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Clara Fant "Baby Doll" Inge Eckel
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Birth: Jun. 27, 1889
Alcorn County
Mississippi, USA
Death: Dec. 12, 1915
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

IN THE HEART OF A ROSE (1912) by J. W. Walsh and George De Carme is a song dedicated to Miss Clara Inge.

Stage actress Clara Inge was born in Corinth, Mississippi, the youngest child of Rev. George S. Inge and Georgia Huggins Inge. She was a granddaughter of the Hon. William Murphy Inge and Augusta Evans Inge, Leroy Montgomery Huggins and Sarah Elizabeth Sheffield Huggins, all prominent citizens of Corinth. Her grandmother Inge was often called the Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.

The 1900 census shows Clara's age as 11 years and birth as June 1888, which most likely is correct. Clara and both her parents shared the same birthday, June 27.

Clara Fant Inge was my grandmother's third cousin.
Clara Inge was the name of a character in Augusta Evans Wilson's popular novel ST. ELMO (1867). The character was the best friend of the book's heroine, Edna Earl. My grandmother never knew Clara Inge, who lived 140 miles away, but she told me often that several of her aunts and great-aunts, like many other Southern ladies, named babies after Augusta Evans Wilson characters. Georgia Huggins Inge, daughter-in-law of Augusta Evans Inge, had a sister Edna Earl Huggins named for the heroine of St. Elmo, so I don't doubt that Edna Earl Huggins' niece Clara Inge was named for the fictional Edna Earl's friend in St. Elmo.

New Orleans TIMES PICAYUNE, Jan. 7, 1915, p.6:

The South has given another of its aristocratic daughters to the stage in Miss Clara Inge, who is filling an engagement at the Orpheum this week. Miss Inge is a native of Corinth, Miss., and a granddaughter of Col. W.M. Inge, of Confederate Army fame, and one of the most prominent citizens of Mississippi from the time of the war until his death. Some relatives of the family reside in Mobile, where they are equally prominent in social, professional and business circles. The father of Miss Inge, Geo. S. Inge, a young attorney, died at an early age. Her mother is with her in New Orleans this week, and the two are receiving much social attention.

This young Mississippi girl has had unusual success since shattering the traditions of Southern aristocracy by calmly announcing her intention of storming Broadway. She began her career in the Klaw & Erlanger school to learn dancing. Her voice already was all the stage demanded. After an ingenue role in Eddie Foy's company, her mother succeeded in inducing her ambitious daughter to leave Broadway to its fate, while she continued her education at Anniston, Ala., in the Academy for Young Ladies there. But having tasted the fruits of success, she would not be denied and her college career was brief. She returned to Broadway and had no difficulty in getting vaudeville engagements. She is considered one of the season's finds of the Orpheum Circuit.

During her engagement in Memphis last week, a big delegation of Corinth citizens visited the Orpheum, and were among the most enthusiastic persons of the audience.

What is considered remarkable in Miss Inge's success is that she has had little or no stage training. It is all natural talent. This week she is singing a series of delightful songs and reciting a bit of verse by James Whitcomb Riley, the Hoosier poet.

Photo caption: MISS CLARA INGE
Member of a prominent and aristocratic Southern family, who is giving a delightful entertainment at the Orpheum this week.

Seattle TIMES, April 2, 1915, p. 9 col. 4:
Once in the Merry Merry.
The first professional appearance of Clara Inge, on The Orpheum bill this week, was in the chorus. Her experience there, however, was not extensive, as the first day the stage director spotted her and marked her for "a find." The next day Miss Inge was taken from the third from the left in the second row and given a part, and before the end of the season she was principal comedienne of the company. Since then her road to success has been rather an easy one. She has alternated in musical comedy and vaudeville and scored in both fields.

Clara Inge was a chorus girl in 106 performances of a Broadway musical, "The Rogers Brothers in Ireland," opening Sept. 4, 1905 at Liberty Theatre, playing through Oct. 28, 1905; and then at New York Theatre Jan. 29, 1906 through March 10, 1906 (Ref: Internet Broadway Database).

