With its Bain Collection uploads to Flickr Commons, the Library of Congress continues to remind us that some news is perennial. Meet Bond, Minnie Bond:
Portrait of young woman with a large plumed hat
Striking, beplumed Minnie E. Bond was in the news in early 1914, because she accused Thomas Pryor Gore, U.S. senator from Oklahoma, of attempted assault in a hotel room in Washington. She sued for $50,000, and the newspapers eagerly covered every aspect of the scandal.
Said Minnie, “When Senator Gore became unduly familiar, I told him I wasn’t the kind of woman he was seeking to associate with, and that if he had no respect for me he should have for his wife and children. Then he attacked me. In response to my screams, Mr. [James R.] Jacobs entered the room, accompaned by TE Roberts of Oklahoma and Kirby Fitzpatrick.” [New York Times, 13 February 1914] The apartment belonged to Jacobs, who happened to be a former Democratic National Committee member.
Gore’s version of events pointed to a set-up: Minnie’s husband, Julian, was hoping for a political appointment as a tax collector, and Gore assured him there was no chance of that happening. Minnie convinced Gore to stop by her hotel to discuss the matter further; then she led him up the elevator and into a room. Gore was blind, and had never been to this hotel before. He said that he did not realize Minnie Bond was taking him into a private apartment, nor did he realize that several political opponents were waiting nearby to catch him there. When Bond screamed, Gore understood that the situation looked bad.
Gore’s attorney, Moman Pruiett, claimed that Robertson had earlier asked for $25,000 in hush money. Pruiett also played up the senator’s blindness in his closing argument. Gore was exonerated by the jury after just ten minutes’ deliberation, and he stayed in the Senate until he was defeated at the polls in 1920. (He later served another six-year term, 1930-1936.)
And what became of Minnie Bond? Does anyone out there know the rest of her story?