I’m going to history geek out on you right here, but I can’t help it. As I mentioned before, I recently came home with some serious library booty in my research of Gilded Age NYC. And in that booty was The Flatiron by Alice Sparberg Alexiou. This is a fabulous book, especially for anyone interested in urban history. But that’s not why I’m writing about it today. I’m writing about it today because of the messy scandal that erupted around the Fuller family and Harry Black, the builders behind the Flatiron.
Divorce is nothing new. Scandalous divorce even less so in a modern world of the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and zero barriers to video recording. But in 1905, there was no such record of the comings and goings of a couple embroiled in contentious accusations of adultery and lavishness. (Yes, lavishness, really.) So when I ran across the divorce proceedings in this wonderful book with actual dialogue, the historian geek in me went, “How did this author find this out????” Sealed divorce records and a savvy wife who hired a private investigator. That’s how. This history geek thanks Allon Fuller Black for having the foresight to hire a private investigator to record actual dialogue that would then be sealed in the divorce proceedings until 2005 when Alexiou would uncover them in her research and share them with fellow history nerds.