[APG Public List] Need some help in Italy

Craig Kilby persisto at live.com
Sat Feb 27 17:43:34 MST 2010

Elizabeth, I don't think we have checked the US Embassy records. In fact, had never thought of it, or even knew to think of it. How would one go about doing that?

I agree it all sounds suspicious, but all accounts, including the mother's, agree that it was a suicide. She may have been ill.  One source (I don't have much of this with me anymore) was that she had leukemia. The whole story is very tragic. She was a St. Louis socialite, met this dashing young Count from Italy then in America as a military attache, and is swept off to Rome where she was no doubt a fish out of water.

I meant to add in the last post the Carlos Pfister was supposed to be the son of an Italian Countess and that his mother & father lived in LaSfezia(?), Italy at the time of the marriage (21 DEC 1905, St. Louis).

An footnote to this story that her father, Judge Hugh Laughlin, left a huge bequest to a nunnery in Chicago (where he had moved after his scandalous divorce in St. Louis to my great-aunt Ora, '"the other woman.") He was NOT Catholic.

Please tell me how to dig deeper into the State Department records.

Craig Kilby

P.S. We now have three Craigs on this list, so I will be signing with last name hence forward.

On Feb 27, 2010, at 7:29 PM, <eshown at comcast.net> wrote:

>> At some point before this, Hester was talking about going to the "BLUE
> NUNS" in or about Rome, perhaps for health treatment.
> Craig, 
> "Going to the nuns" or "being sent off to the nunnery" was also a
> not-infrequent European-style marital separation; and your comment about
> Hester's mother going over and her packing to come back home with her mother
> at the time of her "suicide" suggests that a marital separation may well
> have been in the offing. 
> For Hester to "commit suicide" would also have saved her husband a bundle of
> money that he wouldn't have to pay to the nunnery--or send back to St. Louis
> to support her--and would also have left him free to remarry. All things
> considered, it sounds like a most-convenient "suicide" or maybe a "suicide
> of convenience." 
> You have also checked the U.S. State Department records, I assume, for
> whatever reports the U.S. embassy would have sent back to Washington?
> Elizabeth
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
> Tennessee
> -----Original Message-----
> From: apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org
> [mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces at apgen.org] On Behalf Of Craig Kilby
> Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 5:24 PM
> To: APG APG Public
> Subject: [APG Public List] Need some help in Italy
> All,
> A few years ago, I sent a query to this list and some one was very kind to
> answer promptly. However, that was two computers ago!  
> I am looking for newspapers in Rome around the date of 5 NOV 1912, the date
> that Hester Bates (Laughlin) Pfister committed suicide. This would have been
> major society news. She was a native of St. Louis, MO, was the first elected
> Queen of the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1894, and became the wife of Capt.
> Carlos Pfister who at the time of her death was an official in the Italian
> government.
> The circumstances of her death are quite murky, and we are seeking news
> reports from Italy to compare with the accounts in the St. Louis newspapers.
> We do know her mother was there when it happened, in preparation of packing
> her belongings to come back to the States. At some point before this, Hester
> was talking about going to the "BLUE NUNS" in or about Rome, perhaps for
> health treatment.
> If anyone can help in this, it is gratefully appreciated. This is in
> preparation for an article.
> Craig Kilby

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