Baby Doe
Historic Sites
Articles, Speeches & Interviews

Caroline Bancroft Interview

CAROLINE BANCROFT: She first came out very belligerently, because she disliked strangers, and she disliked anybody who was trespassing on the land of the Matchless [Mine]. And then she recognized Father because she knew all the distinguished mining people of the day. And so then her manner changed. And Father introduced me and she said, "Oh, you have a very beautiful daughter," she said, "of course my beautiful daughter is serving for the Lord." And this, of course, was Silver Dollar, who was dead. [She] became a prostitute, a drug addict and died from being scalded to death. At one time they'd thought that somebody had actually done it on purpose, but apparently she was drunk and got into a scalding bathtub and died in a rooming house in the Tenderloin district of Chicago. That happened in 1925, and this was 1927. So Silver was already dead. But she said….this was her lie to the world….she never would admit that Silver had gone bad, you see.

So, she asked us to come up. She was dressed in a kind of corduroy trousers, with boots, and she had a bandana around the head completely covering up her head. And she still had her teeth then. In the last pictures that you see of her, one of her front teeth is gone. But she had very very beautiful teeth. So we went up, and their cabin was very neat. It wasn't clean, but it was it was very neat. And…uh…Father and she talked about mining things and I thought my own thoughts. And uh…which I regret now, but that was the way it was. And then Father said that he had some homemade wine. (It WAS Prohibition.) He had some homemade wine in the car, that his housekeeper had made, and would she like some? And she said she would. So he went down to the car. And we were left a twosome, you see. And, so I said, "You have a very beautiful view, Mrs. Tabor." And she said, "Yes, of course it would be better if the Duncan (which was the mine next to us) were not so high. Then I would get the full panorama. And…uh…it was just nonentity kind of conversation, it was that kind of thing, you see.

And then Father came back, and we all had our wine. They went on doing their mining conversation. And the only thing that impressed me about her was that she was just another mining character, of which Father knew dozens, except for two things: she had beautiful blue eyes, and she still had those--very large and very far apart--and she had good teeth.