Mary Phelps Jacob


1891 – 1970


Who was Mary Phelps Jacob?

Caresse Crosby was the first recipient of a patent for the modern bra, an American patron of the arts, publisher, and the "literary godmother to the Lost Generation of expatriate writers in Paris." She and her second husband, Harry Crosby, founded the Black Sun Press which was instrumental in publishing early works of many authors who would later become famous, including Kay Boyle, Hart Crane, Archibald MacLeish, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Duncan, Anaïs Nin, Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller.

Crosby's parents, William Hearn Jacob and Mary Phelps, were both descended from American colonial families, William from the Van Rensselaer family and Mary from William Phelps. Her life at first followed convention. In 1915, she married Richard R. Peabody, another blue blooded Bostonian whose family had arrived in New Hampshire in 1635. They had two children, but following Richard's service in World War I, Richard became a drunk who loved to watch buildings burn. She met Harry Crosby at a picnic in 1920 and they had sex within two weeks. Their public relationship scandalized proper Boston society.

Two years later Richard granted her a divorce and Harry and Polly were married.

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Apr 20, 1891
New Rochelle
Also known as
  • Caresse Crosby
  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • New York City
Jan 26, 1970

on July 23, 2013


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