J. Gunnar Grey
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Carlyle Harris and Robert Buchanan had several things in common. Both worked in the medical field, with Harris a medical student and Buchanan a practicing physician. Both lived in New York City in the early 1890s. And both had wives they didn't want.
Helen Potts met Carlyle Harris in the summer of 1889 at a
cotillion held at the Coleman House, Ocean Grove, NJ. She was eighteen, and at
twenty-one, he'd completed his first year as a medical student at Columbia
University in Manhattan. She was a beautiful, dark-haired young lady with a
svelte figure and soulful expression; he looked rather like a lightweight Teddy
Roosevelt with slicked-back hair parted down the middle, pince nez, a mustache,
and wide tie. They spent time together in the company of friends, appropriate
for that Victorian era, and when they parted in the autumn, Harris returning to
Columbia and Helen moving with her mother into a New York City flat, Mrs.
Cynthia Potts had no notion of ever meeting the young man again.
But he came calling in New York and his increasingly marked
attentions to Helen were not received kindly by her mother. Helen was too young
to consider matrimony, Mrs. Potts insisted when her daughter mentioned an
engagement. Instead, Mrs. Potts tried to put some distance between the two and
among other restrictions, she required they only see each other in company,
On February 7, 1890, Harris invited Helen to visit the New
York Stock Exchange with him, telling Mrs. Potts that McCready Harris, his
younger brother, would be coming along, too. Her conditions fulfilled, Mrs.
But Harris lied.