The Washington Herald, Jan. 1, 1907, p.5, column 4:
Eddie Foy Delights Audience at the Belasco in "The Earl and the Girl."
…An interesting feature was the first appearance here of Miss Clara Inge, as Elphin Hay, the part until recently played by Miss Elsie Moore. She is evidently very young, but her performance last night gives great promise along lines pertaining to the ingénue. Her voice, though very light, is pleasing, her manner has that chicness which is essential, and above all, she is pretty. Her whole interpretation was pleasing, and a little more familiarity with the part will no doubt make it entirely successful.
The play is replete with bright and catchy musical numbers, some of which have become popular as whistling airs, notably "Cheyenne" and "I would like to Marry You." The former was rendered with great spirit by Mr. W.H. Armstrong and chorus, while the last named was acceptably given by Miss Inge and ensemble.

Baltimore AMERICAN, March 11, 1907, p.8:
Clara Inge, who made her debut as prima donna in "The Earl and the Girl" at the Belasco Theater a few weeks ago, this week will be seen in the leading feminine role in "The Tourists."

Trenton (N.J.) Evening Times, Oct. 19, 1907, p. 7; and Oct. 20, 1907 p. 13:
She had third billing in the Shubert musical "The Earl and the Girl" at the Taylor Opera House.

Jersey City Evening Journal, Nov. 12, 1907, p. 14, col. 3: Miss Clara Inge is simply delightful as the little schoolgirl, "Elfin Haye"....

New York Times, May 16, 1909:
Mrs. G.W. (sic) Inge of this city announces the engagement of her daughter, Miss Clara Fant Inge, to Urlin C. Jaynes
of Rochester, formerly of Buffalo.

New York TIMES, June 25, 1909: MARRIED.
Jaynes-Inge. June 23. Clara F. Inge to Urlin C. Jaynes.

Greensboro, N.C. DAILY RECORD, June 24, 1909, p. 7, Column 1: NEWS OF THE DAY IN BRIEF.
New York, Wednesday, 23.--In the Metropolitan Temple.
Miss Clara Inge of this city was married this afternoon to Urlin C. Jaynes, a wealthy automobile manufacturer of Rochester. The bride is a native of Corinth, Miss., and her father was a prominent missionary bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church. Some time ago she was reported to have declined an offer of marriage from an English nobleman. Mr. and Mrs. Jaynes will spend their honeymoon on an automobile trip through Canada.

Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times, July 18, 1905, p.1, column 7: The National Association of Automobile Dealers...President, W. C. Jaynes.

1910 New York census shows Clara I. Jaynes, "actress/showgirl" in Manhattan, married with no children. Her husband is not shown living with her. Her widowed mother Georgia Inge resided with her at the time in the apartment with Viola Wilson, 560 W 144 St., Manhattan.

Trenton (N.J.) Evening Times, April 12, 1911, p.5:
New York, April 12.--An absolute divorce was granted today by Justice Newberger to Clara Inge Jaynes, formerly a well known actress, from her husband, Urlin P. (sic) Jaynes, son of a Buffalo millionaire automobile manufacturer. Mrs. Jaynes alleges (he) misconducted himself with actresses of the "Candy Shop Company," now playing on Broadway. Jaynes did not put in a defense.

Springfield (Mass.) Republican, April 13, 1911, p. 2, col. 4: NEWS MATTERS IN BRIEF. An interlocutory decree of divorce was granted at New York yesterday to Clara Inge Jaynes from her husband, Urlin C. Jaynes, of Buffalo, son of a dealer in automobile supplies there. Jaynes allowed the case to go to trial and undefended. His wife, formerly an actress, was so overjoyed to get her decree that she threw her arms around her lawyer's neck and kissed him.

Cadets of 1901-02
Jaynes, Urlin C. Buffalo, N.Y.

