Louisa Fletcher Tarkington, “The Abbess”
A few weeks ago, I ran a news item about the poetry of the first Mrs. Tarkington. Just the other day, one of my search engine feeds turned up a Library of Congress photo of Louisa, specified as from the period from 1910 to 1915. It’s a newswire photo, so it was probably taken to support one or another of her writing projects (or Tarkington’s).
A link in the photo’s comment thread led me to the website of painter Tyler Alpern, one of whose muses is Louisa’s nephew Bruz Fletcher. Alpern’s site includes a sort of fan page for the Fletcher family, including a great deal of interesting biographical tidbits that never found their way into Tarkington’s biographies. Musician Bruz, who was gay, would eventually commit suicide in Hollywood, the fourth immediate family member to do so. His father Stoughton ended life as a pauper. The family story is mercurial and sad.
Here’s a bit from Alpern’s Fletcher Family Album:
The webpage shows a striking photo of Louisa in costume. Check it out. It’s easy to see how the young Tarkington could be smitten.
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