Sunday, December 10, 2017

Living(ston) History 2 On the Mother's Side: A Trip to Merrie Olde England

friend of the family
the young Theodore Roosevelt
As in the case of crime writer Rufus King, who through his mother, Amelia Sarony Lambert King, was related to the Saronys, including Napoleon Sarony, the renowned 19th-century celebrity photographer, some of the most interesting relations of crime writer Armstrong Livingston are found on his mother's side of the family. 

While Livingston's wealthy and socially prominent paternal relations were comparatively easy to locate, however, his maternal ancestors offered more of a tangle. Much has been untangled, however.

Armstrong Livingston's father, criminal defense attorney and assemblyman Robert Armstrong Livingston, wed Florence Olivia Scott at St. Bartholmew's Episcopal Church in Manhattan in 1882; and Armstrong, the couple's only child, was born three years later.  Along with two other weddings performed that day, the lavish Livingston-Scott nuptials were given a sizable write-up in the New York Times society pages, under the the rather flaunting headline, "Three Fashionable Weddings [couples named]--Costly Presents.

Guests at the Livingston affair included Livingston's fellow assemblymen Theodore Roosevelt and Hamilton Fish II, who politically went on the bigger the things (the Presidency of the United States and the US House of Representatives; Fish was also the political "boss" of Putnam County, New York, whence Livingston came), as well as Stuyvesant Fish, future president of the Illinois Central Railroad, and William Kissam Vanderbilt, a grandson of the late Cornelius Vanderbilt and then the wealthiest man in America. 

Gilded wedding guests: Stuyvesant Fish House
at East 78th Street and Madison Avenue
The presence of all these swells kind of makes me feel sorry for the two other couples who also had their weddings take place that day!  Good heavens, was there enough society to go around?

Concerning family antecedents, the Times article states merely that Robert Armstrong Livingston's bride was the stepdaughter of the distinguished Dr. EW Ranney, who gave away the bride. (There were no bridesmaids present.) 

Dr. Ranney was Evander Willard Ranney, one of 13 children of Vermont farmer and country doctor Waitstill Randolph
, a beloved figure in Vermont who had served in the state as lieutenant governor.  He had two other sons who became doctors in New York: Lafayette Ranney, who for many years was a city police surgeon, and James Ranney, who served several tears in the city as a coroner.

Evander Ranney was the second of three husbands of Armstrong Livingston's maternal grandmother, Olivia Griffith Hoyt (1835-1912).  More on Olivia in a bit; in the meantime, on to her first spouse!

The first husband of Olivia Griffith, as she was then known, was John Hanby Scott, a figure who remains rather nebulous, though I've sketched in quite a bit of his canvas. John Hanby Scott was born on September 23, 1828 in the Yorkshire (West Riding) city of Sheffield, England, and died prematurely at the age of 39 in Queens, New York on July 15, 1868. 

engraved handle of Sellers razor
John was the son of James Scott (1796-1870) and his first wife, Sarah Margaret Sellers (1798-1829). Sarah Sellers Scott having died when her only child was but a baby, James, I surmise, committed the boy to the care of relatives. 

These relatives possibly included John Sellers (1793-1855), a Sheffield manufacturer of pen-knife blades, surgical instruments, razors and engravers' plates and tools (see above).

Little more than a year after his first wife's death, James Scott wed Matilda Barton, who with her sister Mary, ran a "School for Educating Young Ladies" at imposing Highfield House in Wath-upon-Dearne, a town about 12 miles distant from Sheffield.  Mary Barton married at this time as well and left Highgate House, but Matilda, along with her husband James, a drawing master, maintained the establishment for the next four decades, until James' death. 

James Scott probably was the son of a wood carver and gilder from Grantham, Lincolnshire and he definitely was the nephew of Abraham Hanby of Bridgehoueses, Yorkshire (is this connected with the abandoned railway station in Sheffield?), for whom he partly named his son.  Not long before his own death in 1870 James erected in the cemetery as Wath-upon-Dearne a memorial stone in memory of both his uncle and his son, who of course had recently died abroad in New York.