MOTOR RECORD, Volumes 3-4, Dec. 1918, p.349
Death of Urlin C. Jaynes
The recent death of Urlin C. Jaynes, son of Wellington C. Jaynes, proprietor of the Jaynes Automobile Supply Co., 804 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y., is mourned by a host of friends in the automobile life of that city as well as in social and business circles. Mr. Jaynes died of pneumonia at his home on 69 Arnold Street.

"Clara Inge Jaynes" (per marriage record) married Charles E. Eckel on July 30, 1911, at St. Louis, Berrien Co., Michigan (later newspapers incorrectly said St. Louis, Missouri). He was born Sept. 8, 1882, in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Henry and Florence Eckel; d. May 1966, N.Y.,N.Y.

Clara Inge was one of the "first women to ride a motorcycle" (Seattle Daily Times, Jan. 8, 1911).
The American Motorycle Girls, 1900 to 1950, by Cristine Sommer Simmons: "Vaudevillian Clara Inge was hailed as 'one of perhaps 30 known women riders in the New York area in 1910.'"

Kansas City Star, Dec. 22, 1910, p. 8:
Women Take up Motorcycling
"It's not nearly so hard as you might imagine," insisted Miss Clara Inge in Central Park last week....

Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune, Jan. 21, 1911, p. 13; also April 3, 1911, p.4:
Miss Clara Inge is one of the swiftest riders of a motorcycle. "It's not nearly so hard as you might imagine," she says....

MotorCycle Illustrated magazine (January 1911) quoted Clara Inge: "I do not see why more women do not ride motorcycles. I always enjoyed bicycling, but motorcycling is much more stimulating. Until recently, I imagined that motorcycle riding always soiled a person's costume, but I haven't found it so. I've been riding for two weeks and haven't a spot on my dress yet."

A family tragedy occurred in 1912. Clara's eldest brother, William Montgomery Inge(Jan. 5, 1877-March 28, 1912) died in Portland, Maine, cause of death listed as "poisoned accidentally, self-administered." He left a widow according to the death certificate. The medicine or "poison" he took may have been Venol, a drug no longer available in the U.S. today, even by prescription, though still prescribed in Bangladesh.

By 1913, Clara Inge's face had begun appearing on the covers of piano sheet music and about the same time on collectible cigarette cards.

Composers were also dedicating songs to her:
"IN THE HEART OF A ROSE," by J. W. Walsh and George De Carme (Philadelphia, P.A.: Emmet J. Welch Music Co., 1912), was dedicated "To Miss Clara Inge." (Johns Hopkins University, Levy Sheet Music Collection, Box 152, Item 187.)
The song was recorded by tenor Walter J. Van Brunt on July 2,1913, on the Victor recording label in Camden, N.J.

Clara Inge appeared on the sheet music of the song "I Want to Be in Dixie," composed by Irving Berlin and Ted Snyder, copyright 14 January 1912. The song was first published under the title "I'm Going Back to Dixie," introduced by May Irwin in "She Knows Better Now," which opened January 15, 1912 at the Plymouth Theatre, Chicago. The show closed out of town. A major recording of "I'm Going Back to Dixie" was that by Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan, and under the title "I Want to Be in Dixie," the song was sung at the Winter Garden, New York, by the Courtenay Sisters in A Night with the Pierrots, the curtain raiser for Whirl of Society (Ref., The Complete Lyrics).

Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, Dec. 21, 1913, p.7, column 6, in an advertisement of performances: "See Clara Inge, a songbird funster."

Seattle TIMES, March 16, 1914, p.9, col. 3:
Clara Inge, a good-looking brunette, pleased with two or three songs, but more with her imitation of a small boy's recital of a James Whitcomb Riley story.

San Jose (Calif.) Evening News, April 30, 1914, p.3; and May 1, 1914, p. 3:
Clara Inge, eccentric comedian, appears in a new monologue, with new stuff which may be depended on to "get over the footlights" for the biggest laughs of the evening. Her work was pronounced class A. by the San Francisco critics after her appearance at the O'Farrell street showshop.

