Starr Faithfull in New York

Although Starr Faithfull lived for only 25 years, she inspired several authors to write about her. Born January 26, 1906 in Evanston, IL, Starr died in June 1931 after a Long Island boat party.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The paucity of essential facts

The Press: Five Starr Faithfull

- an excerpt: Time Magazine 29 June 1931 -
. . . But the paucity of essential facts was more than made up for to the Press by Starr Faithfull's background and home life. The family, occupying one floor of a brownstone house, consisted of Starr, her sister, her mother and stepfather, Stanley Faithfull, a not prosperous chemist and salesman for a pneumatic mattress concern. Lean, gimlet-eyed, red-whiskered, bewildered, he talked and talked to the thronging news hawks who came away with many conflicting stories and white lies. For some reason his daughter was made an "heiress" by the first sensational stories, a description soon dropped by all but the tabloids. But other newspapers kept the family endowed with an air of gentility, apparently as an excuse to give the story special attention.

Officials of the United Press, impressed by the national demand for the story, set out to get all they could of it. Believing that reporters on the case were using wrong strategy, they simply asked for, and with the immediately parents. obtained, a They won private Faithfull's interview confidence, persuaded him that a full explanation of Starr's makeup would mitigate the impression of promiscuity which had gone forth. The result, an "exclusive" for the U. P., was the full details of how the girl had been induced to unnatural sexual antics at the age of eleven by the elderly man, a trusted friend of the family; how he had repeatedly over a period of years taken her on automobile trips, stopping at hotels, with knowledge and consent of the parents who never dreamed that his interest was other than fatherly: how Starr, who was emotionally unbalanced as a result, finally made known the facts to her parents; how they obtained a $20,000 settlement from the despoiler to pay for treatment of Starr by psychiatrists and neurologists. For all their effort, they said, Starr never fully recovered normality. With their full knowledge if not their consent she had run around with (and after) all kinds of men in all kinds of places "looking for happiness." In return for the story, Faithfull insisted only on a letter which would prove that no payment was being made for it to him or his family.

The New York World-Telegram and other United Press subscribers embellished Father Faithfull's sad story with facsimiles of erotic pages from Starr's memory book, letters, telegrams. Star writers were put on the lurid story to treat it as an epic of injured innocence, a cause celebre of the decade. Fresh interest, fresh front-page stories (again including the Times) were supplied by the arrival from England of a Cunard Line doctor who revealed that Heroine Faithfull had come to see him on shipboard just before she disappeared from home, that he had sent her away because she was drunk, that she had written him she was going to commit suicide. The doctor's picture now made display material as the epic passed into its third week. Observers marveled at what the great U.S. Press could do with the conjunction of a perfect front-page name, a sexy death mystery, and a spell of hot weather. ...
- - from "The Press: Five Starr Faithfull"
- - excerpt: Time Magazine 29 June 1931 - -
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Starr Faithfull.

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