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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 28, 1912)
The Omaha Sunday Bee Magazine Page
Copyright, 191!, by American-Examiner. Great Britala Rights Reserved.
t Hi EVES--
U I" A
' m' ;:&-- lR?? I ll " 111
IrtxllaHr V S W ' I
TV SLiEOTIISf ij
Mrs. Robert Goelet, Who Em a Well Orgaaiied Set of Sleuths
to Protect Her Jewels.
secret service is made up of specialists the visitors run the gaunlet of thief specialist, book
it and promoter specialists, 'climber' and plain 'bull' specialists and half a dosen others."
Collection of ' 1
' '' Wonderful ."
of Which Some of the Latter Have Been Stolen.
Fashion Has lis Own
Secret Service Mow
to Protect Mot Only
Its Jewels and Packet
books, But Its Daughters,
. and Peace of Mind
SOCIETY aitroni tr at bit .
forced to tak tome Bo tic ot -tb
Oftr-MVM aritlct of
xopl tiier nm P ualnit la their
wm and eaea others' houeea. Ta
deatrablo elUient" hate been creep
ing into tin moat exclusive booses,
few. more each year, until now
society is aslnc every possible
snwns to .set rid of them. '
..Thieves,, climbers, 4 Impostors
somehow succeed la slipping by the
butlers . end footmen and mingle
vttn the invited guests. It is a
most sanoylng situation, and to
meet It society has formed secret
service ot its own. This service un
dertakes to eUmtnsts the uninvited
guest before he even enters the
During the last three years, after
very big dance, the police have
bee notified of "tosses" of Jewels,
portable silver end even solid sliver
candlesticks! These thieves steal
anything from diamond sunbursts to
' girls hearts! Boclety matrons rec
ognise the dangerous situation and
- are using unusual methods to pro
tect their guests and themselves.
For years there has been la ex
istence mild form ot secret eer
rice, but It is now antiquated. Wneu
New York society was smaller and
living was less complex, a hostess
always knew who she wss feeding.
To-dy she does not.
Lucky is the modern hostess who
kaows three-fourths of her guests!
Sounds queer, but it is as true as
At every large affair, a dance or
reception, where guests, number
from two to Sve hundred, the host
ess knows that perhaps one-fourth
of her guests will be strangers to
her. They win be friends of friends
of hers. Out-of-towa acquaintances
of her sisters and her cousins and
her aosta. - Mesr to whom- her hus
band wishes to show some courtesy.
.These are legitimate, although un
This custom, however, has bred a
set of parasites, a set of gentlemen
thieves, who are quick to selxe
every opportunity to steal. It hss
slso bred a different sort ot parailts.
With so many straniers coming and
going, no one can positively spy out
There bsve been several runaway
1 marriages In society during the last
few years; marriages of petted
dsughters with men little more tbsn
servants. How bsve these court
ships been carried on? Only too
easily .More thin one chauffeur, .
more then one groom from the
stables, has done himself up In the
proper evening clothes and slipped
. into houses and openly made love to
Ths Impostor easily passes the
hostess. She looks at him, mur
murs, "He must be one ot Jack's
college friends," and gives him a
csreless welcome. The rest is as
easy as falling on the ice.
These men are the most danger
ous to the peace ot mind of the so
ciety dame. She can forgive the
theft ot her lewels, but not the theft
ot her daughter. To protect herself
- and her friends, the matron sow
calls on the Society Secret Service.
Among the matrons who have
long used this service in a small
way are Mrs. Cornelius Vsaderbllt,
Mrs. Ogden Mills.' Mrs. John R.
Drexel. Mrs. Robert Goelet, Mrs.
William K. Vanderbllt, Br, and
The out-grows service was devel
oped by a man named Johnson. This
nterpttslng person learned to know
every member of society by sight
He knew their grandparents, their
lovers, their family scandals. In the
beginning Johnson was nUlixed only
tor weddings. Hs and bis men stood
at the church entrance and scrutin
ised every one wno entered.
What Society's Secret Service
Guard Against ,
1 Thieves in dress suits and white kid gloves.
2 Lifting of portable silver and rare curios.
3 Impostors anxious to get free food and wine.
4 Stealing of daughters' affections and incidentally fortunes.
5 Book agents disguised as guests.
6 Promoters disguised as gentlemen.
7 Climbers (uninvited guests), male and female.
8 Chauffeurs in evening clothes posing as gentlemen and
prone to make love to aforesaid daughters.