San Jose (Calif.) Evening News, May 2, 1914, p.8:
Clara Inge, a most personable young woman, proves that there is still art to the singing of a song and the perpetration of a Vaudeville recitation.

New Orleans ITEM, Jan. 5, 1915, p. 12, column 7:

Music Predominates in Special Centennial Program
at Orpheum.

By Calvert G. Stith.
Winsome Clara Inge ran away from her field, as they say in racing parlance, Monday night at the Orpheum and won under wraps. One has to search long in one's storehouse of fond recollections to find anyone to compare with this charming girl.

The programme indicates that Miss Inge is a product of the South and her voice is further confirmation. Her assets include everything most desired by her sex and most admired by the other. She is pretty of face and figure: she sings well and no such intelligent "acting" of songs has been observed here since Miss Loftus and Miss F. Janis lingered in these parts. She is rich in personality and magnetism and all the other qualities which enable one to get over the footlights and reach one's audience. Her name is going to look well in incandescents on Broadway some day.

New Orleans TIMES PICAYUNE, Jan. 7, 1915, p.6:
Miss Clara Inge of Mississippi
Member of Socially Prominent Family
The South has given another of its aristocratic daughters to the stage in Miss Clara Inge, who is filling an engagement at the Orpheum this week. Miss Inge is a native of Corinth, Miss., and a granddaughter of Col. W.M. Inge, of Confederate Army fame, and one of the most prominent citizens of Mississippi from the time of the war until his death. Some relatives of the family reside in Mobile, where they are equally prominent in social, professional and business circles. The father of Miss Inge, Geo. S. Inge, a young attorney, died at an early age. Her mother is with her in New Orleans this week, and the two are receiving much social attention.

Seattle TIMES, March 29, 1915, p. 9, column 3:
Clara Inge Returns.
Clara Inge is back again.... She is pretty and attractive and the audience liked her.

column 4: (photo caption)
Clara Inge, Who is
Charming Orpheum
Patrons This week.
She sings, tells a bear story, is pretty
and has a winsome way with her.

Seattle TIMES, April 2, 1915, p. 9 col. 4:
Once in the Merry Merry.
The first professional appearance of Clara Inge, on The Orpheum bill this week, was in the chorus. Her experience there, however, was not extensive, as the first day the stage director spotted her and marked her for "a find." The next day Miss Inge was taken from the third from the left in the second row and given a part, and before the end of the season she was principal comedienne of the company. Since then her road to success has been rather an easy one. She has alternated in musical comedy and vaudeville and scored in both fields.

Omaha World Herald, Aug. 3, 1915, p.5, col. 3:
Orpheum--Two Stellar Features.
With two notable stars heading the bill, the current program at the Orpheum stands out as one of the best, so far, during the season.... the other features of the bill, Hal and Frances and Clara Inge constitute two number(s) that were quite equally enjoyed, both being of musical and talented merit. ...Miss Inge, a southern girl with an appealing personality and a way about her that seems to be all her own, easily won her way to favor with a sweet voice and an original program.

Baltimore SUN, Dec. 6, 1915:
Charming, Dainty, Vivacious,
Eccentric American Comedienne.

New York Times, Dec. 13, 1915:
Takes Fatal Dose on Eve of Reconciliation with Her Husband.
Mrs. Clara Eckel, 27 years old, a vaudeville actress known on the stage as Clara Inge, died last night in her apartment at 305 West Forty-fifth Street from an unidentified poison which she took, the police believe, with suicidal intent. Mrs. Eckel was the wife of Charles E. Eckel, a salesman of the United States Rubber Company, but the two, who were married five years ago, separated two months ago. Recently Mr. Eckel wrote several letters to his wife, seeking a reconciliation before Christmas, and yesterday he received a note from her asking him to come to see her.

He went to the apartment late yesterday afternoon and found her writing at a table. She stopped writing when he entered and tore up the page on which she had written. After talking with her for two or more hours, Mr. Eckel asked his wife whether he could not do anything for her and she asked him to go out and get a medicinal powder which Mr. Eckel knew contained a poison. He refused to do this, but volunteered to get a meal of wine and spaghetti, and left the apartment for this purpose.

