Partner Joe Carstairs

Queer Places:
Mulberry Walk, Chelsea, London SW3, Regno Unito
Old Whalers Church of Sag Harbor, 44 Union St, Sag Harbor, NY 11963, Stati Uniti

Catherine Ruth Baldwin (17 February 1905 – 31 August 1937) was an American born, English socialite part of the Bright Young Things crowd. She was the first important lover of American heiress Joe Carstairs.

Catherine Ruth Baldwin was born on 17 February 1905 in America. In the 1920s in London she was known for her use of heroin, cocaine and alcohol. It has been said that she turned the kitchen of the house where she lived with Joe Carstairs into a bar. Carstairs' friends later said "She was wild. She was such fun. Ruth, she was really ''wild''." She said to Carstairs, "The world is one's oyster if taken at will." Her circle of friends included painter Edward Burra and society portrait photographers Barbara Ker-Seymer and Olivia Wyndham, this last possible her lover as well.[1] [2]

During the 1930s Barbara Key-Seymer became an important and skilled modernist photographer, influenced by German expressionism. In the late 1920s she'd begun working as an assistant for the aristocratic photographer Olivia Wyndham. Soon afterwards they started seeing one another and Barbara moved into Olivia's Chelsea home at 19 King's Road. Here they socialized with upper-class lesbians such as the American heiress Ruth Baldwin and Dolly Wilde, Oscar Wilde's niecce, along with others including Edward Burra, who visited Key-Seymer and Wyndham often. The couple lived close by Ruth Baldwin and her female partner Joe Carstairs, a wealthy motorboat racer.

In June 1930 author Evelyn Waugh recorded attending a Thames steam-boat party hosted by Olivia Wyndham and Ruth Baldwin, which he noted in his diary, was attended by "masses of little lesbian tarts and joyboys."

When Carstairs purchased her first motorboat, Baldwin gave her a Steiff doll; Carstairs named it ''Lord Tod Wadley''. She became exceptionally attached to this doll, keeping it with her until her death.[3] She had clothes made for it in Saville Row and had its name placed with her own on the name plaque on the door of her London apartment at 5 Mulberry Walk ("Marion Barbara Carstairs and Lord Tod Wadley").[4]

Nina Hamnett took a portrait of Baldwin in Paris.[5]

Baldwin died of a suspected overdose at a Chelsea party at the home of Gwen Farrar on 31 August 1937, while her friends, among whom Dolly Wilde, listened to a boxing match in the next room.[6] A photograph of her appeared on ''The Times'' on 2 September 1937 announging her death. She had short hair and a mannish tie, probably alluding to the fact she was lesbian; the article also said she was sharing a house with Carstairs.[7] Carstairs crossed the Atlantic from Whale Cay aboard of the French liner ''Normandie'', the most expensive ship in the world, and took her ashes along with her to Whale Cay, where she build a church to host them. When she sold Whale Cay, she removed the ashes.

When Carstairs died in Naples, Florida, in 1993 at the age of 93. Lord Tod Wadley was cremated with her. Their ashes and those of Ruth Baldwin were buried by the sea near the Old Whaler's Church (Sag Harbor), New York.[8]

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