Charles Y. Harvey
New York Times, January 29, 1912
PHANTOM CRITICS DRIVE HIM TO SUICIDE
C. Y. Harvey, a Sculptor, Kills Himself in Bronx Park on Day “the Voices” Set
LEAVES UNFINISHED STATUE
Feared That the Work of His Hands Was Not Good, Though He Had Won Prizes and St. Gaudens’s Praise.
Charles Y. Harvey, a sculptor who studied under St. Gaudens, lived and worked for the last two years in a studio on the Lincoln Square Arcade at 1,947 Broadway. There during the last week he was at work upon the case for a fountain that was to stand in a square in a Connecticut city, but the work of his hands dissatisfied him, and as he tried to make headway he was haunted by the voices of unseen persons, who bade him take his life. The command was explicit. The voices, from which he could not escape, directed relentlessly that he lay aside his tools and kill himself. The day that they set was Saturday.
Yesterday morning, some students were sauntering through Bronx Park, and as they were passing along the west bank of the Bronx River, near the Botanical Gardens, they stumbled upon the body of a man, lying face up in the grass.The throat was cut and near by on the ground there lay two razors. One of the group, Jonathan Duerk of 1,983 Washington Avenue, the Bronx, hurrying away to notify the police, ran into Supt. Corbett of the Botanical Gardens, who tool the task out of their hands. In the dead man’s pockets they found three cards, all bearing the name Charles Y. Harvey and the address, 1,947 Broadway.
It was through these cards that the police picked up the thread of identification, which was established later in the day, when S. E. Fry, a sculptor, and Clifford Carleton, an illustrator, visited the Fordham Morgue.
Friends Had Hoped to Save Him.
These two were of the few in the art circles who knew Charles Harvey at all intimately, for always he had been a markedly modest and retiring man, and in the two years since his return from the American Academy at Rome he had been about little in the studio world. Other artists in the Arcade Building thought of him as a shy, silent man who did not seem to want their company and they were inclined to let him alone.
But Carleton and Fry knew it was company he needed and were much worried about him during the past week, when he was more than ever beset with the delusion of voices. His friends knew that he felt the Italian people and the Italian Government were his oppressors. He talked to them of this trouble, and they were of half a mind to have him taken care of as a melancholia case that needed watching. Then he told them that he had received order from a voice that he must kill himself, and they saw that there was no time to lose.
On Friday night, to cheer him up if he could, Mr. Carleton had him home to dinner and took him to a theatre. It was midnight before he left him.
His two friends had been urging Harvey to see a physician. It was half arranged that he should do so, but, to make sure, Mr. Carleton consulted a doctor whom he knew and on Saturday morning he took him around to Harvey’s studio. The door was locked and there was no answer to their repeated knocks.
Then Mr. Carleton learned that Harvey had gone out leaving word that he was going out of town and later that he was told Fry he intended to go to his mother and brother in Great Barrington, Mass. The intimation was that he felt the need of getting away from his studio, away from his voices. They thought he had followed that impulse and wired a long message to “Harvey,” Great Barrington, (it was all the address they had,) but they wanted to send ahead some idea of the man’s condition. There was no answer to the telegram, and yesterday came word that a man with Harvey’s card in his pocket had been found dead in Bronx Park. As they set out on their task of identification there seemed very little hope that the dead man was not their friend, although the police had guessed his age as fifty, and they had thought Harvey looked even younger than his forty-three years. Word came from Great Barrington last night that his brother had started for New York.
Promise of a Fine Career.
Mr. Carleton said yesterday that Charles Harvey was a man of charming manner and fine nature and that he was a very clever artist. He understood that St. Gaudens considered him one of the most able of the younger men here, and who recommended him to fill the instructorship from which he had retired. It was on the recommendation of Daniel Chester French that Harvey obtained a three-year scholarship in Rome, and while there he did a panel with the figures in relief a photograph of which was exhibited at the Architectural League exhibition at the time of his return to New York two years ago.
Harvey was bitterly despondent about his work and so sensitive to the slightest criticism that any expression of adverse opinion caused him genuine suffering. His friends and fellow craftsmen, however, were most favorably impressed with the finished work that stands in his studio. It is the life-size figure of a crouching boy, holding a tortoise.
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