Janus the Roman god of doorways here! While Old Jeff is away visiting the Jeffersons, I'm here to look both ways and spill a few secrets.
• • On January 31, 1905 John O'Hara was born in Pottsville, PA.
• • And born on January 26, 1906 in Evanston, Illinois was the beauty
who inspired O'Hara to write his 1935 bestseller: Butterfield 8
• • Though O'Hara may have called it a roman a clef
, the truth really took a beating.
• • • Butterfield 8
• • •
"ON THIS SUNDAY morning in May, this girl who later was to be the cause of a sensation in New York, awoke much too early for her night before. One minute she was asleep, the next she was completely awake and dumped into despair
. . . ."
• • On June 8, 1931, the dead body of a 25-year-old woman named Starr Faithfull was found on a Long Island beach, clad in expensive clothes, her nails manicured, her neck bruised and broken. Was it an accident, a murder, a suicide? Though the circumstances of her death were never resolved, the official inquest kept Jefferson Market Court buzzing for almost six months. Widespread coverage in the daily newspapers mesmerized Americans as well as the British. When the reporters finally tired of the sensational headlines, the novelists jumped aboard. O’Hara [1905 - 1970] was the first author to spin Starr's fatality into self-advancement; others followed the Benjamins.
• • Let's celebrate the 100th anniversity of Starr's birth [26 January 2006] by revealing the truth
. BUtterfield 8 would never have been her telephone exchange. Starr was a Greenwich Village girl.
• • She lived with her mother, sister, and step-father at 35 West 9th Street, then at 12 St. Luke's Place.
• • Starr liked to drink and party, which is how O'Hara met her: at a literary affair.
• • When young, she was sexually molested by the Mayor of Boston [a trusted family friend], but Starr was NEVER a callgirl, a thief, nor attached to a brothel.
• • O'Hara took as many liberties with Starr in death as the Mayor had in her youth, ruining her reputation perhaps to stoke his.
• • Jefferson Market Court, where her autopsy photos were passed around to the media like potato chips, was the hottest place in town during the summer of 1931 - - a spectacle for gawkers and rumor-runners.
• • It will take more than this, Starr Faithfull, to clear your name. But you are not forgotten.
• • Photo: 1931 - - door of 12 St. Luke's Place, where Starr had lived with her family - - and reporters hoping for a scoopNYCNew York Public LibraryStarr FaithfullStarr Faithfull
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