15 November 1926:
Much like we are this week, Americans, although gearing up for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, already had one eye gazing longingly towards Christmas. Newspapers were bursting with enticing ads for seasonal sales and festive activities.
True crime dominated the headlines of New York City-area newspapers, but the current salacious obsession was anything but jolly. Four years after one of the many “Crimes of the Century,” the main suspect was finally on trial for the murders of her husband (an Episcopal priest) and his amour (a member of the church choir). Mrs. Hall—Frances Noel Stevens Hall—faced judge and jury, as did her two older brothers. In the midst of a frenzied media circus, they were all acquitted.
For almost everyone else, life continued apace with its usual late-year kaleidoscopic intensity: domesticity competed with work, and they both elbowed it out with social activities and civic engagements. New York City, in particular, contained more possibilities than there were people to enjoy them.
November 15, 1926, was a Monday; Thanksgiving, a mere ten days away. It is, perhaps, not the most obvious date for a wedding ceremony to be held, but held it was at noon inside the Union Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City. That is the time and place that J and R began their married life. The event later made the papers in several US cities and national trade publications. R’s hometown newspaper in Kansas dryly noted in their headline that this was his third marriage. The article itself contains a reference to his recent divorce from wife number two, which was finalized a somewhat scandalous 12 days earlier. J and R married the day they received their license.
Getting married during someone else’s media circus was rather a stroke of genius. They knew what they were doing.
Until next time!