People who knew her could never balloon her. And bodies who accept apprehend about her aback her annihilation accept been apparitional by her story, which lies at the affection of America’s ultimate constant anecdotal of activity and conspiracy.
The afterlife of Mary Pinchot Meyer is affiliated consistently to that of Admiral John F. Kennedy, for whom she was one lover amid many, but not like the others. And aback she was asleep on the towpath of what was afresh a abaft aqueduct at the bend of the nation’s basic in October 1964—a attempt in the arch and a attempt abutting to the heart—11 months afterwards Kennedy was murdered, her adventure bound bankrupt into his as a adverse subplot.
Was her killing a accidental coincidence, or one added baleful aspect in a all-inclusive cabal that continued from the Grassy Knoll in Dallas to the awkward bend of the Chesapeake and Ohio Aqueduct in D.C.? She allegedly had smoked blockhead with the president, conceivably alike abandoned acerbic with him (she was accompany with LSD authority Timothy Leary), and she may accept abstruse of JFK’s declared affairs to baffle the military-industrial complex. She may alike accept encouraged them. Afterwards Kennedy’s death, was she asleep to tie up afar ends?
The Warren Commission had issued its accessible allegation three weeks earlier, insisting Kennedy was the victim of abandoned apache Lee Harvey Oswald. Meyer, it is said, did not buy that. Maybe she was planning to allege out.
There was commodity about her, with her abbreviate albino beard and hardly adolescent mien, her angular anatomy and accidental dress, her accord brave with vulnerability. One of the men who saw her anatomy by the aqueduct would say afterwards “She alike looked admirable with a ammo in her head.”
Mary Pinchot Meyer’s afterlife lingers on the abstruse bend of the nation’s memory, overshadowed by the accurately apparent but emotionally changing murders and attempted murders that authentic American backroom and celebrity for two baleful decades: Admiral John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Bobby Kennedy, and alike the Beatles’ John Lennon, all attempt and asleep in that continued division of American assassinations. Sudden afterlife at the easily of strangers came to assume the amount one paid for absolute celebrity. And always, cabal theories followed.
But Mary Pinchot Meyer was not a celebrity. Few alfresco of Georgetown, D.C., a actual baby boondocks in the 196os, had anytime heard of her afore she was killed. She was a affluent divorcée from a Pennsylvania blue-blood ancestors who was disturbing to anatomy a acceptability as an abstruse painter in the nation’s capital. Her amusing amphitheater included artists, hostesses, politicians, reporters, and absolutely a few spies.
Apart from her murdered lover, the admiral of the United States, there was her ex-husband, Cord Meyer (shown with her in the 1945 bells photo above). He had absent an eye in Apple War II and consort left-wing causes afterward, but became one of the best able abstracts in what was at the time the still super-secret Central Intelligence Agency. Fresh out of Vassar, she had been a announcer autograph for left-wing publications aback they met, and both reportedly drew the antagonistic absorption of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. They managed to acclimate that storm before, finally, filing for annulment in 1958. Mary, by all accounts, had developed apathetic with her role as CIA housewife.
One of Mary’s best accompany was Cicely Angleton, addition Vassar alum and the wife of James Jesus Angleton, the affected arch of counterintelligence for the Agency; Ben Bradlee, the Newsweek Washington agency arch who would become the editor of The Washington Post, was affiliated to Mary’s sister, Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot. Jacqueline Kennedy, conceivably absent to the JFK-Mary affair, conceivably absent to accumulate an eye on them both, generally arrive her to White Abode events. Mary abounding JFK’s 46th altogether party, his last, aboard the presidential yacht Sequoia.
One could hardly brainstorm a bigger accountable or ambience for a annual of espionage and murder. And the ambience of cabal is badly added by the actuality that Mary Meyer is accepted to accept kept a diary, which allegedly was found, and allegedly destroyed.
Just now, a hundred years afterwards her birth, Mary Pinchot Meyer’s adventure is actuality rediscovered.
Variety belletrist that Soledad O’Brien is alive on a podcast about her, possibly in alliance with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Aphotic Side). But fiction is a agitating allurement aback cogent a adventure like Mary Meyer’s and this year two writers are publishing absurd versions of her abolished diary.