9 Wine agents who buttonhole guests for orders.
10 Girl guests who steal favors belonging to more popu
11 And,' this Winter, cranks who loudly protest against
the indecent dances now in vogue.
Wedding guests must
present cards at the door.
It is a case of "no tlckee
no entrance. The assistants
once in a while made mis
takes, Johnson never! If aa Im
portant dowager forgot her card.
Johnson always knew whether
not she belonged to the bride's or
When Constance Knower was
married to young Coleman Drayton,
Mrs. Astor's grandson, a funny mix
up happened. Mrs. As tor hsd not
attended a daytime afisirjor years
15 he wss unknown to nisny people.
When she alighted from her car
riage at the church a "green" man
held out a paw and said, "Your
Mrs. Astor reared her bead and
said, "t hare left my card at borne.
I am" "Nobody admitted with
out a card, mum; them's my or
ders!" And then Johnson himself
appeared and saved the day!
With the new secret service this
could not hsppen to-day. -Johnson
died three years sgo, leaving his
business to bis sister, and she is
developing It along the new lines.
Society, owing to the present sad
state of affairs, needs more tbsn
police methods to defend itself. The
men st the door acting as alters,
the plain clothes men from Head
quarters, cannot cope with the
clever impostor of to-day.
It is the principle of setting a
thief to catch a thief oa which so
ciety no acta. There are numer
ous well-bora, well-dressed young
men in New York who bsve no
visib'.e means of support There are
others who possess clothes and man
ner, but no social position. These
youths are the new members ot the
S. S. 8.
Society says to them, "We ask you
to our dances, our debutante recep
tions, oa condition that you keep
guard of our treasures, our Jewels,
Odd, Isn't it? Here is a band ot
young men, not one knowing who
bis fellow members are, acting as
Private detectives- In the most ex
clusive bouses! While tbey are
dancing wlUi a pretty bud their
eyes are busy following fellow
guests; they spot unknowns much
quicker than their hostess. And
they run up against mighty queer
For Instance, there Is the book
agent What, a book agent at the
Goelet dance? A book agent at a
Pierpont Morgan reception? Yes,
indeed. He will not carry a book
under his arm; be will not be ped
dling two-dollar editions ot Shake
speare. Oh, no! He will be dressed
In the most correct evening clothes.
His waistcoat, his tie, his pumps,
will be perfection. He will be, nine
times out of ten, a college man. But
he Is a book agent for a' that!
Ho will be taking orders for a
rare edition of some unusual work.
He will meet men at these affairs
who delight in squandering money
on rare editions, and a really clever
agent will clear ap several thou
sands every time be "gets past" the
Servi c e Protects
the Diamonds and
Emeralds She Is Wear
ins;, and Also Keeps Away
Noblemen Who Wish to Wed..
man at the door. Alas for him
when the S. S. 8. gets on his track!
Then there are the men, some
times welt born, always well edu
cated, who merely want free meals.
They have the latest things in even
ing clothes; they are perhaps known
to the debutantes and their college
brothers, but they are not oa the
hostesses' Invitation list They
boldly enter the house when several
others are hurrying In. The hostess
decides he Is one of her legitimate
unknowns and passes him on.
The Impostor dances and eats,
eats snd dances. He also drinks
and secludes hslt a dozen boxes of
cigarettes in bis tall pockets! This
guest would not "lift" a jewel it It
fell at bis feet Ail he wants is
free food and drink and a chance
to say: "Oh, yas; I was at the Astor
dance lsrst night; bully time; food
sll to the merry; gee, I'm tired to
day." Last Winter Mrs. Vanderbllt, Sr,
gave a large dance at her home on
fifty-seventh street More than
three hundred tn-rited guests at
tended, and at least a doxea unin
vited ones. There were no Jewels,
no silver tost at this dance. There
were one hundred members of the
8. 8. 8. scattered about But the
dosea unknowns got two square
meals, all the champagns they could
drink, and cigarettes enough to last
esch one a week.
. Two of these unknowns were fin
ally spotted by Mrs. Vanderbllt.
She knew that under no eirou in
stances could they have been Invit
ed, and she sent a member of the
Some Matrons Who Use
, Secret Service
Mrs. John R. Drtxel, whs lis slnady lest $50,000 worth of JtwsW
Mrs. Robert Goelet, whs nsed tbs S. S . S. last Summer ia Newport
Mrs. William E. Leeds, whs uses us S. S. S. in London, too.