Highfield House, Wath-upon-Dearne, Yorkshire, where
for four decades the maternal great-grandfather of
Armstrong Livingston and his second wife
ran a school for young ladies

In New York, John Hanby Scott was a merchant in Queens who with his family resided at 80 Jamaica Street, but beyond that I know nothing about the man's career.  Certainly his widow married well in her second husband, Dr. Ranney, as did his two daughters (at least monetarily), these being Armstrong Livingston's mother, Florence Olivia Scott (1862), and Armstrong's maternal aunt, Julia Hoyt Scott (1858-1936).

Two years before her sister, in 1880, Julia Hoyt Scott wed Captain Edward Arthur Johnson, of Thornhill House, Wath-upon-Dearne, the locale of Highfield House, her late Grandfather Scott's educational establishment for Victorian misses. 

Julia Hoyt Scott
(later Mrs.Edward Johnson
and later yet Countess Erdody)
Captain Johnson, "an officer in her Majesty's reserves," received a lavish write-up in the Times, which declared that he

is of an old English family, inheriting large wealth and a fine estate in Canisbrough, England [sic], upon which the pair will take up their residence after making a tour of the United States, and visiting Saratoga, Newport, and other Summer resorts.

The next year Julia and Edward were residing at the aforementioned Thornhill House, where Edward had followed in the professional path of his father, William Johnson: he was a wine and spirits merchant. 

Readers of the Times 1880 wedding account might have been forgiven for expecting the Johnsons to have been longtime quasi-feudal landowners, but such was the case!  Perhaps Florence's and Julia's merchant father, John Hanby Scott, had been a dealer in wine and spirits as well.

Unfortunately the marriage between Julia and Edward ended less than a decade later in divorce.  In 1892, however, Julia married into genuine nobility when she wed Jean Ladislas Louis Gilbert George, Count Erdody, of Gyepufuzes, Austria-Hungary (today Kohfidisch, in the state of Burgenland, Austria), where the Erdody family had long maintained "small palace," today called Schloss Kohfidisch.  Julia may not have found herself a prince, but she did catch a count, and she could finally say, without too much exaggeration, that she lived in a castle.

Which was appropriate enough, for her (and Armstrong Livingston's) ancestors were descended from French nobility, though admittedly of a rather quirky quality.  More on this soon.

schloss kohfidisch

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Living(ston) History: Frances Livingston Glover and her daughter, the unsinkable Susanna

Crime writer Armstrong Livingston dedicated his mystery novel The Monster in the Pool (1929)--to be reviewed here soon I hope--to his lone paternal aunt, Frances Livingston Glover, who, like other members of the author's father's side of the family, lived a life of considerable wealth and privilege.  Born in 1849, Frances Glover turned 80 in the year of the publication of The Monster in the Pool, suggesting that the book dedication may have been a sort of gift to the old woman from her 44-year-old nephew. 

Frances, one of two elder siblings to Armstrong Livingston's father, noted criminal defense attorney Robert Armstrong Livingston, wed wealthy insurance and real estate broker James Andrew Glover in 1888, three years after the future author's birth, and with Glover she had three daughters. After leaving prep school, Armstrong Livingston entered his uncles's business and resided for a time in the Glover's Manhattan household, which then consisted of his uncle and aunt, his three girl cousins and four Irish-born house servants (a cook, waitress, laundress and maid). 

The eldest Glover daughter, Susanna, made news in New York when she became a prominent survivor of the 1909 wreck of RMS Republic, the so-called "Millionaire's Ship" (on account of the large number of wealthy American passengers), which sank in the Atlantic off Nantucket after colliding in the fog with SS Florida. In stark contrast with RMS Titanic three years later, a distress call was quickly answered, resulting in the rescue of all 739 surviving passengers and crew.  (Three Republic passengers had been killed in the collision, along with three Florida crewmen.)