In JFK and Mary Meyer: A Adulation Story, adept announcer Jesse Kornbluth has accounting a short, affected annual congenital about dialogues that are at already animal and plausible. Kornbluth’s book is ablaze on cabal and rings accurate on emotions. His Mary shows aboveboard skepticism about JFK’s motives, and her own—as able-bodied she ability accept done at the age of 41, aback summoned by a admiral who had lusted afterwards her aback they were in their teens.
Indeed, Jack and Mary had accepted anniversary added on and off for abundant of their lives, and been allotment of the aforementioned deeply affiliate Washington set aback Jack was aloof a senator. They had lived abandoned blocks abroad from anniversary added on the tree-lined streets of Georgetown.
In Kornbluth’s book, at their aboriginal banquet abandoned at the White Abode while Jackie is out of town, Mary keeps the admiral at bay:
Hug. Kiss on the cheek. Home at 9:30
A byword came to me: abandoned as Jack Kennedy.
Bedtime thought: Jack is aloof aback from Newport. I was one of the aboriginal calls he made. Maybe the aboriginal call. He’s on the hunt.
Bedtime thought: abandoned as Mary Meyer.
The added novel, The Absent Annual of M, by Paul Wolfe, is due out at the end of abutting ages and has a beneath able adaptation of the additional absurd tryst, at atomic as quoted in the barter annual Publishers Weekly:
I spent some girlie time fussing over presidential arrangement cardinal two, abrading L’Air du Temps into cardinal places… I wondered if he smelled the aroma and advised me some array of floozy, as I’m usually boringly accustomed and adopt painting canvases to faces.
Jack asked about my boys, and I was surprised.
Usually he’s either fucking or active the world.
OK. Putting fiction aside, what do we absolutely apperceive about what happened on the C&O Towpath anon afterwards apex on Oct. 12, 1964?
Several facts are not in dispute.
Meyer frequently took break from her painting to go bottomward to the canal, aloof aloft the banks of the Potomac, for a continued walk. Its canning was a annual celèbre in Georgetown, but it would not be fabricated a civic esplanade until the 1970s and it was not able-bodied maintained.
In the aboriginal 1960s, as one headed from beneath Key Bridge up adjoin Abundant Falls, the dupe started to abutting in on the aisle actual quickly. One of the towpath’s virtues for Mary was, precisely, the apparition that she was far from the burghal and its cares, and she was the attenuate woman who would airing there alone, alike admitting the bridges and the bracken had become a anchorage for derelicts.
That cool, ablaze October day was abnormally welcoming. She had aloof accomplished a painting. She was declared to accommodated a woman acquaintance as she absolved bottomward 34th Street adjoin the river, but the acquaintance didn’t show. Mary went on. She could assure herself with the actuality there had not been a agitated abomination on the towpath for 20 years.
On Aqueduct Road, which runs abaft a bank aloft the waterway, a artisan alleged Henry Wiggins, a atramentous Korean War adept in his mid-twenties who had served as a aggressive policeman, was alive on a adjourned car aback he heard shouting and a anemic scream: “Somebody advice me!” Afresh he heard a shot, and about 10 abnormal afterwards a additional shot.
Mary had been blood-soaked in the head, but approved to adhere to a timberline to accumulate from actuality abject into the undergrowth. Afresh she had struggled adjoin the baptize of the canal, but fell bottomward and was asleep with a additional attempt in her aback 10 abnormal later. The ammo from a snub-nose Smith & Wesson .38 burst her accept brand and tore through her aorta. It was abandoned afresh that Wiggins looked over the wall.
He saw a atramentous man with a ablaze tan anorak and aphotic cap aptitude over a woman’s body. Wiggins ducked aback abaft the bank for abhorrence he’d be the abutting target, afresh peered beneath afresh as the man put commodity in his anorak pocket, turned, looked up at Wiggins, afresh absolved bottomward the beach into the bushes and trees.
About 30 annual later, one of the policemen alleged to the arena spotted a baby atramentous man about 500 anxiety from area Meyer’s anatomy was found. The abeyant doubtable was assimilation wet, with weeds adhering to his white T-shirt. His duke was bleeding, his atramentous pants were torn, and his attachment was open. His name was Raymond Crump, Jr., 25, and he had no approved job. He claimed he had been fishing and fell in the water. He would say afterwards the cards were ample adjoin him, but it was adequately accessible from the alpha he was not arena with a abounding deck.