Mrs. Ogdsa Goelet, whs lost $150,000 worth of jewels.
Mrs. StuTvesant fish, whs doesn't believe in messllisnccs.
Mrs. Ogden Mills, who hss s horror sf uninvited guests.
Mrs. Cornelias Vssderbilt, Sr, whs hsd one hundred members of the S. S. S.
st tbs wedding of her daughter Gladys and the Count Ssechenyi.
Mrs. Cornelias Vssderbilt, Jr., who hss had $10,000 worth ef Jewels stolen.
Mis. Townsend Burden, whs hss lost $ 30,000 worth of dismoadi snd pesrls.
Mrs. Willism K. Vasderbilt, Sr, who is going to introduce the Secret Serv
ice ia France.
Mrs. Joseph Hsrriman, who hss hsd si experiences with impostors with
Mrs Oliver Belmont, who is training her saffrsgetts sides for the job.
Mrs. Clarence Msdcsy, who uses six members of ths S. S. S. when she
entertains even ia her country home.
Mrs. Edward Berwind, st whose bsll last August a $25,000 jewel was lost
8. S. 8. to request them to leave.
They disappeared from view. At.
five-thirty in the morning, after the
last guests bad left, a footman dis
covered the two impostors sleeping
on the floor of one ot the small
- Episodes of this kind must be
eliminated from fashionable society.
The new 8. 8. 8. will help greatly In
thwarting the designs ot ardent
chauffeurs, esger to capture heir
esses, wine agents who want to
"pop" into society, promoters dis-
gulsed ss gentlemen, and climbers
of sll kinds.
The gentleman thief presents a
more difficult, a more delicate,
problem. It is one thing to accuse
a man ot securing free food unin
vited; It Is another thing to accuse
him ot lifting a pearl dog collar!
The recent scandal at the Lake
wood Country Club calls attention
to the difficulties ot modern hosts.
Mrs. Jasper Lynch lost a valuable
Jewelled bag at a large dance given
at the dub. It developed afterwards
-that there were several uninvited
men present Naturally, suspicion
points to these impostors. But noth
ing can be proved. Lakewood baa
no Society Secret Service, and her
hosts are helpless.
At Mrs. Edward Berwlnd's ball la
Newport last August Mrs. Lothrop
Ames, who wss one of the pretty
Cryder triplets, lost a superb pearl
and diamond pendant valued ,at
$21,000. This has not been found
There were several men and one or
two women present who were un
known to both Mr. and Mrs. Ber
wind. Mrs. Berwind noticed them, sup
posed them to be bouse guests of ,
some ot her friends and did not
question their presence until the
Jewel "loss", wss reported the next
The Newport police and private
detectives engsged hsve traced the
Jewel to Paris. The police of Paris,
famed an over the world, are now
on the lookout for It
Society is naturally very sensitive "
about these mysterious losses. Ths
8. 8. S. ought to thrive!
Then there is snother delicats
matter for the 8. 8. S. to handle.
The most popular girls at fashion
able cotillons capture the moat
favors. There Is always esger striv
ing to get rsvors, especially when
they are valuable. At present it is
not safe for a girl to leave ber
favors unguarded a single instaut.
Some other girl swoops down and
At one of Mrs. Pembroke Jones's
famous balls, the favors were un
usually valuable. For one figure
she gave French wands topped with
three white ostrich plumes. These
plumes were very expensive and
each girl planned to have them on
a picture hat
Every girl In the Newport set hsd
a hat the following Spring with
these plumes on. '
But more than one guest "lost"
'her wand most mysteriously. And
more than one girl wore these
plumes who hsd not been called
on to dance In that particular
figure! Yes, there are girls who
will annex any favors left un
guarded. But they do not consider
The 8. S. S. may not be able to
handle this matter. A mere man
could never handle It And for
this problem, the matrons of society
may add women to their "Service "
They are thinking of calling in the
girls who belong to the same class
aa the masculine members of the
8. S. 8. These girls can be de
pended on to take care of the favor
thieves, snd also the lady-like sub
scription agents who slip la at af
ternoon receptions ia the Winter
and at gacdea parties ia the Sum
mer. These -agenta" are supposedly
collecting funds for some well
know charity, and when a prom
inent woman meets one in the
house of ber friends she frequently
hands out cash.
But society Is no longer willing
to be an easy mark.
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