaw became one of the most noted American pilots, obtaining five air victories, three of them as part of the 103rd Squadron. Throughout the prolonged court proceedings, Nesbit had received financial support from the Thaws. These payments, made to her through the Thaw attorneys, had been inconsistent and far from generous. After the close of the second trial, the Thaws virtually abandoned her, cutting off all funds. Nesbit’s grandson, Russell Thaw, recounted a piece of family lore in a 2005 interview with the Los Angeles Times. Purportedly, Nesbit received the amount of $25,000 from the Thaw family after the culmination of the trials. To spite the Thaws, Nesbit then donated the money to political anarchist Emma Goldman who subsequently turned it over to investigative journalist and political activist John Reed.
  • 1910
    Age 25
    Nesbit gave birth to a son, Russell William Thaw, on October 25, 1910 in Berlin, Germany.
    More Details Hide Details Nesbit always maintained he was Thaw’s biological child, conceived during a conjugal visit to Thaw while he was confined at Matteawan. Thaw throughout his life denied paternity. Speculatively, she may have allowed another – e.g., the wealthy Collier, Waterbury or her lover Barrymore – back into her life.
  • 1905
    Age 20
    Nesbit and Thaw were wed on April 4, 1905.
    More Details Hide Details Thaw himself chose Nesbit's wedding dress. Eschewing the traditional white gown, he dressed her in a black traveling suit decorated with brown trim. Newspapers announced that the new Mrs. Thaw was now the "Mistress of Millions." The two took up residence in the Thaw family home, Lyndhurst, in Pittsburgh. Isolated with “Mama Thaw,” subject to her strict religious precepts and the puritanical like-minded social group, which assembled in the Thaw home, Nesbit became the proverbial “bird in a gilded cage.” In later years Nesbit took measure of life in the Thaw household, saying that the Thaws were anything but intellectuals and their value system was shallow and self-serving: “the plane of materialism which finds joy in the little things that do not matter— the appearance of... things.” Envisioning a life of travel and entertaining, the newlywed Mrs. Harry Kendall Thaw was rudely awakened to a reality markedly different. Thaw himself entered into his mother’s sphere of influence, seemingly without protest, taking on the pose of pious son and husband. It was at this time that Thaw instituted a zealous campaign to expose Stanford White, corresponding with the reformer Anthony Comstock, the crusader for moral probity and the expulsion of vice. Because of his activity, Thaw became convinced that he was being stalked by members of the notorious Monk Eastman Gang, hired by White to kill him. Thaw started to carry a gun.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1902
    Age 17
    In 1902, a romance blossomed between Nesbit and the young Barrymore.
    More Details Hide Details It was a unique relationship for Nesbit in that the 21-year-old Barrymore was a contemporary, a man close to her own age. He was a witty, fun-loving companion and Nesbit became smitten with him. After an evening out, the couple often returned to Barrymore’s apartment remaining there together well into the early-morning hours. Avoiding the family path of entering the acting world, Barrymore was casually pursuing a career as illustrator and cartoonist. Although he showed some promise in his chosen field, his salary was small and Nesbit's mother considered him an unsuitable match for her 17-year-old daughter. Both Mrs. Nesbit and White were greatly displeased when they found out about the relationship. White engineered a plan to separate the couple by arranging for Nesbit's enrollment in a boarding school located in New Jersey and administered by Mathilda DeMille, the mother of noted film director, Cecil B. DeMille. In the presence of both Mrs. Nesbit and White, Barrymore had asked Nesbit to become his wife, but she turned down his marriage proposal.
  • 1901
    Age 16
    As a chorus girl on Broadway in 1901, Nesbit was introduced to acclaimed architect Stanford White by Edna Goodrich, who along with Nesbit was a member in the company of Florodora.
