McLean, Evalyn Walsh

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McLean, Evalyn Walsh Gender: F
born on 1 August 1886 at 16:30 (= 4:30 PM )
Place Denver, Colorado, 39n44, 104w59
Timezone MST h7w (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Holliday
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 09°34' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 04°22 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 27°10'

Evalyn Walsh McLean


American heiress and socialite. She was raised in the mining camps with her family until the magic day when her dad found a vein of silver; overnight she went from wearing red flannel to sleeping underneath $4,000 satin sheets. Her parties, attended by a president, Cabinet members and diplomats, sometimes featured three orchestras and as many as 2,000 guests. On her honeymoon in Turkey she first saw the Hope diamond, which is thought to be cursed. Two years later, on a return trip to Europe, the Paris jeweler Pierre Cartier showed her the Hope diamond and she was hooked. In a letter dated 1/28/1911, the jeweler promised to sell her the Hope diamond for $184,000 on the installment plan. He made the proviso that "should any fatality occur to the family of Edward B. McLean within six months, the said Hope diamond is to be exchanged for jewelry of equal or lesser value." While in Paris she bought the Star of the East Diamond.

Even though the Camp Bird Mine churned out $5,000 a day in gold, McLean never lost the rough-hewn pioneer accent, nor did she put on airs. After striking it rich, the family moved to Washington, DC where her dad was hailed as the "Colorado Monte Cristo." Unlike many newly rich westerners he had no political ambitions but instead, purchased large parcels of real estate just blocks from the White House. After financially backing the Republican presidential campaign of William McKinley, Walsh was named a commissioner to the Paris exposition of 1900. He moved his family into the Elsee Palace Hotel where they lived for a year. The Camp Bird Mine was still going strong when Walsh decided to sell it to a syndicate of English investors for $5.2 million in cash, stocks and a share of the future proceeds. Salting away his money in real estate and bonds, Walsh built a four-story Beaux Arts mansion costing $825,000 in 1902. It cost another $2 million to furnish it. A high spirited girl, she was sent to Paris by her folks in 1904 to study music. When she arrived in France she skipped school, dyed her hair copper and raced around in a yellow Fiat.

In 1905 the family rented a "cottage" from Cornelius Vanderbilt III in Newport for the summer and it was there that Evelyn and her brother, Vinson, were in a car accident. Vinson died and McLean was in such agony that she got up to 10 grains of morphine a day while in recovery; she began drinking at that time.

She had a tempestuous romance for several years before she eloped with Edward Beale "Ned" McLean in July 1908 who had been a childhood playmate since the age of nine. Ned's dad, John R. McLean, owned a local utility, a railroad line and in 1905, the Washington Post. Ned, she thought, had been brought up wrong, always being protected and never on his own. By his late teens he'd become a serious alcoholic. They honeymooned in Europe and the MidEast. In the early 20th century she built a Washington mansion for $835,000. Together the couple were worth more than $200 million. They both lived the high life with parties and conspicuous consumption, booze and morphine.

On 12/18/1909 their son, Vinson Walsh McLean was born, named after her late brother. The press dubbed him "the Hundred Million Dollar Baby." Four months later her father died; it was around this time that she rediscovered her affection for alcohol and morphine. This continued for about a year. The McLean's had three more kids: John, nicknamed Jock, 12/31/1916, Edward junior, "Neddie," 1918, and Emily - who later changed her name to Evalyn - 1921. Vinson, like his uncle, met a similar tragic end when he was running across the street and a car knocked him down. Although he got up and seemed fine, he must have hit his head on concrete. Later in the day he became paralyzed and was dead by 6 p.m.

