Monday, June 08, 2020


News of Yore 1914: Winsor McCay and Wife Involved in Lurid Courtroom Drama

 From the Brooklyn Times, Sept. 24 1914:


An alienation suit for $250,000 has been filed in the Supreme Court by Mrs. Irene Lamkin against Miss (sic) Maude McCay of Sheepshead Bay.

Mrs. Lamkin alleges that Miss McCay stole her husband's affections and prevailed upon him to abandon her June 15. When Mr. Lamkin left her, so Mrs. Lamkin asserts, he went to Sheepshead Bay. The Lamkins were married eight years ago. According to Mrs. Lamkin her husband met Miss McCay during the summer of 1913.

From the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Dec. 23 1914:

Winsor McCay Tells Threats Of Mrs.Lamkin

 Cartoonist Testifies in Effort to Prove ''Frame-Up" in $250,000 Heart Balm Suit.


 [Special Telegram to Gazette Times]
NEW YORK, Dec. 22.    Winsor McCay, the cartoonist, was the star witness today in the trial of the divorce suit brought by Mrs. Irene Watkins Lamkin against her husband, Henry Tobin Lamkin. The case is being tried in the State Supreme Court before Justice Erlanger. Mrs. Maude McCay, wife of the cartoonist, is named as co-respondent.

The McCays assert that the Lamkins are acting in collusion. Mrs. Lamkin has begun a suit for $250,000 damages for alleged alienation of her husband's affections against Mrs. McCay. Lawyer Norton announced he would prove a "frame-up" by the plaintiff and defendant of the divorce case to obtain money from the McCays.

Mr. McCay testified that he had been married 23 years and was satisfied that his wife was true and the victim of a "frameup."

The night of March 8, McCay said, Mrs. Lamkin sought him at the stage door of a theater where he was appearing and threatened that unless he did something for her she would begin proceedings  against Mrs. McCay, saying:

"Your wife has ruined my home, alienated my husband's affections and you will have to support me." When he protested he could not support her, McCay said, Mrs. Lamkin threatened publicity, adding: "You are making $100,000 a year. I'll bring suit against you and drive Mrs. McCay from New York." McCay said she telephoned him continually until he consented to a meeting, He said Mr. Lamkin remarked: "They are together this very minute."

Later he took Mrs. Lamkin to dinner and during the meal Mrs. Lamkin said; "If they are out together why can't we be out together?" McCay said he spent $28 for wine that night and bought imported cigarets, after which he took her in a taxicab to Shanley's.

"Her actions were such that I knew I was in the hands of a bad woman," the cartoonist testified. "I would rather not tell the details. I took her behind the scenes at Hammerstein's and later took her home, as she said we ought not to stay out all night."

"After many telephone entreaties," McCay said, he went to the Iowa apartments, "to see this $250,000 husband," meaning Lamkin. Both Lamkins greeted him so cordially that he took them out for an evening in the all-night restaurant belt, the party continuing until 5:30 o'clock in the morning.

Lamkin on that occasion, the witness swore, declared that Mrs. Lamkin was the cleverest, handsomest woman in the world and that he was not going to give her up. Mr. McCay said his own reply was: "You stick to your wife, and if you injure my wife I'll kill you." He said Lamkin replied: "Your wife is a good pure woman. She thinks you are a great man, but you don't take her out often enough."

And finally from the Washington Post, Dec. 24 1914:


 Cartoonist's Wife Vindicated of Charges in Divorce Case


 New York Jurist Dismises Action for Divorce on Motion of Attorney for Artist's Helpmeet, but Refuses Similar Motion by Mrs. Lamkin's Lawyer on Ground of Collusion 

New York, Dec. 23.

Mrs. Maude I. McCay, wife of Winsor McCay, a cartoonist, was vindicated today when Justice Erlanger, in the Supreme Court, dismissed the action for divorce brought by Mrs. Irene Walkins Lamkin against her husband, Harry Tobin Lamkin, in which Mrs. McCay was namd as corespondent.

The justice declared that there was evidence of collusion between the plaintiff and the defendant and refused to permit further attacks upon the character of Mrs. McCay by counsel of Mrs. Lamkin.

Denies Bathing Charge

In her deposition, Mrs. McCay denied, among other things, a charge that on one occasion she had taken a bath in the same tub with Harry Tobin Lamkin. Mrs. McCay not only denied all the charges made by Mrs. Lamkin, but advanced the contention that she and Lamkin were never married legally.

Refuses to Call It Mistrial

Mrs. Lamkin's counsel made a motion that the trial be declared a mistrial, but this was promptly denied by Justice Erlanger, who said that in a case of this character, where the defendant refused to defend the action, the corespondent must be given all the rights of the defendant and be permitted to testify fully.

Lived Together Despite Conditions

Elliott Norton, counsel for Mrs. McCay, moved that the action be dismissed, and in his argument directed attention to the fact that it had been proven that the plaintiff had continued to live with her husband at least one year after she admitted she knew of his relations with other women.


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