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Emilie Grigsby

Emilie Grigsby

Emilie Grigsby
The basics

Quick Facts

From United States of America
Gender female
Birth 1879, Kentucky, USA
Death 11 February 1964, London, England, UK (aged 85 years)
Residence Middlesex, Greater London, London, United Kingdom
The details

Biography

Emilie B. Grigsby (1876-1964), was the daughter of Lewis Braxton, a Kentucky slaveowner & brothel owner and Susan Robinson Burbridge, and great granddaughter of James Fisher Robinson, Govenor of Kentucky from 1862-1863.

She had an affair with Charles T. Yerkes, a major contributor to the developing mass-transit systems in Chicago and twenty years her senior. Their affair resulted in his second divorce.

In her day, she was acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful women in the world with masses of red gold hair and violet eyes. Apparently, she remained completely unspoiled, sweet tempered, generous to a fault and devoutly religious. She is immortalized as the graceful figure of "Religion" (one of six heroic sized sculptures by Paul Bartlett) in the Attic Portico above the entrance of the New York Public Library at 42nd Street.

After Yerkes' death, newspapers reported that he prepared a second will just before his death, which bequeathed his riches to Emilie instead of his wife and children. However, his doctor didn't permit him to sign this will because of his bad state. Still, Grigsby's house and gifts from Yerkes made her very rich regardless.

In 1911 she sold her estate before moving to England.

Grigsby died on February 11, 1964, in London, England, at the age of 85. Upon her death, a London Times correspondent said her “pale beauty and golden hair” had faded slowly. Novelist George Meredith said that upon meeting her “he had at least met the heroine of ‘The Ordeal of Richard Feverel.’"

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