About "Aunt Elenor's Men"
Eleanor knew the world. She knew geography. Ocean liners and trains, timetables, maps, depots, piers, cities, towns, hotels, and shops were her stepping-stones—the rigging for her life on the lam. She was an agile and erudite traveler, and her movable scam propelled her across two continents. She claimed fluency in French, Russian, Italian, and German. Her easy way with language, her cunning, her knowledge, her confidence, and her poise made her a formidable artist of the con. She had a wardrobe of aliases: Millicent Lois Wilson, Grace Potter, and Mrs. Heath Wilson Roberts, to name just a few. Her marriages lifted her to the heights of luxury, but her taste for crime dropped her to the depths of despair.
To her husband, William Toomey, her name was Eleanor McKinnie Forester Gilman. To Ben Teal, her name was Margaret Busby. George Paddleford knew her as Genevieve Thompson. While John Fawcett believed she was the widow of Mr. Heath Wilson Roberts. At birth though, in 1874, she was born Eleanor McKinney. On her death certificate from Washington State Prison was the name Helen Fawcett Thompson. Not only did Eleanor leave a trail of aliases in her wake but also a string of broken lives and mountains of debt. She died in prison but lived in the world’s most palatial hotels and apartments. Her life as an accomplished artist of the con and serial wife to wealthy men propelled her across America and Europe for over forty years. Her implausible and exotic life story came to light when newspaper clippings from the 1920s, 30s and 40s were discovered hidden away in a bureau dresser drawer.