By the end of the 1920's, they couldn't maintain their lavish ways; Ned was on a strict allowance from his father's estate and her fortune was tied up in property and jewelry. With the death of their first son, she began to change. In 1927, she shifted her interests to a closer involvement with her three remaining kids and various philanthropic causes. The marriage was beginning to unravel and they separated in 1929. She would not grant him a divorce, but Ned procured a divorce from a court in Riga, Latvia and had it served as a Christmas present in 1932. In 1933 she committed Ned to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt sanitarium near Baltimore, where he was diagnosed with "Korsakoff's psychosis and brain atrophy from alcohol saturation." The Washington Post was losing $20,000 a month, but hoping to hold on to this legacy for her two teenage sons, she refused to sell. Two creditors forced the Post into receivership in 1932 and the bankruptcy auction took place on 6/01/1933, on the step of the Post. The winning bid was for $825,000 in cash from Eugene Meyer, whose daughter, Katharine Graham, ran the newspaper for the next 30 years.

The fear of her kids being kidnapped had always concerned McLean. When the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped she sent for Gaston Means, an agent for the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI) on 3/04/1932. She mortgaged a block of her dad's real estate in Washington to raise the $100,000 needed for the Lindbergh baby's ransom and gave it to Means. She and Means then went on a "wild goose chase" from Aiken, SC to El Paso, TX in search of the chief kidnapper known as "the Fox." Means told her he thought the baby was dead. Eventually, she charged Means with larceny, and the money she'd given him was never found.

With her fortunes declining she began to sell off property. Ned remained hopelessly insane until his death in July 1941. Three months later her daughter, Evalyn, then 19, married her mom's boyfriend, 57 year old Senator Robert Reynolds of NC. In 1946 Evalyn Reynolds, 24, overdosed on sleeping pills leaving behind a four year old daughter, Mamie Spears Reynolds.

McLean contracted pneumonia in the summer of 1946 after she fell and injured her knee while walking her dog in the rain. Friends suspected her will to live had deserted her after the death of her only daughter. As she lay unconscious under an oxygen tent in her home, friends gathered to pay their last visits. She died of pneumonia at 6:15 P.M. on April 26, 1947 in Washington, DC.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Social : Begin a program of study 1904 (Moved to Paris to study music)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1908 (Edward McLean)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 18 December 1909 (Son born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Financial : Buy/Sell Property 28 January 1911 (Contract to purchase Hope Diamond)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 31 December 1916 (Son born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 1918 (Son born)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 1921 (Daughter born)
  • Relationship : End significant relationship 1929 (Separated from Ned McLean)
  • Relationship : Divorce dates December 1932 at 12:00 midnight in Riga, Latvia (Ned McLean)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Family trauma 1933 at 12:00 midnight in Baltimore, MD (Had ex-husband committed)
  • Financial : Lose significant money 1 June 1933 at 12:00 midnight in Washington, DC (Bankruptcy auction, Washington Post)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Significant person 1941 (Ex-husband)
  • Death of Child 1946 (Daughter OD'd on drugs)
  • Health : Acute illness 1946 (Pneumonia)
  • Death by Disease 26 April 1947 at 06:15 AM in Washington, DC (Of pneumonia, age 60)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Dana Holliday quotes McLean's autobiography, "Father Struck It Rich."


  • Traits : Body : Hair (Dyed hair copper)
  • Traits : Body : Voice/Speech (Rough-hewn pioneer accent)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Accident/Injury (Severe car accident)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Abuse Alcohol (Rehab)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Abuse Drugs (Rehab)
  • Family : Childhood : Disadvantaged (Raised in mining camps until rich)
  • Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Brother died in car accident)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (24 years)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Family : Relationship : Stress - Traumatic event (Ex-husband hopelessly insane)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Four)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids -Traumatic event (First son died, daughter OD'd)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Extravagant
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Money Through Marriage (Ned McLean)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Inheritance
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Invest/ Property
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Loss - Financial crisis (Washington Post auctioned, property sold)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Philanthropist (Various causes)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Rags to riches (Dad struck silver vein)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Wealthy
  • Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ commercial (First Officer)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Notable : Famous : Socialite (Newly rich)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women