Who were you, Ms. McHale?
March 18, 2009 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Despite the passage of many decades, people still find and are fascinated by the famous Life Magazine photo of Evelyn McHale's strangely beautiful corpse after she leapt from the Empire State Building. I was just wondering if anyone has ever run across any more information about her other than the small bio that accompanied the photo. Are there other publicized photos of her before she died? Was her family ever contacted for comment? I don't mean to be ghoulish about it, I just find it to be iconic (Warhol even made it into artwork) and am surprised that no one ever looked into her life further.
posted by ktoad to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Link to photo(s) here.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:09 PM on March 18, 2009

Best answer: I'm not sure what you're asking for here. The death was written up and some of that is in Google News Archive: NYT, Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The photo itself is discussed briefly in a couple of photography books on Google Books.

She was from Baldwin, NY, aged 20, and worked as a bookkeeper at Kitab Engraving. And from the suicide note she left, appeared to be tragically depressed.
One could speculate. Did she expect her engagement to fail because she had met someone in the city, had sex, even had an abortion? Or was it entirely psychological? But we'll just never know.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on March 18, 2009

Response by poster: I was asking if there was anything available OTHER than the classic photo, which pseudostrabismus links to. dhartung, the articles you linked to are very helpful. Nice to see a photo of her alive and smiling. Thanks.
posted by ktoad at 7:13 AM on March 19, 2009

Her age seems to be in dispute - dhartung mentions 20, which I've seen before, but the Post-Gazette article says that she was 25, and another source that I read recently said 23.
posted by amicamentis at 12:14 PM on March 19, 2009

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