This is the story of a lady. A lady I have grown to love, admire, and continue to be intrigued by. And after many years, I have finally decided to share her story.
This is the personal diary of a wife and mother living in Akron, Ohio just before the Depression. These are her words transcribed from her personal diaries beginning in 1925. Fascinating stories from the mundane like household chores and shopping lists, to her frustration with depression and an unhappy marriage.
Gloria Swanson - Tuesday February 24, 1925
Gloria Swanson is quite
ill in Paris.1
Reva and I rode to Kenmore2 with
D. + H. had dished washed when we got home.
Gloria Swanson 1921
1. We found a likely explanation for her illness in the following article from the Rudolph Valentino Society:
Swanson(March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983) *In Paris 1925, Swanson began
work on her most notorious lost film Madame Sans Gene. After speaking with Andre Daven (who had a small role in Monsieur
Beaucaire) Swanson approached the French government about doing the
film. After acquiring their permission and blessing Swanson
traveled to France on a wave of publicity. Again on the advice
of Daven she hired Henri who was the Marquis de la Falaise de la Coudraye to be her
translator. Despite the title (akin to a Duke in English
nobility) the Marquis was not wealthy and ran an insurance company.
Swanson found him indispensable. The Marquis eventually admitted
he had never seen a Swanson film, but the two got along well and soon
fell in love.
To celebrate the end of filming Swanson held a costume party.
In the middle of planning the party she realized she was pregnant.
Her divorce from current husband Herbert K. Somborn would not be finalized for another month and
by that time it would be easy to prove she had been pregnant if she
married the Marquis at that time. Fearing the morals clause in
her contract, and what that could mean for her children, Swanson
decided to have an abortion.
She quietly married the Marquis, the day before the scheduled
abortion. Daven took her to the appointment, and brought her
home. Swanson became seriously ill from blood poisoning,
spending 2 weeks in and out of consciousness. Her hair had to be
cut so towels could be easily wrapped around her head. A death
watch had been kept in the press. Finally well enough again she
and the Marquis headed to Paris, to promote the film. Swanson
was severely depressed and considered retiring. At the end of
her life she would cite the abortion as her biggest regret.source*The Rudolph Valentino Society http://rudolphvalentino.org/gloria.html
2. Kenmore Ohio: Kenmore is a community in southwest Akron, Ohio.