Republic and Florida collide

Young Susanna Glover, who had just made her debut at the age of 18 the previous year, distinguished herself during the calamity "by her self-possession," the New York Times reported at the time.  (Her passport photo application reported that her chin was "firm.") 

With the Republic sinking to the bottom of the ocean, its passengers and crew were transferred to the Florida, leaving this ship, which had its own complement of 900 Italian immigrants, dangerously overloaded.  Fortunately, RMS Baltic arrived to share some of the human burden.  During the transfer, however, a riot nearly broke out among the Italian immigrants when they were required to remain on Florida until the first-class passengers from Republic had been transferred.

Susanna Glover responded by taking matters firmly in hand.  When she left Florida for Baltic, she carried with her two Italian babies, one tucked under each of her arms.  It's something I would have liked to have seen!

The wreckage of Republic was located in 1981, not far from that of the better-remembered SS Andrea Doria.  Salvage operations have been made, rumors having long swirled that the Republican was loaded with Russian gold.

More coming soon on Armstrong Livingston's interesting maternal side of the family--the Anglo-French side.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lavender Harvest: In Cold Blood (1931), by Armstrong Livingston

[Is he] [g]enerous?  Or just another millionaire?"

"Very generous.  He's paying all expenses, and even that didn't stop him from recommending [we stay in] the [swanky] Century Hotel in Prescott."

"Thank goodness!  This firm has needed a customer like that for some months/"  Mr. Hibbert's eyes took on a dreamy expression. "Only the other day I saw the most exquisite chinchilla wrap in a Fifth Avenue window, but I knew I had no more chance of getting it than if I'd been your wife."

"Tommy!" expostulated Denise in her soft warm voice.  She was properly scandalized.  "If somebody should hear you!"


"Jimmy [said Tommy]--I'm going to like Prescott!"

"It's a queer place and it takes a queer person to like it."

"Thanks, dear heart!"


The detective [Jimmy] glanced across the table almost fondly. 

"You're the greatest little vamp that ever dug for gold!  I'm sure I don't know why Matilda objects to kissing you, Tommy--there are moments when I feel like doing it myself!"


"What can I do for you?" he asked dulcetly.

"You can show me some vice," said the lady simply....

"Vice?  You said--vice?"

"Yes.  Any form of depravity you may have on hand."

                                                            --In Cold Blood (1931), Armstrong Livingston

Jacket by the great Arthur J, Hawkins, Jr.
featuring both love letters and hairpin
Brutal murder in the American Midwest, in a tome entitled In Cold Blood?  I know what you're thinking, but before there was that scion of the Deep South, that marvel of Monroeville, Truman Capote, there was crime novelist Robert Armstrong Livingston, of the New York Livingstons, don't you know.

Among many other things, both good and bad, a member of the Livingston clan built Edgewater, a Greek Revival mansion overlooking the Hudson River that later became the abode for a time of Gore Vidal, who, as discussed previously on this blog and in an essay I wrote for Murder in the Closet (2017), briefly moonlighted in mystery fiction, under the pen name Egdar Box.

Oddly enough, the famous book that Armstrong Livingston's In Cold Blood really bears some resemblance to is Dashiell Hammett's bloody landmark mystery Red Harvest (1929), wherein a tough town is cleaned up (or perhaps more accurately wiped out) by an even tougher detective, the memorable Continental Op. 

To be sure, both Hammett and Livingston wrote for the American mystery pulps before turning to novels, but such different approaches the two men took to crime!  Nevertheless, while Hammett is hard-boiled and Livingston is light-hearted, their two novels, separated by just two years, seethe with civic corruption and bloody murder.

