From the Reference Desk: Movie Star’s Mother Dies in Car Crash

Feb. 7, 1926, Prevost

1926_0207_prevostHere’s a lesson in what to do if you don’t have access to ProQuest.

Stacia of She Blogged by Night had a question the other day about car a accident involving Vera Steadman, Al Christie and Marie Prevost’s Mother, Mrs. H. Prevost. I have access to ProQuest, so it’s easy to look up the incident and find a story published in The Times on Feb. 7, 1926.

But what if you’re like Stacia and don’t have ProQuest? My first step is Google’s news archive, a large database of U.S. newspapers. Most of the results are pay per view, but material from some smaller papers is free.

Here’s a story from the Calgary Daily Herald of Feb. 6, 1926, with the basic information.

There’s even a follow-up story from the Palm Beach Daily News.

Feb. 7, 1926, Prevost

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1926, Film, From the Reference Desk, Hollywood, Libraries, Obituaries, Transportation and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to From the Reference Desk: Movie Star’s Mother Dies in Car Crash

  1. eve says:

    Poor Marie Prevost, so sad. They say she never really got over her mother’s death, and it was that–not talkies–that sent her into a downward spiral.

    And no, despite what that miscreant Kenneth Anger wrote, she was not “eaten by her dog” after she died.


  2. Stacia says:

    Marie had a lot of problems in her life, her mother’s death just being one thing in a long line of bad luck. By the time her career was on the wane, she wasn’t old enough for the matronly character roles, wasn’t young enough for the lead in films, and there are only so many prostitute and/or ugly friend roles to go around.

    It’s shocking how many of the roles she got later on were just flat out insulting to her. Sporting Blood, Three Wise Girls, and Hands Across the Table poked deliberate fun at Marie herself, not at her character. It’s really disconcerting, and it continued after her death with the song and the Hollywood Babylon stuff.

    As far as Google News, I still can’t find the Palm Springs article when I do a search, I have to use the direct link you gave. But I found another one from a small paper in Arizona. It’s actually a little graphic in its details of Mrs. Prevost’s death. Thanks again for the help, Larry!


    • lmharnisch says:

      @Stacia: Searching digitized newspapers is an inexact (and how) science. You have to play with the search terms: Narrow the date to a few days and bombard it with all the possible permutations: Vera Steadman or Steadman or Prevost or Christie or Lordsburg. It’s good to get what I call “search engine DNA”: fairly unusual spellings (Steadman/Prevost) that will limit the number of entries rather than “car crash” or “accident” or “police.”


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