Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Texas & "Belle Out of Order"

Billed in the 1890s as the "Girl with Poetic Legs," actress, author, adventuress Belle Livingstone is all but forgotten today. In another episode on this blog, Belle will be commemorated more extensively as a speakeasy hostess who rivaled Texas Guinan in the early 1930s. Hilarious details are to come - - such as the trap door escape and red pajamas incident in 1930 and her $500,000 lawsuit against Vanity Fair Magazine after a feature in which a punster consigned her to oblivion.
• • Dead of a fatal heart attack at the Hunts Point Nursing Home in the Bronx on 7 February 1957, Belle Livingstone [real name Isabelle Graham Hutchins] was born in Kansas in 1875. Much married, the 82-year-old high kicker left several children.
• • In the summer of 1959, her second memoir posthumously appeared. Belle Out of Order by Belle Livingstone bore a preface by Cleveland Amory [NY: Henry Holt, 1959, 341pp] and quickly sold out two printings - - despite the fact that there would be no "book tour" by the flamboyant author. Belle Livingstone had been friends with such Edwardian worthies as Edward Prince of Wales, Pierre Lorillard, and Lord Kitchener. Maybe friends of these gents bought multiple copies.
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• • photo: Belle Livingstone [1875-1957] with Texas Guinan • [before 1933]

Texas Guinan.