Thursday, June 1, 2017

Treasure Chest Thursday: Elizabeth Curdt's "Obituary"

This is three newspaper clippings that have been glued together.  The first piece is at the top, with the name of the newspaper and the apparent date of the articles.  It is 3 1/8" x 3/4".  The second piece is the long, main piece of this amalgamation.  It is a short article about Elizabeth Curdt's death from burns suffered two days earlier and a second article (a short piece about "Pershing's Own Band" giving performances) that is partially obscured by the third clipping.  It is 2 1/8" x 7 1/8".  The third piece has been pasted in the middle of the long piece, just below the report of Elizabeth's death, and is a standard death and funeral notice.  It is 2 1/8" x 1 3/16".

In addition to the three pieces having been clipped from the newspaper and then taped together, the other modification that has occurred to the long piece is handwriting in blue pencil at the bottom reiterating the date and time of Elizabeth's death.  It is possible that the only reason the second article was kept with the one about Elizabeth's death was to be a platform for the death notice and note.

This came to me assembled already, so I can't confirm from my own knowledge that these all came from the same newspaper, but for the sake of analysis today I will work from that presumption.  The St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat reported on Sunday, April 27, 1919, in its morning edition on the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Curdt the previous Friday, April 25.  On the same day, the newspaper included a standard death notice and funeral notice, with the funeral scheduled to take place the next day, Monday, April 28.

The piece of information that immediately jumped out at me from this is that Alvina was at the house, apparently by her own admission, when her mother died, and just couldn't get to her in time.  If you believe the theory that Elizabeth was murdered is a viable one, then that definitely sounds suspicious and casts Alvina in a bad light.  In addition, Alvina seems to have been the child who inherited the largest amount directly after Elizabeth's death (her sister's husband having apparently obtained most of his money through purchases and sales of land prior to their mother's death).

On the other hand, the coroner's jury gave a verdict of accidental death.  I'll have to order that file, if it still exists, to see if testimony is included.  I wonder if anyone commented on Alvina's presence . . . .

The article about Elizabeth's death lists only her three children who had been residing in Missouri their entire lives.  The death notice added Emma, who had returned from Europe in 1917, less than two years previous to these events.  It's possible that the information for the two were given and/or compiled by different people.

The handwriting at the bottom looks like that of Jean La Forêt to me.  I can't think of a reason for him (or anyone, for that matter) to have copied the date and time.  Maybe his eyesight was starting to fail and he wanted to be able to read it more easily?

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