Etta - By Gerald Kolpan

For J.S.W.

From the


December 9, 1960



MANHATTAN—Mrs. Lorinda Jameson Carr, wife of the late Ralph Worthington Carr, died at her Fifth Avenue apartment late Wednesday morning.

The formidable Mrs. Carr was known as much for her high spirits and her ability to command a horse and fire a rifle as for her numerous charitable works in the cause of the urban poor.

Mrs. Carr was seen often at the country's most prestigious equestrian events. For over 40 years, she was an officer of the famed Devon Horse Show held outside of Philadelphia, the city she always described as her home town.

“There was no one like Mother,” said her daughter, the noted poetess Mrs. Etta Chase Harlan of West Hampton. “When she wasn't down on the Lower East Side or in Harlem trying to help someone, she was on some horse farm in Virginia breaking a stallion everyone else was afraid to even look at. That is, until the stallion looked at Mother.”

She married Mr. Carr, then one of the city's most eligible young men, in a civil ceremony in 1912. “It scandalized all the bluebloods, their not having a proper wedding,” Mrs. Harlan recalled. “For a time, Father was disowned by my grandparents. Mother didn't care. She said she would have rather spent Father's money on food for a starving child than a Paris gown.” From 1928 on, Mr. Carr was chairman of his family's firm, the venerable Carr Burton Brokerage. A pilot, independent socialist, and adventurer, Mr. Carr was also a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's “Brain Trust.” He died during World War II while serving as the president's liaison to the United States Special Services. He was aboard the plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller and members of his orchestra when the aircraft disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1942. Mrs. Carr never remarried.

In the years prior to World War I, Mrs. Carr was a celebrated beauty much sought after by many beaux in New York society. She was a leading light of the Settlement movement and an early and vocal proponent of female suffrage. An orphan living on inherited wealth, she led an independent life, flouting the conventions of her day and often appearing in public alone and unescorted. The famous salon at her Manhattan apartment, and later her summer home on Lake Waramaug in Connecticut, welcomed influential figures from Albert Einstein to Max Ernst.

Although her politics had moderated considerably by the nineteen fifties, in that decade Mrs. Carr once again rode to the rescue of those accused of un-American activities. She offered financial and moral support to writers, actors, and even some State Department officials affected by the blacklist. Still stylish and beautiful well into her 70s, she was linked to many famous and prominent men, and her rumored affair with blacklisted radio personality John Henry Faulk, many years her junior, kept gossip columnists busy in 1952.

A close friend and advisor to former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Mrs. Carr served as a delegate to the 1932 Democratic National Convention, which nominated Mr. Roosevelt for president.

In a statement, Mrs. Roosevelt said, “Both I and my family are deeply saddened by the loss of this unique and talented woman. By her independence, her indomitable spirit, and her charitable works, she has set an example for all women of goodwill. I will greatly miss my longtime companion and friend.”

In addition to her public philanthropies, Mrs. Carr was also noted for her tremendous skill with both rifle and shotgun, abilities she claimed to have acquired from her father. From 1915 through 1935 she participated in the ladies' division of the American Winchester Competition. Winning first place 17 times, she never ranked lower than third. “She would get very upset when we would call her ‘Little Sure Shot,’” Mrs. Harlan remembered. “She always said that title belonged only to Annie Oakley.”

Little is known of Mrs. Carr's early life. She claimed to have been born in Philadelphia in 1880, the daughter of prominent socialite G. David Jameson. After Mr. Jameson's untimely death in 1898, Mrs. Carr was sent to live with relatives in Colorado.

“Mother never talked about that time,” said her son, W Harold G. Sperling Carr, president and chairman of United States Trust Company. “We always believed it was too painful for her to mention. I think interrogating her about it all would have been, at the least, impolite. And while she was rather secretive about her writings, Mother was quite the autobiographer, and now