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Quite Unusual Moral and Social Problems
Which Confront Fashionable
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Society with the
Return of Dr. Joseph
A. Blake and
His Wife from Their
Exile in France
Clarence H. Mackav.
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The Latest Photograph of the Divorced Mrs. Mackay, Who
Is Now the Wife of Dr. Blake.
R. JOSEPH A. BLAKE, one of the
foremost surgeons in New York, in
vaded the home of Mr. Clarence H.
Mackay, the multi-millionaire capitalist
and the scandal drove Dr. Blake and Mrs.
Mackay out of New York and out of the
Mr. Mackay arranged a divorce. Mrs.
Blake, with much bitterness, cast off her
distinguished husband. Then the dis
graced pair ran away to Paris and were
married. This was six years ago.
Now it is announced that they are com
ing back to New York to live. And fash
ionable society is busying itself with two
very interesting questions:
"Will society forgive and -welcome the
Will prudent husbands trust a doctor in
their homes who betrayed a friend and
Dr. Blake and his wife have done splen
did -work during the war, and this Is urged
as a reason why they should be forgiven.
But it is also pointed out that thousands
of other men and women have been equal
ly earnest war workers and that Dr.
Blake's betrayal was unethical and pecu
liarly unforgiveable and that society must
not put Its stamp of approval on a doctor
who cannot be trusted in your home.
It is definitely announced that the
famous surgeon, with his wife and their
two young children, will return to America
this year permanently. They will spend
the Summer at the fashionable Newport
colony and after that will look for a home
in New York, where the doctor will en
deavor to resume his great surgical prac
tice and his wife perhaps her social and
Many curious problems of the same kind
have come up before, and New York so
ciety has usually been liberal in its treat
ment of those who possessed wealth and
But never before, perhaps, did society
have to consider so flagrant a violation of
the conventions as in this case. Dr. Blake,
a surgeon enjoying peculiarly confidential
relations with many persons, won the af
fections of the wife of a friend. While do
ing this he abandoned a faithful and es
timable wife, who had borne him two prom
His affinity, Mrs. Mackay, already the
mother of three children, parted fronVa
husband who had become quite noted for
his devotion and princely generosity to
her. Her cause is made all the more re
markable by her intelligence, her preten
sions to political leadership and her well
known interest in various kinds of public
work, both philanthropic and political.
How will society judge the conduct of
such a man as Dr. Blake, both in its pri
vate and its professional aspects? Can
wealthy husbands of young and charming
wives consider him a trustworthy man
to safeguard the health of their wives or
their daughters? Can dignified matrons,
who feel a sense of responsibility for the
tone of society, treat Dr. Blake as a man
to be received Into specially confidential
The question of the treatment of Mrs.
Blake is not less puzzling. How shall re
sponsible men and women receive a wom
an who left an excellent husband who en
joys the highest esteem of society, and
three lovely children without any discov
The social position of Clarence Mackay
Is one of the many factors that complicate
the situation. Few men of such wealth en
joy more general popularity In the social
world than he does.
It was universally admitted that when
the shocking trouble with his wife and Dr.
Blake arose he was a model of chivalry,
generosity and kindness. Moreover, he
has gained much popularity by his liber
ality to the opera and to various sports
and charities in which he is interested.
On the other hand there are many seri
ous things to be considered in favor of a
hearty welcome to Dr. and Mrs. Blake to
America. There is probably no single in
dividual who has done more to relieve the
sufferings of American and Allied soldiers
during the great war than Dr. Blake.
Prom the first outbreak of the great strug
gle he threw himself with all his soul into
the work of helping wounded soldiers.
He established three great hospitals,
two of which he was running at one time.
He performed many wonders of surgery.
In. his labors for the soldiers he was
ably assisted by the former Mrs. Mackay.
She collected most of the funds for the
hospitals and afterward directed the nurs
ing staffs. She was extremely popular
with the soldiers of all countries.
There Is no doubt that the great war
services of Dr. Blake constitute a genuine
claim to the consideration of humanity.
Are they so great that society should par
don his violations of the domestic code?
Shall it decide that the world agony has
- swept aside conventions and made service
to humanity the first factor In social
Shall society take a more limited view
and say, "We will honor and employ the
surgeon but we cannot welcome the pri
vate citizen to our homes?"
With regard to Mrs. Blake the two sides
of the question are perhaps not quite so
evenly balanced, for it can hardly be
claimed that she has rendered unsurpassed
services to mankind, but the problem Is
nevertheless a complicated one.
In the first place her original social posi
tion In New York was much higher than
that of any of the other persons concerned.
From the New York point of view it was
for instance much higher than that of Clar
These facts have considerable impor
tance in assuring some social support for
Mrs. Blake. She has undoubtedly powerful
friends In society who will support her
through the most delicate situations. One
of these friends is the Duchess of Marl
borough, at whose almost historic wedding
Mrs. Blake was a bridesmaid.
The Duchess will spend the Summer at
Newport herself, "and that Is virtually an
assurance that she will aid Mrs. Blake to
take a foremost social place. Is the
Duchess's influence so great that she can
outweigh any puritanical elements in our
Then Mrs. Blake's per
sonal attractions musf.
not be left opt of the ac
count. Her beauty, charm,
wit, energy and vitality
make her a distinguished
figure in any company
where she may be. Of
proved ability as a writer,
a novelist and political
leader, she is a character
who rises intellectually
considerably above the level of our repre
sentative fashionable gatherings.
