'''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]

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]


  1. ^ cite book|last1=Stevenson|first1=Jane|title=Edward Burra: Twentieth-century Eye|date=2007|publisher=Jonathan Cape|page=84|url=https://books.google.it/books?id=FMZLAQAAIAAJ|accessdate=20 January 2018
  2. ^ cite web|last1=Hallam|first1=Christopher|title=1 Script Doctors and Vicious Addicts: Subcultures, Drugs, and Regulation under the 'British System', c.1917 to c.1960|url=http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/3141178/2/2016_PHP_PhD_Hallam_C.pdf|website=LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE|accessdate=20 January 2018
  3. ^ cite web |url=http://thepetitesophisticate.blogspot.com/2008/05/lord-tod-wadley.html |title=Photograph with Lord Tod Wadley
  4. ^ cite book|author=Terry Castle|title=Boss Ladies, Watch Out!: Essays on Women, Sex and Writing|date=13 September 2013|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-135-22528-5|pages=218
  5. ^ cite book|last1=Hamnett|first1=Nina|title=Is She a Lady?: A Problem in Autobiography|date=1955|publisher=Allan Wingate|page=69|url=https://books.google.it/books?id=SjMkAAAAMAAJ|accessdate=20 January 2018
  6. ^ cite book|last1=Schenkar|first1=Joan|title=Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece|date=2000|publisher=Basic Books|page=129|url=https://books.google.it/books?id=tH5mAAAAMAAJ|accessdate=20 January 2018
  7. ^ cite book|last1=Oram|first1=Alison|title=Her Husband was a Woman!: Women's Gender-Crossing in Modern British Popular Culture|date=2013|publisher=Routledge|page=80|url=https://books.google.it/books?id=dhLsyYnj6SIC&pg=PA80|accessdate=20 January 2018
  8. ^ cite book |author=Kate Summerscale |title=The Queen of Whale Cay |publisher=Penguin |location=London |year=1997 |isbn=0-670-88018-3 |url= |ref=Summerscale, Queen of Whale Cay|page=233

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