Livingston's favored series sleuth, private inquiry agent Jimmy Traynor, debuted in 1922 in The Mystery of the Twin Rubies, a highly classic tale that comes complete with country house and butler.  By 1931, when he solved the series of murders in violence-riddled Prescott, "that thriving but ever sinful city of mid-western America," in the novel In Cold Blood, Jimmy had acquired an entourage composed of a vivacious flapper-ish wife, Denise; an always game spinster aunt, Matilda Landry; and, last but most definitely not least in my view, Jimmy's remarkable transvestite assistant, Tommy Hibbert.

While in the novel Denise is first described as a "very pretty, dark-haired young woman" reading a book and Aunt Matilda as a "much older woman" doing her knitting, Tommy is detailed at greater length:

He was short and slender, very good-looking in a pink-and-white way, and although he was now in his twenty-fifth year no trace of down, much less anything so coarse as a hair, had come to mar the smoothness of his dimpled cheeks.  If in need of money--which he never was--he could readily have sold his likeness to one of those "a skin no razor should touch" advertisements.  His was not only the famous schoolgirl complexion, but a complexion such as lamentably few schoolgirls have.

Tommy's greatest passion is buying beautiful frocks and ravishing furs to gad about in (see the opening quotations to this piece).  In this passion he is indulged by his boss Jimmy, who seems to employ Tommy mainly to "vamp" male suspects.  And vamp Tommy does!  Verily, Tommy is the Queen of the Vamps, a true Duchess of Drag.

Camp sensibility is pronounced in the novel (again, see the opening quotations), and it is congruent with the so-called "pansy craze" that at the time of the novel's publication was still camping it up in sophisticated metropolitan centers in the United States and other countries at this time.  Explains Darryl W. Bullock in a 2017 Guardian article (linked above):

The 1920s saw an increase in the number of bohemian enclaves in rundown areas, such as New York's Greenwich Village.  Painters, poets and performers were lured by the cheap rents and by an increasingly wild and lawless lifestyle.  Prohibition had given birth to a black market for booze and a bustling underground scene, where bright young things slumming it in mob-run nightspots developed a taste for camp, cutting repartee.

LGBT people were flocking to cities as much for the nightlife as for the ability to connect with others.  Soon,
Variety was reporting that Broadway "will have night places with 'pansies' as the main draw.  Paris and Berlin have similar resorts, with the queers attracting the lays."  In Berlin, you could hear singers performing Das Lila Lied (The Lavender Song), one of the earliest songs to celebrate homosexuality.

During these years pansies and other queer characters also popped up in the pages of mainstream fiction, but Armstrong Livingston's Tommy Hibbert is the only drag detective from the Golden Age of mystery writing that of which I am aware. (Please chime in if you know otherwise.)

George Francis Paduzzi (1897-1947), aka Karyl Norman
Billed as the "Creole Fashion Plate," the smooth-cheeked entertainer
performed as a woman in nightclubs,wearing gorgeous gowns made by his mother.

To Tommy's vamping activity Livingston devotes a chapter, appropriately titled "Tommy the Vamp." Interestingly, when Tommy is decked out in his drag alter ego of Mrs. Clare Fontenoy, the author describes the exquisite creature as "she," even though we, the readers, know that deception is afoot:

As she stood back from the tall glass to survey every detail from the Nile-green slippers to the diamond ornament in her hair--bad taste, that, but she guessed Julian would admire it--she felt an artist's pride in the result.  She would have given anything if Jimmy had been there to gasp his amazement.

Was Armstrong Livingston ahead of his time, embracing the concept of "gender identity"?  Perhaps he was ahead of this time, even.

If these speculations strike some readers as too high-falutin', we can always scrutinize In Cold Blood as a mystery story, of course!  While the novel is most distinguished by its naughty good humor amid mayhem and murder, there is genuine detection--along with an intuitive leap on the part of Jimmy that goes a bit too far, for my taste!