When Mr. Eckel returned to the apartment he found his wife lying on her bed, undressed, in a dying condition. Dr. Alfred Alofsin of 448 West Thirty-fourth Street, was hurriedly summoned, but he could do nothing for her. She died without making any statement. Under her pillow was found a quantity of powder which she had asked her husband to get. It is thought that she sent a hall boy of the apartment house for it while Mr. Eckel was out.

The torn fragments of the note were found on the floor of the apartment. Pieced together, it was seen that Mrs. Eckel had written: "Dear Charles, I left you." There was no more. The police believe that she was writing a letter explaining her suicide when interrupted by her husband.

The couple had one child, who is living with Mrs. Eckel's mother in Washington Heights.

Seattle Times, Dec. 21, 1915, p.9 column 4:
Mrs. Clara Eckels, 27 years old, committed suicide in her New York apartment last week, owing to troubles with her husband, Charles Eckels, from whom she separated several months ago. Upon the stage she was known as Clara Inge.

Clara Inge was well known to local playgoers. She appeared here in songs and comedy recitations at The Orpheum just a few weeks ago, and had made two previous visits to Seattle.

(Corinth, Mississippi) The Weekly Corinthian, Thurs., Dec. 23, 1915, p. 2, c. 6:
"Remains of Late Clara Inge Rest in Cemetery - from Thursday's daily. The remains of the lamented Mrs. Clara Inge-Eckel, of New York City, arrived in Corinth this morning on the Memphis Special, accompanied by her husband, C. E. Eckel, and her brother, Roy Inge, of New York, and were carried to the home of her grandmother, Mrs. L. M. Huggins, on Jackson Street [the Veranda/Curlee House] where funeral services were conducted at 10 o'clock by Rev. J. Hardin Mallard, pastor of the Filmore St. Presbyterian Church.

"The services were attended by many relatives and friends of the deceased, who has in previous years made her home in Corinth, and the officiating minister paid lovely tribute to this celebrated young woman. Special music was furnished by the Filmore Street Presbyterian Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Thos. H. Johnston.

"Slowly the funeral party wended [sic] its way to the Henry Cemetery where her body was interred by the side of other relatives. Her grave was covered with the floral offerings that had been tendered as a last remembrance of her many friends, in attest(ation) of their loyalty and love for her and her grief-stricken husband, mother and other relations." (Transcription by Stephanie L. Sandy, used with permission.)

Seattle Times, Jan.4, 1916, p. 9, col. 3:
Theatrical Favorites Gone.
...Clara Inge, singing comedienne here at The Orpheum last fall.

New York Times, March 2, 1916:
Mrs. Clara Eckel, a vaudeville actress who was known on the stage by her maiden name of Clara Inge, killed herself on Dec. 12 last by taking poison in her apartment at 305 West Forty-fifth Street. She was a very attractive woman and was sometimes called the "Baby Doll" by her admirers. The cause of her death was veiled in mystery because she always appeared to be happy and contented. On Feb. 1, her husband, Charles E. Eckel, a salesman for the United States Rubber Company, sued Max Hart, a vaudeville booking agent, in the Supreme Court for $100,000 damages. In case the suit was successful the complaint asked the court to issue a body execution against the defendant so that he might be arrested.

