Monday, November 26, 2012

1912 - Fears White Slavers

The Salt Lake Tribune
November 26 1912

Miss Maude Van Deusen, Nebraska School Teacher
Ends Life in Chicago.
Leaves Statement Saying She
Had Little Money, and Preferred
Death to Dishonor

Chicago, Nov. 25--Possessed with the idea that she was pursued for dishonorable purposes, Miss Maude Van Deusen, 25 years old, leaped from the twentieth story of the McCormick building and was crushed to death on the stone paving of an alley at the street level.  She jumped from an alley fire escape nearly 250 feet above the ground in view of many pedestrians.  he body struck another fire escape at the first floor and bounded into the alleyway, nearly every bone being broken.

Mixx Van Deusen, according to papers found in her pocketbook which she carried with her, was a school teacher in Humboldt, Neb. From her papers it appeared that she had been seeking a position here and had been obsessed with the idea that she had been in danger from white slavers.  She wrote that she had been driven to appeal for protection to Chief of Police McWeeney, to the federal department of justice and to social settlement workers.


She had prepared for her death by pinning across her bosom a strip of white linen which had been stained crimson at either end and on which she had printed in large letters:
"Death! Death before dishonor."
She had tied around her neck a copy of the New Testament in which she had marked passages in St. John.  She held her handbag in her hand as she jumped and it was picked up near her body.  In it was another marked Bible and a typewritten statement of several thousand words which she had entitled: "part of my life's history."

"I will die clean if I have to kill myself," was written at the head of one of the sheets.

The landlady of the house in which Miss Van Deusen had been rooming said the young woman had been without employment for some time.

"I am trying to write this without the least emotion," her typewritten statement began, "and, though the following statements may seem dramatic, your reason will assure you that they contain only common sense.

"First, I have very little money and am not allowed to hold a position.

"Second, I will accept no money but that I earn.

"To be without money is to be exposed to any amount of insult and to fall into the hands of the spiritualist white slave trade.

"If I do not get help it will be a certainty that I cannot escape falling into the hands of the spiritualist white slave trade, and that will force me to self-destruction."

The police do not understand what Miss Van Deusen meant by "spiritualist white slave trade."

A copy of a letter in her handbag addressed to Miss Jane Addams read:

"I wonder if this note will ever reach you at all.  Good people nowadays are protected by 'secretaries' so taht it is hard to get to them.  If you have, as I understand, clothed a number of harlots with respectability and refuse to help a girl who has to be right I shall not even thank you for helping me.  But I shall love you if you are good really or intend to be as you determine."

A letter apparently written by Miss Addams in reply stated that she was too busy to see Miss Van Deusen at that time, but would make a later appointment with her.

Miss Van Deusen, it is said, was the daughter of Dr. Lydia Van Deusen of Falls City, Neb.

She is said to have told friends that she worried a great deal over a Hindu cult.

The young woman is said to have been harassed by a hallucination that she was pursued by the representatives of this cul.

Falls City, Neb. Nov 25--Miss Maude Van Deusen was well known in Falls City where she grew to womanhood.  She taught school in Falls City and in Richardson County districts for a number of years.

About six years ago, Miss Van Deusen suffered from some peculiar mental ailment and became estranged from her family.  She imagined they were trying to deprive her of her property.  For a time she was treated in a Lincoln hospital and later she went to Chicago.  For the last two years her relatives knew little about her, but they understood she was making her way in Chicago, working as a typist or stenographer.

Word reached her mother recently that Miss Van Deusen needed money.  Her mother said that if her daughter would write she would gladly send the money.  The daughter would not write.

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