Private-School Scandal. It seemed to go on and on.

The weather, so unseasonably mild, broke while she was still on the road. An inconsiderate thunderstorm lashed the rich suburbs, and she arrived to find Dr. Tarnower’s house, that half-million-dollars’ worth of neo-japonaiserie where she had spent so much pleasant time, muffled with black and steaming blankets of rain.

Take it from the man who played Kunta Kinte himself. Jean Harris moved to Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, in September 1966, and took up a post as director of the middle school at the Springside School for girls. Allied does such necessary, but unglamorous, tasks as supplying janitors to Madison Square Garden. Her will is still much a factor in the school. It is as though those late Victorian Madeira maxims shield her still. It’s about nutrition.”.

“He was always very generous with time and money. She is remembered as rather a formidable person there, a keen administrator and a tough disciplinarian. This was in keeping with her ambitions. His guest was to have been Lynne Tryforos. [6] However, this trail was never completed by the park officials. “That’s a glorified riding academy.” I repeated this remark to another alum who had, till then, been talking of Madeira rather as if it were the Académie Française. This article was read by Samm Sinclair Baker. Originally located on 19th Street near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., it was founded by Lucy Madeira Wing (1873–1961) in 1906 and moved to the Northern Virginia suburb of McLean in 1931. Hi Tarnower’s other pursuit was in a contrary direction. [2], Since 1931, its campus has grown beyond the original campus buildings—Main, the dining hall, Schoolhouse, East, West, and North South Dorms, The Land, the Annex (infirmary), and the two gatehouses at the entrance to the Oval—to include the Chapel/Auditorium, the indoor riding ring and Gaines Hall, the science building, a renovated and expanded dining hall, Hurd Sports Center, and Huffington Library.[3]. “We could get expelled for smoking a cigarette,” one ex-pupil remarks. *Sorry, there was a problem signing you up. She graduated magna cum laude. Alumnae include Eugene Meyer’s daughter, Kay Graham; Ann Swift, now a diplomatic hostage in Tehran; and Diane Oughton, a member of the Weatherman collective, who died so brusquely in an exploding Greenwich Village townhouse and who, friends say, cherished fond memories of the school to her rigorously Marxist end. In the years ahead she was often to allude, with justifiable pride, to the way she brought up her boys.

Anyway, when the problem did come to Madeira, it was less natural, more horrible. One of the pupils was assaulted and tied to a tree. In 1964, however, Mrs. Harris had to deal with certain obstacles.

Though Tarnower showered Harris with gifts and exotic vacations, he had relationships with multiple other women during these years. A man had taken to roaming the grounds. I asked Jean Harris the same thing once.". Nobody talked to him. “He had a very quick sense of humor,” she says. Jean Harris was very good at giving lectures. In 1965, Harris divorced her husband, who died in 1977.[4]. “She was really quite a threatening figure,” one pupil says. She did everything that could be done, but the memory didn’t leave her. “He was very self-contained, very opinionated. Arthur Schulte, something of a power in banking circles and an old friend of these two icily self-contained people, didn’t feel that anything was other than swell. Harris died of natural causes on December 23, 2012, at an assisted-living center in New Haven, Connecticut at age 89. She later stated that she had planned to commit suicide after talking in person with Tarnower one last time. In due course, Herman Tarnower returned to White Plains Hospital. Funds were not forthcoming. Finish in Style. Harris took the stand and testified at length in her own defense, but the jury rejected her story that the shooting had been accidental and convicted her of second-degree murder after eight days of deliberations when jury foreman Russell E. Von Glahn answered "guilty" to the murder charge. Jean Harris sits and waits, her pale blue eyes unreflecting as china. He discussed things with Tarnower, mainly the strictly formal problem of how to turn a mimeographed sheet into a full-length book—“I said what we will do is answer all your readers’ questions as though they were your patients”—and, writing night and day over four months, they delivered the book on October 1. A prominent Madeira alumna is equally puzzled. Lynne Tryforos was also among Tarnower’s dinner guests—they had all left a couple of hours earlier—the night Jean Harris arrived in the raging rain. In 1966, Fairfax County proposed the turning of 208 of Madeira's privately owned 376 acres (1.52 km2) into public park land. My two sisters both attended the elite Madeira School, a private secondary school in McLean, VA, not far from our house in Arlington. She left in her car to get help not knowing Tarnower's housekeeper had already phoned the police after hearing gunshots.