A score of matters are pointed to as com
plicating the projected appearance of the
Blakes in society. Mrs. Blake's oldest
daughter, Miss Katherine Mackay, who by
the way is the image of her mother, made
her debut in society this year. She lives
with her father, but Is on excellent terms
with her mother. The chivalrous father
will be under the necessity of absenting
himself whenever his daughter meets her
The return of Dr. and Mrs. Blake to
Ame'rica is as much a surprise as their
original love affair. We have been accus
tomed to frivolous conduct on the part of
mere butterflies, but when a leading suf
fragist and a noted surgeon placed their
personal indulgence above the more seri
ous things, it was something of a shock to
the most sophisticated.
It was in 1898 that Clarence Mackay, the
only surviving son of John W. Mackay,
married the beautiful Miss Kitty Duer.
Immediately after the marriage everybody
learned that this was a union of great
wealth with brains and beauty Mr.
Mackay gave his bride every luxury that
she could imagine and money could pur
chase. Under her artistic guidance he
built Harbor Hill, near Roslyn, L. I., a man
sion that with its surrounding grounds is
said to have cost $6,000,000. It was a
Louis XIII. chateau, a rare architectural
Mrs. Mackay became known as a forceful
equal suffrage leader and a gifted author,
writing "The Stone of Destiny" and other
Gossip linked the names of Mrs.Iackay
and Dr. Blake as early as the Summer of
1911, when she had a house near Litchfield.
Conn., where Dr. Blake and the then Mrs.
Blake also had a home.
Dr. Blake was quite friendly with Mr.
Mackay and paid the latter a long visit at
the delightful shooting lodge which he
maintains in Scotland.
When the scandal was first being dis
cussed Dr. Blake's neglected wife gave this
pathetic interview which throbbed with
her own heart tremblings as she tried to
Copyright, 1910, by Star Company.
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Portland, Maine, with the object of obtain- lliliC SJmff Jm
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and early in '1914 obtained a novel ?3Jf - v, - & f
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face the situation as
a brave and loyal wife:
"Dr. Blake is the best
man God ever made,"
she said with earnest
ness. "I lived with
him for twenty-one
rears and I should
know. He is a man of
the highest ideals.
No woman ever had a more demoted hus
"Dr. Blake is a New Haven man. He
came to New York a stranger to the
leaders of his profession. He inherited a
wonderful intellect, and he worked hard.
He succeeded on absolute merit.
"Not only In technique, but in science,
he became the greatest surgeon In New
York. Yes, why shouldn't I say the whole
truth? He became the greatest surgeon
in the world. He had all the world at his
"I have known him all my life. His
great achievements, his devotion to me
and to our dear boys made me so happy.
Then this thing this terrible thing hap
pened. I cannot stand it. It Is killing me,
these things they are saying about the man
I love, the best man God ever made.
"I cannot say more. I have never said
one word reflecting on him. He is my
husband. He Is the greatest man God
ever made, and the best. Say that for me,
won't you? Say that I said it. He is my
Finding that the rumors and gossip were
indeed no longer to be doubted Mrs. Blake
instituted a damage suit against Mrs.
Mackay under her maiden name, Mrs.D.
As a result of the suit Dr. Blake was
constrained to leave New York and to re
sign his post as chief surgeon of the Pres
byterian Hospital and as professor at the
College of Physicians and Surgeons. He
went hurriedly to Europe and stopped for
a time in Edinburgh, Scotland, but event
ually passed on to Paris.
After considerable delay and many mys
terious conferences between the lawyers
concerned, Mrs. D. Ketchum Blake's suit
against Mrs. Mackay was withdrawn.
Great Britain Rights Reserved.
American. In order
to obtain it she
qualified as a resi
dent of France.
Frederic R. Cou
dert, who repre
sented Mr. Mackay,
gave this explana
tion of the affair:
court granted a
mutual divorce to
Mr. and Mrs. Mac
kay in an action
brought by Mrs-.
Mackay on the
ground of deser- '
tion, Mr. Mackay
a counter claim on the same ground."
A New York lawyer remarked that the
Paris divorce- would henceforth be the
most distinguished affair of its kind, quite
A few months later Mrs. Ketchum Blake
obtained a complete divorce from her
husband. She explained that she had
only consented to this course to secure
the future of her younger son.
Within twenty-four hours ofthis divorce
Dr. Blake and Mrs. Mackay were married
in Pris. It was then November 29, 1914,
and the -war had been raging nearly four
months. From the very start of the con
flict Dr. Blake had been head of th? p.
American Red uross Hospital at 2ei t
near Paris. Mrs. Mackay was assoctett
with him in Red Cross work.
Dr. Blake was in haste to be married,
but a new batch of wounded awaited his
attention. It was 2:30 in the afternoon be
fore he could finish his work. Then he
washed his hands, leapt Into an automo
bile, picked up Mrs. Mackay in Paris and
sped to the local French official's office,
where the simple marriage ceremony was
performed. Then he jumped into the car
again and returned to his surgical labors
at Neullly with the same speed.