In New York Jimmy is hired by the visiting Hannibal Partridge, the Prescott multimillionaire, to get his "youngest and only living child," Jessica Partridge (I enjoyed this euphonious mashup of icons Jessica Fletcher and Shirley Partridge), out of a jam.  Although she has not been arrested, Miss Partridge is suspected by Prescott authorities and citizens alike (including even her boyfriend, it seems) of having committed double murders in their fair burg: firstly, that of thirtyish man-about-town and thorough "bad egg" Meredith Chambers (skull bashed with poker) and secondly, duplicitous French lady's maid (is there another kind in American and British crime fiction?) Marie Durant (stabbed between ribs).

Partridge wants to get the stain of suspicion removed from his impulsive daughter once and for all. Factors complicating Jimmy's investigation are a packet of incriminating love letters, turned into instruments of blackmail; a dropped hairpin (what mystery maven Carolyn Wells called a "gravity clue"); and, of course, corruption at the highest levels of local and state government.  Prescott is a real Sin City, as Jimmy points out when he gives his Denise and Aunt Matilda a driving tour of its criminal districts, which apparently encompass the entire metropolis:

Squalid area this, by the station.  Now we're running up Fenimore Street--remember the Fenimore Arms murder, Aunty?  Here's Jalep Avenue, where Squint-Eye Solomon got his throat cut.  Here's Jereboam Street--I forget just what happened there, but it was quite unpleasant....Bay Street--you recall the Bay Street Siege, Denise, when they had to turn out the militia and dynamite the house in which six gangsters with a machine-gun had taken refuge?  Cooper Avenue, where they had that pitched battle between two rival gangs a month ago.  Ah--now we're coming to the better districts!  On your left is Canterbury Street, where that society debutante lived who garroted her mother because the old lady had alienated the affections of the daughter's boy-friend.

Jimmy's comparison between Prescott's squalid and better districts is rather amusing, I think.  You would almost get the impression that the good old U. S. of A. has had something of a history of violence.

Just another day in the big city?
St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Chicago, February 14, 1929

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mr. Livingston, I Presume? Armstrong Livingston (1885-1948) and the Murder Racket

Once in the middle twenties I was driving along the High Corniche Road through the twilight with the whole French Riviera twinkling on the sea below.   As far ahead as I could see was Monte Carlo and though it was out of season and there were no Grand Dukes left to gamble, and E. Phillips Oppenheim was a fat, industrious man in my hotel, who lived in a bathrobe--the very name was so incorrigibly enchanting that I could only stop the car and like the Chinese whisper "Ah me! Ah me!"

                                              --from "Early Success" (1937), by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From Monte Carlo in 1930 crime writer Armstrong Livingston inscribed a copy of his 1929 mystery The Monster in the Pool to Peryl B. Magill (1889-1983), a southern California osteopathic physician and daughter of prominent Orange County rancher and Civil War veteran Cyrus Newton Magill. He bestowed "all good wishes" upon Dr. Magill and "a Merry Christmas" unto her younger sister, Julia.

Pasted into the book, presumably by the author himself, is a photo of Livingston at table, newspapers spread out before him.  The Paris Herald Tribune, mainstay of American expatriates in Continental Europe, is most prominently displayed.

Although an expat himself, Livingston set most of the mysteries with which I am familiar--most of which appeared at the height of the Jazz Age and are of the "Murder? What fun!" school associated with A. A. Milne's The Red House Mystery (1922) and Agatha Christie's fizzy Tommy and Tuppence thrillers--in the United States. 

By the depressed 1930s, however, Livingston's writing career, like that of the admittedly more high-toned F. Scott Fitzgerald, had taken a downward turn, with only a few more novels by him ever appearing in print.  By the time of his death, on February 7, 1948, when he was only 62, his occupation was given as "retired author."

Golden Age authors of "classic"crime fiction in both the US and UK often have been derided as hoity-toity, and admittedly mystery authors in terms of family background do not come much hoitier or toitier than Robert Armstrong Livingston, who wrote crime fiction simply as Armstrong Livingston. 