Nothing was known of this suit until yesterday, when the defendant, through his counsel, asked Justice Finch of the Supreme Court to have the complaint modified by striking out of it certain passages because they were redundant and superfluous. Decision on the motion was reserved. Alfred Frankenthaler and Benjamin Elsler, representing Levy & Levy, counsel for Mr. Eckel, appeared in opposition. The complaint set forth that Mr. Eckel and Miss Inge were married on July 31, 1911. They had one child, a boy, who lives with the plaintiff's mother-in-law. The complaint, referring to the death of Mrs. Eckel, said:
"The plaintiff's wife, in a desperate state of mind and highly agitated, and with the intent and purpose to free herself from defendant's control and influence, died by her own hand in her apartment, which the defendant, unknown to the plaintiff, had provided for the plaintiff's wife out of his own funds and where he detained and harbored her."
The defendant, the complaint said, had enticed Mrs. Eckel away from her husband in November, 1914, by means of valuable gifts, payments of money, and by making false and slanderous statements about the plaintiff. Hearing of his wife's death Mr. Eckel had looked after the funeral arrangements and had buried her in Missouri (sic), where she had been reared. Mr. Eckel also said in his complaint that he had many times asked his wife to return to him and that on March 15, 1915, he had called upon Mr. Hart at his place of business in the Palace Theatre Building, and had "entreated and begged him not to interfere with the relations between the plaintiff and his wife."

He also, he said, told Hart how great his love was for his wife "and asked him as a man" to cease his relations with Mrs. Eckel and to keep away from her. He explained how necessary it was that his son should have the care and affection of a mother and said that Mr. Hart, in spite of his pleadings, would not consent to surrender his control of Mrs. Eckel. Mr. Eckel was sure that if the defendant had consented his wife would gladly have returned to his home and his care. On the day that Mrs. Eckel killed herself her husband had called to renew his prayers for her return. He went out to get some food and when he returned she was dead. On the floor was a torn piece of paper on which Mrs. Eckel had written, "Dear Charles, I left you--" That was all. Mr. Eckel said that his wife was always ready to come back to him, but that she was restrained by the defendant, who made "threats to kill her and told her he would take her life if she returned to her husband."
In December last Mrs. Madge Hart began a divorce from Max Hart, the defendant in the Eckel suit. She said that she and her husband were married on June 3, 1903. At that time she was a vaudeville performer earning $150 a week, while her husband was able to earn only $10 a week as an employee for a booking agent. Mrs. Hart said that she gave him $500 to go into business on his own account, and she set forth the various upward steps in his career from April 1, 1909, until he was finally making $10,000 a year. From his profits as a booking agent and his income from investments and his interests in various productions he has now an income, she said, of $75,000 a year and is worth at least $500,000.
Mrs. Hart also said that during the last few years while she and her husband lived together their household expenses amounted to $25,000 a year. She knew nothing about his friendship for Mrs. Eckel until late 1914, she said, when she saw this telegram that her husband had received: "Thanks very much for the $2,000. Mamma and I send you lots of love. Clara Inge." An affidavit made by Mattie Wise, a maid employed by Mrs. Eckel when the latter lived with her mother at Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street, in April, 1915, and later in the Forty-fifth Street apartment was to the effect that Mr. Hart used to call on Mrs. Eckel very often, and that once he sent her flowers which her mother threw away, saying "The man that sent these I despise and I don't want her to have them."
Miss Wise also said that Mrs. Eckel had told her that Mr. Hart had paid $200 to detectives to follow Mr. Eckel and try to get evidence so that his wife could divorce him. Mrs. Hart said that it was not until Mrs. Eckel had committed suicide that she learned of the actual relations that had existed between the dead woman and her husband. She also said that after Mrs. Eckel was dead her husband had told her in their rooms in the Hotel Marseilles that it was his desire to marry Mrs. Eckel that led him to seek a divorce for her and to get free himself by setting a trap to catch his own wife.

Wilkes-Barre TIMES, March 2, 1916, p.11:
VALUES AT $100,000

Says He Begged Max Hart,
Theatrical Agent, to Allow
Woman to Return


Pleaded on His Knees That
Beautiful Actress be Allowed
To Come Back

New York, March 2.--In a suit for $100,000 damages against Max Hart, a vaudeville booking agent, for alleged alienation of the affections of Clara Inge Eckel, a vaudeville actress who committed suicide in December, Chas. S. Eckel, automobile tire manufacturer, asserts he went to Hart and begged him on his knees to "give his wife back to him."

The case came up before Justice Floch (sic) of the Supreme Court yesterday on a motion by Hart's counsel for simplifications of the charges.