    More Details Hide Details White—a notorious womanizer known as "Stanny" by his close friends and relatives—was then 47 years old and Nesbit 16. With her actual birth year often obscured by her mother, Nesbit may have actually been just 14 years old when she first met Stanford White. A practiced voluptuary, White used intermediaries to disarm the girl. Nesbit was initially struck by White’s imposing size, which “was appalling... he seemed terribly old.” White maintained a multi-floor apartment on West Twenty-fourth Street situated above the toy store FAO Schwarz. The entrance way to the apartment was a doorway located adjacent to the store’s back delivery entrance. White invited Evelyn and Edna Goodrich to join him there for lunch. In her memoir Prodigal Days, Nesbit described her introduction to White’s apartment. She was immediately overwhelmed by the décor; the walls adorned with fine paintings, the ornate, carved furniture, and the heavy red velvet draperies, which were drawn against the afternoon light. The only illumination in the room was the glow of soft light emanating from concealed lighting in the room. The other guest in attendance was an older man whom White introduced as Reginald Ronalds. The luncheon table was laid with food, which to Nesbit was an exotic delight—gourmet dishes prepared by Delmonico's restaurant. Nesbit was allowed one glass of champagne. Afterwards, they all ascended two flights up into a room decorated in green where a large, red velvet swing was suspended from the ceiling by ropes entwined with ivy-like vines.
    In July 1901, costumed as a "Spanish maiden," Nesbit became a member of the show's chorus line whose enthusiastic public dubbed them the "Florodora Girls."
    More Details Hide Details Billed as "Florence Evelyn," the new chorus girl was called "Flossie the Fuss," by the cast, a nickname which displeased her, and induced her to change her theatrical name to Evelyn Nesbit. After her stint as a "Florodora Girl" ended, Nesbit sought out other theatrical possibilities. She won a part in a production which had just come to Broadway, The Wild Rose. After an initial interview with Nesbit, the show's producer, George Lederer, sensed he had discovered a new sensation. He offered her a contract for a year and, more significantly, moved her out of the chorus line and into a position as a featured player — the role of the Roma girl, "Vashti." The publicity machine began to roll, possibly fueled by Stanford White's influence, and she was hyped up in the gossip columns and theatrical periodicals of the day. On May 4, 1902, The New York Herald showcased her in a two-page article, liberally enhanced by photographs, promoting her rise as a new theatrical light, and detailing her career trajectory from model to chorus line to key cast member. "Her Winsome Face to be Seen Only from 8 to 11pm," the newspaper title announced to the public. The press coverage invariably touted her physical charms and potent stage presence; her acting skills were rarely mentioned.
    Two artworks, one by Frederick Church, and another by Beckwith in 1901, contradict Mrs. Nesbit, as they display a skimpily clad or partially nude Evelyn.
    More Details Hide Details Evelyn Nesbit became one of the most in-demand artists' models in New York. Otto Sarony and Rudolf Eickemeyer were among those who took striking photographs of her. She was a popular cover face on women's magazines of the period, including Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, The Delineator, Women's Home Companion, Ladies' Home Journal and Cosmopolitan. Inside the advertising pages of these magazines, and in newspapers, Nesbit's business became the business of creating consumer demand for toothpaste, face creams, and a sundry array of other commercial goods. Her likeness and form were ubiquitous, showcased on sheet music and souvenir items — beer trays, tobacco cards, pocket mirrors, postcards, chromolithographs. She often posed in vignettes, dressed in various guises: a Japanese geisha, country gal, woodland nymph, Grecian goddess or Roma maiden. The photo postcards were known as mignon (sweet, lovely), whose pictorials were of a suggestive sensuality in contrast to the graphic display of the female body depicted in the notorious "French postcards" of the day. Evelyn Nesbit arguably became the first pin-up girl, posing for calendars for Prudential Life Insurance, Swift, Coca-Cola and other corporations.
  • 1900
    Age 15
    In November 1900, still without employment, she finally sent for her children.