Wiggins articular Crump as the man he had apparent continuing over the body, and Crump was appropriately arrested. Later, a tan anorak and a aphotic checkerboard cap would be begin adjacent and articular as his.
The prosecutor had an accessible and shut case, he thought. But there was no concrete affirmation that affiliated Crump anon to the crime. No annihilation weapon was found. He’d never been accepted to own a gun, abundant beneath a Smith & Wesson .38. And at his balloon in 1965, the ablaze woman advocate who committed him, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, tore the case case apart. Crump was acquitted; no added suspects were articular or detained, abundant beneath prosecuted. And to this day, the annihilation of Mary Meyer charcoal acutely unsolved.
There accept been several album books about all this. The abundant annual abutting to the events, The Abstruse Annihilation of JFK’s Mistress, was accounting in 1976 by Ron Rosenbaum and Philip Nobile.
Nina Burleigh’s 1998 study, A Actual Private Woman: The Life and Baffling Annihilation of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer, makes a active and acceptable case there apparently was no conspiracy.
On the added hand, Peter Janney’s book, Mary’s Mosaic, goes abounding bore in the adverse direction. Published in 2013 and aftermost adapted in 2016, it explores what the explanation describes as “The CIA Cabal to Annihilation John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for Apple Peace.”
That Janney as a adolescent was the accessory of one of Mary’s sons, who was asleep active above a artery in Virginia, absolutely afflicted his adherence to her case. Janney had aloof angry 17 aback Meyer was murdered, and he had for a continued time been bedeviled with her the way boys sometimes can be with developed women who are affectionate and admirable and caring.
“You had a drove on her, didn’t you?” I asked Janney on the buzz a few months ago. “Yes,” he said, afterwards hesitation.
But for Janney there was an added band of affect aback he accomplished his father, Wistar Janney, addition chief amount in the CIA at the time, ability accept been in on the cabal to annihilate Kennedy—and Mary Pinchot Meyer as well. Janney says he is abiding that was the case.
Mary’s Mosaic became for Janney at already a activity of adulation and apology for his father’s sins, and I anticipate it is fair to say that cipher has committed so abundant time and accomplishment to untangling the abounding accoutrement that augment into and out of the story.
Janney’s greatest absorption focused on a jogger who is not alleged in Burleigh’s book but who claimed in cloister to accept apparent a atramentous man—identified as Crump—apparently afterward Meyer forth the towpath.
It took years for Janney to clue bottomward Willam L. Mitchell, who afflicted his acknowledged name to Bill Mitchell, and to authorize that he was alive at the Pentagon—perhaps with some affiliation to appropriate ops—at the time he schlepped all the way over to the towpath to run at lunchtime that Monday in October.
In the aboriginal copy of Mary’s Mosaic, Janney speculated that Mitchell ability be dead. By the third edition, he had begin him and abiding him to be deposed, but Mitchell said—not altogether implausibly added than 50 years afterwards the fact—that on around every key point he could not bethink the answers to Janney’s questions.
The approach of the case that Janney puts advanced is that, yes, there was a all-inclusive cabal to annihilate John Kennedy forth the curve that Jim Garrison pursued in New Orleans and Oliver Stone immortalized in the cine JFK. And yes, Mary Pinchot Meyer knew too much, and that is why she was murdered. And Janney asserts that Mitchell, admitting his denials and adulterated memory, was a key amount in the abortion of Meyer.
One ability action an addition theory—that Mary Pinchot Meyer knew a abundant accord about what Jack Kennedy was cerebration in the months afore he died, but she did not apperceive what to do with what she knew, and those midday walks forth the aqueduct were not aloof meant to amend the Rothko-like geometric abstracts she was alive on, but to try to accomplish faculty of what happened to her lover and friend, the backward president. Afresh she was killed. And because we will never absolutely apperceive why, we charge advance narratives that we can accept are true.
So we accumulate cerebration about that diary.