Instead of returning Mrs. Eckel to her husband, Eckel alleged that Hart threatened to kill her if she did go back. By constantly repeating this threat, Eckel alleges, Hart caused her to reach such a state of mind that she killed herself in an apartment in No. 305 West Forty-fifth street, which, he alleges, was rented and occupied by Hart.

Eckel's complaint says he married Clara Inge in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1911. Two years later she became a star in a tabloid musical production controlled by Hart. She was known as 'Baby Doll,' and was considered one of the most beautiful women on the vaudeville stage.

In November 1914, Eckel alleges, his wife left him and went to live with Hart. She was willing to return to him, Eckel asserts, but was unable to do so because of the "mysterious influence" which Hart exercised over her.

Eckel asserts that at least half a dozen times he begged for his wife on his knees, but that Hart only said he'd kill her if she went back to her husband. Mention of her four-year-old son, Eckel said, brought only a laugh from the booking agent.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1916, p.1:
$100,000 FOR LOST LOVE
Declares Theatrical Manager Caused
"Baby Doll" to Drink Poison.
NEW YORK, March 1.-- Some of the most sensational charges ever spread upon the records of a civil court here were contained in papers filed in the Supreme Court today in a $100,000 alienation action begun by Charles E. Eckel, an auto mobile manufacturer, against Max Hart, vaudeville producer and manager.

"The manufacturer not only charges Hart with alienating the affections of his wife, Clara Eckel, who was known on the stage as Clara Inge, "The Baby Doll," but contends that the producer was responsible for the actress' suicide by causing her mental condition. Mrs. Eckel took her life on December 12 of last year after separating from her husband. An investigation revealed that she drank an overdose of venol.

"At that time Eckel says he was negotiating with the actress to induce her to return home and in fact had already pledged her to do so, in spite of the fact that Hart had threatened to kill him if he undertook such action.

"In another action, Mrs. Madge Hart sues Hart for absolute divorce. She names the dead actress, alleging that Hart confessed his infatuation for Mrs. Eckel to her after the suicide and burial of the actress."

San Jose, California Evening News, March 21, 1916, p.3:

Strange Story of a Tragic Infatuation Told

Wife of Accused Man Tells
Much in Affidavit.

New York, March 21.--Max Hart, a vaudeville agent was charged in the Supreme Court with having been contributory to the death of Mrs. Charles E. Eckel, known on the stage as Clara Inge, who committed suicide by poison.

The allegation was made by Eckel in a $100,000 alienation suit brought against Hart, but withheld from the newspapers until Hart's attorneys appeared before Justice Finch in an effort to have several clauses stricken from the sensational complaint.

At the same time it became known that Mrs. Eckel had sued for divorce May 11, 1915, and that a short time ago Mrs. Hart, whose stage name is Madge Fox, had filed a divorce action in which Mrs. Eckel was named as co-respondent.
Eckel and his wife separated in November, 1914, after, he alleges, Hart, by promises of rapid advancement, rich gifts and the payment of money, won Mrs. Eckel from him and their four-year-old child.

The plaintiff then speaks of his wife's suicide just as they were about to become reconciled. He says: "The plaintiff's wife, in a desperate state of mind and highly agitated, and with intent and purpose to free herself from the defendant's control and influence, died by her own hand in an apartment provided by the defendant and where he detained and harbored her."

Eckel asserts Hart made false accusations against him, telling Mrs. Eckel he was unfit to be her husband, and thus "wholly alienated and destroyed her love."

Many times he besought his wife to return to him and her child, Eckel says. In March 1914, he went to Hart's office, where he "entreated and begged him that he should not interfere with the plaintiff and his wife." He "asked him as a man," he asserts, to keep away from her, because she "was a woman easily influenced."

In spite of his entreaties, Eckel asserts, Hart persisted in his attentions and several times prevented Mrs. Eckel from returning to her home "by threats to kill her and take her life if she returned to her husband."

