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Louis Agassiz Shaw II

Louis Agassiz Shaw II

Socialite, writer, and murderer
Louis Agassiz Shaw II
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Socialite, writer, and murderer
Was Writer Novelist Socialite
From United States of America
Type Literature
Gender male
Birth 1906
Death 1987 (aged 81 years)
Father: Robert Gould Shaw II
Siblings: Robert Gould Shaw III
Harvard University
The details


Louis Agassiz Shaw II (1906–1987) was an American socialite, writer and murderer.


Shaw was born to Robert Gould Shaw II and Mary Hannington; the Shaws were a wealthy and influential Boston family. His father was a cousin of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, noted for leading an African-American regiment in the Union Army during the Civil War.

He attended private school and Harvard University, where he graduated in 1929. Like Robert Gould Shaw, he was a member of the Porcellian Club, a men's-only final club at Harvard.

Upon graduation Shaw published a novel, Pavement (1929), using his nickname "Louis Second" as a pen name. He lived in a sprawling 15-room mansion in Topsfield, a town founded by the Gould family. According to Alex Beam's Gracefully Insane (a history of McLean Hospital, where Shaw spent the last years of his life) Shaw kept a copy of the Social Register next to the telephone and instructed his staff to refuse calls from anyone not listed. He often rode his horse along a bridle path from his estate, and through the area now known as the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, in order to reach the Myopia Hunt Club.

Like his elder half-brother Robert Gould Shaw III, Shaw struggled with depression and alcoholism. In 1964 he strangled his 64-year-old maid, who he said was plotting to murder him in his sleep. He confessed but pleaded not guilty; he was committed to Danvers State Hospital and later McLean, where he lived for 23 years.

Much of his art collection, which he intended to donate to the Fogg Museum, was discovered to be fakes.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 30 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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