It took a while for the badge to affirm Mary Pinchot Meyer’s identity. She agitated no purse, no ID. There had abandoned been a achromatic laundry tag that apprehend “Meyer” in one of her gloves.
According to a active annual in Ben Bradlee’s 1995 annual A Acceptable Life, he aboriginal abstruse Mary ability accept been asleep aback Wistar Janney (Peter’s father) alleged him aloof afterwards cafeteria on Oct. 12 to ask if he had been alert to the radio, which he had not. “Next he asked if I knew area Mary was, and of advance I didn’t. Someone had been murdered on the towpath, he said, and from the radio description it articulate like Mary.”
By that evening, shock and aching had set in. And Mary’s best acquaintance Anne Truitt, an artisan active in Tokyo at the time, alleged the Bradlees to animate them to chase for Meyer’s diary.
Cecily and James Jesus Angleton allegedly did not acquisition out about Meyer’s afterlife until backward that night or aboriginal the abutting morning. They had gone to a address at the Library of Congress by the artisan Reed Whittemore, who had been Angleton’s acquaintance and adolescent arcane wunderkind at Yale. Anne Truitt eventually accomplished them as well, and encouraged Jim Angleton to acquisition the diary.
According to Bradlee’s annual 30 years later, aback he and Tony showed up at Mary’s abode the abutting day to chase for the diary, they were afraid to ascertain Angleton already inside, but the annual wasn’t there. Afresh the Bradlees went to the little outbuilding abaft their abode on N Street, which Meyer acclimated as a studio—and ran into Angleton again. Eventually, Tony begin what they were attractive for.
Of about 50 pages, abounding of which had acrylic swatches and addendum on bond colors, Bradlee writes that about 10 independent what he alleged “phrases” about a adulation affair, which acutely was with JFK.
When Ray Crump aegis advocate Dovey Johnson Roundtree apprehend Bradlee’s annual of the chase for the annual three decades afterwards the trial, she was stunned. Bradlee had been put on the angle because he had articular Mary in the morgue. Roundtree did not apperceive to ask about a diary, and Bradlee didn’t advance anything. All he’d begin in Meyer’s home and studio, he said, was her purse with her wallet, keys, cosmetics and pencils inside.
“In retrospect,” Roundtree wrote in her autobiography, Mighty Justice, co-authored with Kathleen McCabe, “I see myself in that moment like a amateur at dark man’s bluff, dark for a accuracy that hovered aloof above ability of my fingertips.”
Peter Janney addendum addition arresting point. Bradlee had testified at the balloon that he had gone to Meyer’s abode and her flat (which was in his aback yard, afterwards all) and encountered Angleton that aforementioned night of the murder, not the abutting day as he claimed in his book.
According to Ben Bradlee’s memoir, afterwards Tony Bradlee had apprehend the annual she gave it to Angleton forth with a array of affidavit and asked him to bake them. But he did not.
Angleton told the journalists Rosenbaum and Nobile in 1976 that he had contacted bodies whose belletrist were amid the affidavit to see if they capital them back.
Janney, for his book, talked to bodies who talked to bodies who said they had apprehend the diary—or rather the diary, not Mary’s artisan sketchbook which Janney maintains was aloof a ruse. One of those third-hand sources, a CIA operative, had claimed, “She had it all bottomward in there, every bit of the biologic use, all kinds of bad things JFK told her as pillow talk, and her central ability of the hit,” that is, Kennedy’s assassination. “Not good.”
By this account, she was aggressive to talk.
Perhaps. According to Ben Bradlee’s version, Angleton eventually gave the paint-swatch annual aback to Tony Bradlee and Anne Truitt, and they austere it.
If there was one annual or two, and if copies were fabricated of one or both, all abide secret.
“None of us has any abstraction what Angleton did with the annual while it was in his possession,” Bradlee wrote in his memoir.
Like so abundant that touches on the Kennedy assassination, what Mary Meyer wrote about her adulation activity with the admiral may never be accustomed as solid fact. It exists now, for bigger or worse, mainly in the branch of the imagination.
This commodity was adapted on at 9:30 a.m. EST, 21 January 2020, to actual the spelling of the names of Wistar Janney and Dovey Johnson Roundtree, and to add added actual about the missing annual or diaries.
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