Mrs. Hart's suit throws light on the marital tangle. She says she was married June 3, 1903, when she was earning $150 a week as a vaudeville performer, and tells of supporting her husband until he had learned the booking business. She then spent $500 setting him up in business. He prospered, but she worked seven years until their income was assured. Now, she says, Hart has an income of $75,000 a year and is worth fully $500,000.

She says she learned of Hart's infatuation for Mrs. Eckel, whom she knew only as Clara Inge, through a telegram sent to the Green Room club by the actress and forwarded to her home. In this Miss Inge said: "Thank(s) very much for the $200. Mamma and I send you lots of love."

But it was not until after the suicide that Mrs. Hart was aware of all the details, she says. Then, she alleges, her husband came to her at the Hotel Marseille, where she was living, and confessed his infatuation.

The wife alleges that Hart even told her it was he who had inspired the divorce suit brought by Mrs. Eckel, and related that he had tried to get evidence against his wife when he found there was no hope of inducing her to divorce him that he might wed Mrs. Eckel.

Attached to Mrs. Hart's complaint is an affidavit by Mrs. Mattie Wise, a servant for Mrs. Eckel. Mrs. Wise says she knew Mrs. Eckel as Miss Inge and was informed Hart was her fiance.

New York TIMES, May 5, 1918:

Clara Inge Eckel's son Charles ("Carl") Eckel was born 1912 in New York and in 1920 was living with his grandmother Henrietta Florence Eckel Froelich Schaeffer and uncle Oscar Froelich who moved to New York from St. Louis. In 1930, he was living in Manhattan with his father Charles Eckel, now a real estate broker, and stepmother Dorothy, the daughter of Russian immigrants (born March 15, 1895, N.Y.,N.Y., d. July 1982 N.Y.). They married before 1920 when they resided at 62 W. 93rd St. (his occupation: manager, auto tire co.); resided at 41 W. 96th St., N.Y.,N.Y., in January 1928 according to a ship's passenger manifest when they returned from a trip to Havanna, Cuba. In 1929 Charles E. Eckel had been president of the Liberty Surety Bond and Insurance Company of New Jersey (Trenton Evening News, Dec. 28, 1928, p.1;Jan. 3, 1929, p.1).

Trenton Evening Times, Dec. 29, 1928, p.3:
(continued from Page One)
...One of the matters the committee wants to hear more about is the Fidelity Mortgage and Finance Company of Newark. Among its advisory directors, which Senator Wolber said read like a "Who's Who in New Jersey," are State Comptroller N.A.K. Bugbee, A. K. Leucket, president of the Colonial Trust, Daniel A. Dugan, of the Hanover Trust, and former Judge Edmund C. Gaskill of Atlantic City. It was decided to subpoena the former president of the concern, Charles E. Eckel, for Senator Simpson said, "the same reason we called Van Horn, to see if poor people are being gypped."

Charles Inge Eckel, born 14 Mar 1912, died 27 Jun 1970 (his mother's birthday), in Miami, Dade County, Florida. 
Family links: 
  George Samuel Inge (1856 - 1893)
  Georgia Ann Huggins Inge (1859 - 1937)
  Charles Inge Eckel (1912 - 1970)*
  George Inge*
  Eugene Samuel Inge (1878 - 1968)*
  Le Roy Huggins Inge (1884 - 1931)*
  Vivien Inge (1886 - 1894)*
  Clara Fant Inge Eckel (1889 - 1915)
*Calculated relationship
"Mrs. Clara Inge Eckel
Born June 27, 1889
Died Dec. 12, 1916
Daughter of Rev. George S. & Georgia Inge
Mother of Carl Eckel."

Henry Cemetery
Alcorn County
Mississippi, USA
Created by: Ray
Record added: Mar 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67027960
Clara Fant Baby Doll <i>Inge</i> Eckel
Added by: Ray
Clara Fant Baby Doll <i>Inge</i> Eckel
Added by: Ray
Clara Fant Baby Doll <i>Inge</i> Eckel
Added by: Ray
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 Added: Jun. 27, 2013

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- Ray
 Added: Apr. 8, 2011

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