    More Details Hide Details The three were re-united and shared a single back room in a building on 22nd Street in Manhattan. Financial necessity and Nesbit's insistence on resuming modeling finally prompted Mrs. Nesbit to make use of the Philadelphia recommendations by contacting James Carroll Beckwith, whose primary patron was John Jacob Astor. This association opened up a world of further modeling opportunities for Nesbit, as Beckwith was a respected painter and instructor of life classes at the Art Students League. An elderly, courtly man, Beckwith felt protective of the teenage girl, whose self-directed determination to pursue a modeling career aroused his paternal concern. He provided her with letters of introduction to legitimate artists such as Frederick S. Church, Herbert Morgan, and Carl Blenner. Unhappily, Mrs. Nesbit was thrust into the role of managing her daughter’s career. Unsophisticated, indecisive, and plagued with bouts of inertia, Nesbit's mother was unable to provide either business acumen or guardianship for her teenage daughter. In a later interview with reporters, Mrs. Nesbit maintained: "I never allowed Evelyn to pose in the altogether" (in the nude).
    In June 1900, Mrs. Nesbit, leaving her children in the care of others, re-located to New York City, again hoping to find work as a seamstress or clothing designer.
    More Details Hide Details She had less success in finding employment in the competitive environment of New York City than she had had in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Philadelphia artists, with the idea of jumpstarting Nesbit's modeling career, had provided letters of introduction to New York artists—however, Mrs. Nesbit made no use of these prospective contacts.
  • 1898
    Age 13
    Under continuous financial distress which showed no prospect of improvement, Mrs. Nesbit moved to Philadelphia in 1898.
    More Details Hide Details She had acted on the encouragement of a friend who advised her that relocation to Philadelphia could open opportunities for her employment as a seamstress. Evelyn and her brother Howard were sent to an aunt, and then transferred to a family in Allegany whose acquaintance their mother had made some years earlier. Mrs. Nesbit obtained employment not as a seamstress, but as a sales clerk at the fabric counter of Wanamaker’s department store. She sent for her children, and both 14-year-old Nesbit and 12-year-old Howard also became Wanamaker's employees, working 12-hour days, six days a week. It was at this time that Nesbit's modeling career began by a serendipitous encounter with an artist who was struck by the teenager's beauty and evocative charm. The artist asked Nesbit to pose for a portrait, and after verifying the artist was a woman, Mrs. Nesbit agreed to let her daughter pose. Nesbit sat for five hours and earned one dollar. This led to introductions to other artists in the Philadelphia area, and she became the favorite model of a group of respected, reputable illustrators, portrait painters, and stained-glass artisans. In later life Nesbit explained: "When I saw I could earn more money posing as an artist's model than I could at Wanamaker's, I gave my mother no peace until she permitted me to pose for a livelihood."
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1893
    Age 8
    The Nesbit family moved to Pittsburgh around 1893.
    More Details Hide Details 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 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 40 when Nesbit was 11, leaving his family penniless. They lost their home and watched as all their possessions were auctioned off to pay outstanding debts. Mrs. Nesbit was unable to find work to earn money using her dressmaking skills, and a protracted period of time followed where the family existed solely through the charity of family and friends. They lived a nomadic existence, sharing a single room in a series of boarding houses. To ease the financial burden, little Howard Nesbit was often sent to live with relatives or family friends for indeterminate periods of time.
  • 1886
    Age 1
    Her actual year of birth remains unconfirmed; her real year of birth may have been 1886.
    More Details Hide Details 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 the newborn girl was so beautiful that neighbors came for months after her birth to gaze at and admire her. Two years later, a son named Howard was born to the family. Nesbit had an especially close relationship with her father, striving to please him with her accomplishments. Nesbit recognized his daughter's intellectual interests and encouraged her curiosity and self-confidence. Cognizant of her love of reading, he chose books for her to read and set up a small library for her. It contained diverse material, including fairy tales, fantasies, and books regarded as of interest to boys only—the "pluck and luck" stories that were popular in that era. When Nesbit showed an interest in music and dance, he encouraged her to take lessons in those areas. Although Mr. Nesbit displayed no outward favoritism toward either of his children, Nesbit knew she was her father's "star".
  • 1884
    Born
    Nesbit was born Florence Evelyn Nesbit on December 25, 1884, in Tarentum, a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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