A former staffer said that she would “scream at students.”. “She was really always a nervous wreck,” announces a pupil. Jean Harris was supposed to turn it around. As to the other all-girl schools, Madeira tends to be a bit sniffy. It was a bad time for private schools generally, with enrollments declining, and the posh boys’ schools—Exeter, Saint Paul’s, Choate—going co-ed. “He was excellent at backgammon. “He was a very outgoing guy. In the book's chapter 'For Love of Hy' both men come to the conclusion that Harris was innocent of Second Degree Murder, and that Harris had engaged in a struggle for the murder weapon, a pistol, with Tarnower, who was attempting to take the pistol away from Harris. The headmistress and the millionaire doctor, the headlines ran. Jean Harris stood there, distraught, her natty outfit rain sodden. Perhaps all she wanted to do, as schoolchildren say, was teach Hi Tarnower a lesson. A couple of mysteries first, then five books on Creative Thinking, and so into medicine by way of “a book on skin problems written with a couple of dermatologists.” The Scarsdale Diet was a natural. July 2009. Portraits of Madeira show a pleasant Late Victorian face with a smile of steely shyness and the round, thin-rimmed specs so popular later with that girl’s school problem, the Woodstock Generation. She spoke of Duty, and of Caliber, and, above all, of Integrity. She seemed to be ever more vigilant that the girls not succumb to weaknesses of the flesh. Herman Tarnower’s affections were quite perceptibly cooling. [5] In 1991 Madeira gave a trail easement along Georgetown Pike, as well as $89,000 for that trail construction to complete the Potomac Heritage Route without visitors entering the main area of the campus. She turned her car around and followed the police cars back to his home. She dressed with conservative chic and took care to keep abreast of the times. “We met in May ’78 and we liked each other immensely,” Baker says. One senior official, it was found, had a drinking problem. The romantic liaison of Jean Struven Harris and Dr. Herman Tarnower had begun, friends say, fairly soon after her 1966 divorce.

“James Harris wasn’t as forceful as she was,” Bertram Shover says, “but a lot more fun to be with. Hitherto harmless, he struck. “It’s always been a fashionable school,” Jane Schermerhorn says. The Harris family was every bit as socially registered in Detroit as the Struvens were in Cleveland, but James Harris was a second son, and well-bred does not invariably mean well-heeled, nor does the whole of Grosse Pointe look custom-built for the Ford family. Shortly thereafter, she married the good-looking son of a Detroit industrialist, James Harris. Eugene Meyer, owner of the Washington Post presented several hundred acres of unused woodland alongside the Potomac, which is where Madeira School is today. When the police came, Jean Harris spoke in broken and contradictory fashion. Madeira integrated during the last decades, the administration told me, and now has twelve black pupils. Joel Aurnou would later state that he encouraged his client to plead guilty to a lesser charge, but she refused.

[7][8], Private, day and boarding college-preparatory school in McLean, Virginia, United States, This list is incomplete. She and her two sons lived in a house in one of the city’s fancier neighborhoods, Chestnut Hill.

In 1939, Tarnower was back home, an attending cardiologist at White Plains Hospital. The doctor would sometimes row across and contemplate. The burglary call came through to the Harrison police at 10:59 P.M. Because the defense had gone for broke in their quest for a complete acquittal, the jury was not offered the option of finding Harris guilty of manslaughter, and the mental health professionals who tested and treated Harris were not called to testify. Yes, this case does turn out to be a most incongruous affair. “The committee investigated in depth,” an alumna says. There was nothing new about the Scarsdale Diet, of course. She also taught a parenting class to inmates and developed the in-prison nursery for babies born to inmates. Function in Disaster. Very straight arrow.” He discovered that Tarnower had discussed the idea of a diet book with his neighbor, Alfred Knopf. Jean Harris lived in a two-story red-brick house called “The Hill,” and she had said that it was “always open.”. It was a typical “intelligent” Washington dinner, a sit-down for fourteen, nothing to do with Madeira, no alums, no parents, just well-informed people, like Jean Harris. But he never married. They were still close. Herman Tarnower came from a solid middle-class Jewish family in New York. But—some of the girls noticed—Jean Harris seemed unusually ill at ease. Some parents—like a father whose daughter was suspended for quaffing a glass of beer—were irritated by her inflexibility. The reputation she earned was familiar—efficient, though inflexible—but there was a disturbing new ingredient. Also, Herman Tarnower had become a celebrity. One time a kid asked some critical question, a ridiculous question. Many say that girls’ schools in those turbulent years needed a hand. The marriage, the family. A dinner party was planned. A plot to steal the election, out in the open. © 2020 Vox Media, LLC. You\'ll receive the next newsletter in your inbox. One observer saw a resemblance to middle-period Bette Davis.

Harris is most genteel,” she told me. “She was very pretty and very brilliant, but everyone loved him. (This is the house in which her son, David, a banker in Yonkers, now lives. Throw away this complicated puzzle and reconnect with the people around you.

He would talk of it frequently. The Thomas School, anyway, was closed. She then contracted the services of attorneys Joel Aurnou and Bonnie Steingart to plan her defense. The geographic distance … Also, one of them says, “we wanted somebody womanly.”. The New York press sensationalized the trial and made Harris a household name from coast-to-coast. The celebrity business first.

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