The Mystery of Dorcas Snodgrass
October 3, 2008 12:16 PM   Subscribe

What happened to Dorcas Snodgrass? I don't know who did this research on this nurse, but she's haunting me and the articles hint at a tragic mystery but leave many unanswered questions.
posted by chickaboo (24 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I just found this PDF of a 1912 article. That at least seems to give a full account of the actual missing-persons announcement.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:21 PM on October 3, 2008

Yes I think that was linked to by one of the original commenters... if you read them all you end up with more questions than you started with.
posted by chickaboo at 12:24 PM on October 3, 2008

Oh, I didn't realize there were articles linked in the comments on that page.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2008

Shouldn't this be in AskMe?
posted by Brockles at 12:53 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

She moved into a Thomas Pynchon novel and was edited out.
posted by Free word order! at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Maybe. This seems more like the place for posts of random interestingness online. Maybe the question mark is the problem? I'm not really expecting an answer, just pointing out an interesting photo and interesting back story about her. Sorry. My first metafilter post.
posted by chickaboo at 1:02 PM on October 3, 2008

Girl is missing! White? Check. Pretty? Check. YOU MAY PROCEED.
posted by echo target at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think this makes perfect sense here, though some additional framing would have made it sounds less like the post was asking a question.

It's a cool story - a Library of Congress photo gets posted to Flickr, and people connect it to old news reports.
posted by pombe at 1:07 PM on October 3, 2008

My mom's maiden name is Snodgrass. Given the unusualness of the name I wouldn't be surprised if this lady was a relative of some kind. Thanks for the post!
posted by supercrayon at 1:11 PM on October 3, 2008

It is a cool story, both for the back story of the mystery as well as the connection of the old photo to the news reports. I thought it was a good post as well, and just wanted to let you know that I thought Brockles' question was a joke, which was why I favorited it. Looking at it again, though, perhaps it wasn't!
posted by yhbc at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2008

I agree that a little more framing would have made this post more easily digestible but it's still a good post. The photo and story told by the linked articles are indeed very haunting. Thanks for the post.
posted by hecho de la basura at 1:17 PM on October 3, 2008

thanks for the link, i can't believe the treasure trove of photos the library of congress flickr site has uploaded!
posted by infini at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2008

I actually found that they were posting them on there through a metafilter post and they are always cool to look at.
posted by chickaboo at 1:35 PM on October 3, 2008

Nice post, thanks!

From the Dictionary of American Family Names:


Scottish: habitational name from a place near Irvine in the former county of Ayrshire, named with northern Middle English snod ‘smooth’, ‘sleek’, ‘even’ + grass ‘grass’.

posted by languagehat at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2008

I am a Snodgrass, and everywhere I go, someone says, "Oh! Do you know SoAndSo Snodgrass? I went to high school with him!" And I never know or am related to the Snodgrass in question. It's one of those surnames that are unique enough to stick in peoples' memories, but that same uniqueness leads people to believe that there aren't many Snodgrasses out there when in fact there are.

The most famous Snodgrass is probably James Snodgrass of Quiz Show fame, but I am not related to him as far as I know.
posted by afx114 at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Very interesting, and cool post. I like this kind of story where the deeper you go, the more there is than appears on the surface.
posted by Eekacat at 2:21 PM on October 3, 2008

By far the best thing about this post is the Library of Congress photostream. How did I not know about that?
posted by The Bellman at 2:31 PM on October 3, 2008

There are articles available via google's news archive search as well: Dorcas Snodgrass. Some of the results of the NY Times have links to scans of the original articles, like this.
posted by GuyZero at 4:28 PM on October 3, 2008

posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on October 3, 2008

W.D. Snodgrass was the poet-in-residence at my graduate school. The boyfriend of my more gullible friends had her convinced that his initials stood for "Wahoo Dooley."

More on topic - I love the serendipitous research impulse caused by a pretty lady, a funny name, and online news archives.
posted by bibliowench at 5:15 PM on October 3, 2008

There was a guy that tried to take over Earth once. That was General Zodgrass, any relation?
posted by DU at 5:38 PM on October 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Well, if she wasn't done in by Wahoo Dooley, I wonder if she and ol' Amelia Danby had some kind of love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name pact gone wrong. Where are the lost diaries of Amelia Danby!

She's like the girl from Picnic at Hanging Rock who was found on the rock but never would say anything.

I still Dorcas could have fallen in the creek. And Amelia was "afraid" to return because she felt responsible/worried people would KNOW.

Search the internets now - I need the lost diaries of Amelia Danby. She won't have signed her name, but you'll find a handkerchief with a star in the book.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:44 PM on October 3, 2008

The most famous Snodgrass is probably James Snodgrass of Quiz Show fame, but I am not related to him as far as I know.
The first name that came to me was Carrie Snodgrass, the actress. Her most famous films were Pale Rider and Diary of a Mad Housewife, but if you watched TV in the 80's or 90's you probably saw her.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:39 AM on October 4, 2008

Thanks for this, it was very interesting.
posted by scarello at 11:49 AM on October 4, 2008

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