MAGGIE ARLINGTON: STAGE ACTRESS KILLED BY DUMB-WAITER

This cabinet card, features an actress with a tragic story. The New York Times (1887) reported a story about Maggie Arlington’s funeral. Arlington was a stage actress. Her funeral was held at her home at 106 East 54th Street in New York City. The article states that her home was full of flower arrangements including a large arrangement from her fiance, Eddie Godschalk. Miss Arlington died from pneumonia which was reported to be secondary from a fall. The fall occurred when she was leaning over a dumb-waiter shaft in her home and slipped and fell sixty five feet. She broke both of her legs as well as one of her arms. She also sustained major bruises. She developed pneumonia shortly thereafter. Arlington was born in 1853 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and was originally named Margaret Ryerson. She began professional acting in St. Louis in 1872. She married the nephew of a United States Navy admiral. Her husband objected to her continuing her acting career so she divorced him. She had one son who was ten years old at the time of her death. Maggie Arlington does not seem to have been a major theatrical star as research yielded little about her stage career. However, her profession and the unusual tragic cause of her death, earned her an obituary story in the New York Times. This cabinet card was photographed by celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If she fell leaning into a dumb-waiter down the shaft for 65 feet, then she should have broken her head or neck, but she broke her legs. Hmn…suicide attempt?

  2. Great detective work, Fred. You are right. How likely is it that she fell feet first? The authorities should have called in CSI to determine her exact cause of death. Did MIss Arlington die from suicide, accidental fall, or homicide. Nancy Grace would likely suggest that the police should bring Eddie Godschalk in for questioning as a “person of interest”. Isn’t the boyfriend usually the most likely suspect? Too bad there was no CSI back then. In the 1880’s, when Maggie Arlington died, the police in New York were extremely corrupt and distracted by the huge amount of graft that was ever present. Who had time for a homicide/suicide/accident investigation? Another possibility is that the authorities called her death accidental to spare her family the stigma of suicide.


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