QUEEN OF THE CON: Thomas Crowl in conversation with Susan Campbell
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January 18 • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFREE
At the dawn of the 20th century, Cassie borrowed $2 million (worth roughly $50 million today) throughout northern Ohio, Pittsburgh, New York, and Boston by convincingly posing as the illegitimate daughter of wealthy industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. When the fraud collapsed in 1904, it was a nationwide sensation. “Yes, I borrowed money in very large amounts,” she told reporters, “but what of it? You can’t accuse a poor businesswoman of being a criminal, can you?” Carnegie, who never responded to the claim, merely joked that Mrs. Chadwick had demonstrated that his credit was still good.
This meticulously researched book is the first full-length account of the notorious career of this fascinating woman, the forerunner to more recent female scammers like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes or fake heiress Anna Sorokin, the “Soho Grifter.” Crowl’s engaging storytelling also leads readers to consider aspects of gender stereotypes, social and economic class structures, and the ways in which we humans can so often be fooled.
Susan Campbell is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a widely read Hartford Courant columnist, and the author of two books with a third forthcoming. She’s worked across the media landscape as an award-winning print journalist, a regular commentator on WNPR, and a guest on CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” the BBC, WTNH-TV, and the local news show “Face the State.” She is also part of the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, an award-winning health and safety website.
Her work at The Courant – where she was a staff writer and columnist for 25 years – has been recognized by the National Women’s Political Caucus, the New England Associated Press News Executives, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Society for Professional Journalists, among numerous other organizations. She’s also written for Connecticut Magazine, Salon.com, the Ms. Foundation blog, and Patheos.com. She currently writes a weekly Sunday column for Hearst newspapers in Connecticut.