NH NH - Barbara Newhall Follet, 25, Rodgers, 7 Dec 1939

Discussion in 'Pre-1960's Missing' started by southern_scout, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. southern_scout

    southern_scout Member

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    I had never heard of Barbara Newhall Follett until I read this essay. Very interesting old missing persons case about an author who was made famous by her first novel "The House Without Windows", which was published in 1927 when she was 12 years old. She apparently went on to a rather unhappy marriage, had children, and vanished in 1939. Her husband reported her missing four weeks after she walked out after a fight, but reported it under her married name and it went largely unnoticed.

    http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/essays/vanishing-act.php?page=all
    http://www.npr.org/2010/12/18/132135938/barbara-newhall-follett-disappearing-child-genius

    *edited to add that she went missing from Brookline, MA, not NH.
     
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  3. momtolil

    momtolil New Member

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    Loved the NPR story.... The picture of her is almost haunting.
    Sounds like she left on her own accord, hopefully to live a happier life.
    I researched the book she wrote when she was still a child.The book seems to be out of print. It would be interesting to read. It was basically from what I gather about a girl's search for a more beautiful world. Sounds almost poetic if you look at the case in a way that things turned out in a way she may have wanted them to. Maybe she finally did escape as her books seemed to lead up to.

    So sad, she seemed very lonely. Her unhappiness and distress about life almost sounds like something that a good dose of anti-depressants would have cured in present times.
    Would love to know where she went, but it sounds like one of those mysteries that will never be solved.
     
  4. momtolil

    momtolil New Member

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    I guess having so much intelligence and creativity going on in your head at such a young age can really set you up for quite a fall later in life, as the article suggests.
    Though she was distraught and possibly feeling like a failure due to her husbands infidelities and her lack of great success as an adult. It seems to me that having been such a young prodigy and having such a talent, she might have tried to stay in touch with family and friends and created a new life for herself.

    On the other hand...As far as her husband goes... I wonder why he waited so long to report her missing.
    Sounds rather fishy to me. Especially putting the report in her married name. Because he knew it would buy him time??

    This does me think of foul play on the husbands part.
     
  5. sealevel

    sealevel New Member

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    What a fascinating story. She seems like a very resourceful, determined lady. I hope she ended up safe and found what she was searching for.
     
  6. iconoclast

    iconoclast Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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  7. southern_scout

    southern_scout Member

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    Yeah, I doubt this one will ever be resolved, but I found it fascinating, all the same.
     
  8. Bluejay_Young

    Bluejay_Young New Member

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    Drugs were part of Barbara's problem. According to her letters, she used prescription sleeping pills, probably Seconals, which she called "dope". Except on rare occasions, she could not get to sleep without them, and may have been addicted. Looks like she drank alcohol to enhance their effect, never a good idea.

    Some years ago, an anonymous fan published speculations on his blog regarding this aspect of Barbara's life. He thinks Barbara may actually have died of an overdose, and her husband covered it up to avoid a scandal.

    I fished the Barbara entries out of his blog out of oblivion at archive.org a year or so ago and offer them here along with some other stuff. You should also be sure to read Stephen Cooke's Farksolia, the official BNH site.

    Astral Aviary, the Barbara Newhall Follett Archive
     
  9. PFF

    PFF New Member

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  10. alb1on

    alb1on Member

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    View attachment about barbara.pdf

    The above file is an essay by Barbara's half-nephew. It seems to provide a better, family, perspective on the background to the disappearance. Especially, it makes clear that her husband had asked for a divorce and that she disappeared after what seemed like a failed attempt to make the marriage work again. As such, it would be consistent with any one of the possible scenarios; a planned disappearance, foul play or suicide. The article does not support the suggestion that Barbara had a history of depression or mental problems - quite the reverse; she seemed fairly normal and happy until the marriage breakdown only a short while before she disappeared.
    The essay comes from Ancestry where it is attached to the family tree.
     
  11. Archangel85

    Archangel85 Member

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    She had runaway before according to an article from 1929. She was arrested by a probation officer
     
  12. SeeThemFly

    SeeThemFly New Member

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    Do we have any information on Nickerson Rogers after Barbara's disappearance. Did he remarry?
     
  13. bambi_sue

    bambi_sue New Member

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    I came across this essay in Outside Magazine about Barbara and was instantly intrigued:

    https://www.outsideonline.com/2280101/art-vanishing-laura-smith-excerpt

    The essay is adapted from Laura Smith's excellent memoir, The Art of Vanishing. I read it in an evening, heart pounding through most of it. The mystery of Barbara's curious and adventurous life and her disappearance are interwoven with the author's modern love story and journey as a writer, but it's a great read. Needless to say, Laura does not find Barbara - no spoiler, we would've heard it in the news if she had, but she does extensive research including talking to family members of Nickerson and Barbara. If you have an interest in this case, I highly recommend the book.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MXNSBY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
     
  14. bambi_sue

    bambi_sue New Member

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    According to the memoir I mentioned, Nickerson was having an affair and that's why he wanted to break it off with Barbara. They agreed to work on it, but after she disappeared he did marry the woman he was having an affair with. They were married the rest of their lives and who two daughters, both of which did not want to discuss Barbara's disappearance with the author.
     
  15. Darling136

    Darling136 Well-Known Member Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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