Irene and her prince

Here’s a photo from the May 19 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that yielded a fascinating story:


Irene Marcellus, who was apparently considered “the girl with the most beautiful figure in America” at one time, was working as an artist’s nude model when she met Sarath Kumar Ghosh, also calling himself Prince Sarath Ghosh of Ghoshpara, who was travelling the United States giving lectures about India. Ghosh befriended Ms. Marcellus and her sister; he apparently fell in love with her, but she refused to marry him.

When Mr. Ghosh passed away unexpectedly in 1920, he left his estate to the two Marcellus sisters and to Annabelle Stretch, who worked as a stenographer, on the condition that they “abandon their present work of posing as artist models in the nude and to use their respective legacies to fit themselves to earn their livelihood in another manner.” Ms. Stretch had never worked as a model, but whatever.

Ms. Marcellus continued on the stage for a while, appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies between 1920 and 1923. She then gave it up to concentrate on sculpture, and apparently to hope that there was more money in Mr. Ghosh’s estate than the $5,000 that was known about.

A Google search turned up a long article on Ms. Marcellus and Mr. Ghosh in the July 12, 1925 edition of the Helena Daily Independent, which was the source of much of this material. It’s fascinating (if somewhat overblown) reading. I could find no record of her after this, so I have no idea whether she got any more money or had any success as a sculptor.

Among other things, Mr. Ghosh (or perhaps Prince Sarath) was a writer. His two-part series titled The Wonders of The Jungle (published in 1915 and 1918) is available on the Project Gutenberg website here and here; I haven’t read any of either book. The Secret Desi History and Pulp Flakes websites have a lot of information on this self-styled prince.

Wikimedia Commons has photographs of Ms. Marcellus, some of which may be NSFW.

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