Like the great vintage crime writer Rufus King, much beloved and blogged about at The Passing Tramp (as longtime readers of this blog will know), vintage crime writer Robert Armstrong Livingston, or "Ray" as he was known to family and intimate friends (possibly for his initials RA), came out of the top drawer of New York society--though within Livingston's particular drawer were representatives of the most prominent of old New York families imaginable. 

"The Nephew"
Robert Livingston the Younger
Ray was a gr-gr-gr-gr-gr-grandson of Robert Livingston the Younger, colonial merchant, mayor of Albany, New York and a nephew (in fact he was known as The Nephew) of Robert Livingston the Elder, owner of 160,000 acres of land along the Hudson River and the first "lord" of Livingston Manor. Through The Nephew Ray was related not only to Livingstons, of course, but additionally to such big-wigged families as the Roosevelts, Schuylers, Beekmans, Stuyvesants, Fishes, Van Rensselaers and Ten Broecks.

Ray's own father, the attorney Robert Armstrong Livingston, Sr., was praised in the snooty History of Putnam County, New York, in the sort of effusive terms one often sees in Golden Age detective fiction of the stodgier sort:

Though still a young man, his ample wealth, high social standing, and remarkable ability as a jurist have won for him a popularity and a position in the county, which are hardly equaled by any.

In these (putatively) democratic days, we at least like to appear less nakedky admiring in our praise of "ample wealth" and "high social standing" per se.  Yet it certainly appears that Robert A. Livingston was not only wealthy and socially prominent but exceedingly able in his chosen profession of the law.

the author's distinguished
(and socially prominent!)
attorney father
Among the interesting criminal cases where Robert A. Livingston mounted successful defenses, securing acquittals for his clients, was that of Alexander Armstrong, a longtime African-American servant of Robert's prominent kinsman Cambridge Livingston.

Alexander Armstrong stood accused of arson in the first degree, its having been established that he had repeatedly threatened to burn down the tenement in which he lived. A visiting African-American minister and his wife had testified that during their visit Armstrong had thrown a lamp at the ceiling, starting a conflagration in his room.

Livingston was able to establish, however, that the clergyman had served time in Sing Sing Prison for assault and that on the night in question he and his wife had physically attacked the accused, during which scuffle the lamp had been upset, with a fiery result.

A considerably better-known case with which Livingston became involved was his defense of railway brakeman George Melius, who had been charged with manslaughter in the fourth degree over the January (Friday the 13th) 1882 Spuyten Duyvil train disaster, in which eight people lost their lives in a train collision and devouring fire that took place in the dead of winter near the aptly named Spuyten Devil (Spouting Devil) Creek in the Bronx.

These fatalities included newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Park Valentine (the husband was the eldest son of Bennington, Vermont mill owner and Civil War hero Alonzo Valentine) and influential New York state assemblyman Webster Wagner.  (A number of the passengers on the train were legislators returning to New York City after the closing of the legislative term.)

This trial was a famous one in its day, in part on account of the social prominence (that term again!) of the victims and in part because of the horrific accounts regaled in the newspapers and newfangled picture magazines of the deaths of the victims, most of whom had been burnt alive.  Of Mr. and Mrs. Valentine, who were only 21 and 19 at the time of their tragic demise, one terrible account, published in the popular Illustrated American, noted that the

young wife was perfectly free when her charred remains were discovered, and could easily have escaped from the burning car.  But she would not leave her husband, who was caught by the debris, and, clinging to him, she died with him.  They were found clasped in each other's arms, those arms being burnt to a crisp.

Of Senator Wagner, the same account lamented what

horrible agonies he must have suffered before death released him--how fearfully he must have writhed with pain.  The body was like the trunk of  a charred tree; the arms were almost gone; the head was a calcined lump.

