Churchill, May (1876–1929)

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Churchill, May (1876–1929)

Notorious Irish-American swindler and bank robber. Name variations: May Latimer; Chicago May; May Churchill Sharp (or Sharpe); May Vivienne Churchill. Born Beatrice Desmond or May Lambert (sources vary) near Dublin, Ireland, in Nov 1876; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1929; married an army officer named Sharp (or Sharpe).

Arrived in New York City from Dublin at age 15 (1891); took up residence in the Tenderloin district, where her apparently staggering beauty, combined with schooling in the badger game by confidence artist Max Shinborn, allowed her to blackmail wealthy men; practiced the badger game in many cities, including NY, Chicago, London, Vienna and Paris; though she was in and out of prison, sentences were relatively short until, with 3 others including her infamous lover jewel thief Eddie McManus, robbed American Express Company in Paris (1901), for which she received a 5-year sentence (1902); arrested with lover Cubine Jackson (alias Charlie Smith) for attempted murder of McManus (1907), who had left her, and sentenced to 15 years of which she served 12; after release (1918), wrote her memoirs (Chicago May, Her Story, c. 1928) before dying in Philadelphia boardinghouse (1929); a household name in her own day, reportedly bilked wealthy men of $1 million during her career.

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Churchill, May (1876–1929)

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