American actress and artists’ model Evelyn Nesbit, pictured in 1913.

Born in Tarentum, a village near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967) was an artists’ model, chorus girl, vaudeville performer, silent film actress and a cafe manager. She was known for her extreme grace and beauty, and became a model for young American women as she became the most famous of the ‘Gibson Girls’.

Debt-ridden, her father died when Evelyn was a young school girl, making her, her mother and her younger brother live in abject poverty. When she became an adolescent, her stunning beauty was noticed by the local artists, who helped her by providing employment as an artists’ model.

When Evelyn was 16, her family moved to New York City where she met the American Impressionist artist James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917) who employed her as a model for his paintings. He also introduced her as a model to other artists so that Evelyn eventually became one of the most popular artists’ models in New York.


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