Senator Wagner was identified in part by his intact gold watch, which bore the initials "W. W."  Being a jaded mystery reader I'm reminded of all those Golden Age detective novels involving devious tricks performed with burnt bodies--see for example Freeman Wills Crofts's 1927 Inspector French and the Starvel Tragedy--but this was a real human tragedy, of course, not a fictional puzzle problem.

artistic rendering of the attempt to save victims of the Spuyten Duyvil railway clamity

It was poignantly reported that onlookers had rushed to the scene of the burning cars on that dark wintry night rolling snowballs, in a desperate effort to put out the flames--no firefighters having yet arrived.  A frivolous children's playtime activity became a heroic act of rescue.  It seems fortunate under the circumstances that so few passengers actually perished.

Robert A. Livingston had been advised that the defense of the hapless brakeman George Melius was a hopeless one, yet in fact his arguments secured Melius' acquittal by the persuaded jury.  The implication in the decision was that the brakeman had been made a scapegoat for the railway company.  As the account in The Illustrated American explains

[a]lthough everyone felt that, but for the wretched parsimony of the company in heating the car with stoves, the train would not have caught fire and the majority of the lives saved, the company escaped scot-free.

It was the Gilded Age, after all!

Reflecting his social standing, Robert A. Livingston was a Republican and Episcopalian.  He twice served in the State Assembly and was a serious contender for the Speakership.  His death in 1913 before he had completed six decades of life no doubt foreshortened a most accomplished legal and political career.

His son, Robert A. Livingston, Jr., or Ray, the future crime writer, was but 27 when his father expired, having been born to Livingston pere and his wife, Florence Olivia Scott of Ravenswood, Queens, on August 16, 1885. 

Only a couple of years prior to his father's death, Ray Livingston had married Gladys Patten Glover, daughter of John Milton and Catherine Augusta (Patten) Glover, a Missouri congressman and his heiress wife.  Augusta Patten was one of five daughters of Irish Catholic Washington, DC society matron Anastasia Patten, widow of California Gold Rush millionaire Edmund Patten. 

Anastasia's daughter Augusta's 1887 marriage to John Milton Glover, though disapproved of by her sisters, who considered Glover an unsuitable match, was breathlessly heralded as the "most brilliant private social event of the season in this city, when the wealth, social position and surroundings of the parties are considered...."  The bride's doting mother was said to have presented the newlyweds with $100,000 as a wedding gift.

The Moorings, Bermuda
see My Bermuda Postcards

A Republican and Episcopalian like his father, Ray Livingston had been educated at St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island, where his parents had another home (it seems that while Gladys enjoyed summering in Newport, Robert liked fishing in Maine), after which he entered the insurance, and later the brokerage, business.

Four years after his marriage to Gladys, however, the couple departed to the Atlantic island of Bermuda (previous to this time they lived in Woodmere, Long Island), where during the war years they resided at a house called "The Moorings" and Ray began writing pulp crime fiction.

Future crime writer Armstrong Livingston attended
St. George's prep school, near Newport, Rhode Island

For the first half of the 1920s the couple lived in Algiers, but by 1926 Ray and Gladys presumably had divorced, for that year in Manhattan Ray wed Ruth Stevens Dorr.  In 1930 he was living in Monaco, but by 1942 he was back in Manhattan, seemingly single and retired.  He died six years later and was buried in the historic Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn, the final resting place of many of his ancestors and more distant relations.

I plan to say more about Livingston's crime fiction in a future post, but for now I will simply list his known crime novels.

The Mystery of the Twin Rubies (1922)
On the Right Wrists (1925)
The Ju-Ju Man (1926) (with Thomas K. Griffiths)
Light-Fingered Ladies (1927)
The Guilty Accuser (1928)
The Monk of Hambleton (1928) (review by TomCat)
The Doublecross (1929)
The Monster in the Pool (1929)
Trackless Death (1929)
The Murder Trap (1930)
In Cold Blood (1931)
Murder Is Easy (1933)
Magic for Murder (1936)
Night of Crime (1938)|
The Murdered and the Missing (1947; nonfiction) (with John G. Stein)