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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Her Early Life
Evalyn Walsh McLean

Evalyn Walsh McLean (1886-1947) came from humble roots. Her father, Thomas F. Walsh, was a gold miner in Colorado who had moved to America from Ireland in 1869. Her mother, Carrie Bell Reed, was the daughter of a school teacher. Evalyn’s early years were somewhat unstable—she moved frequently due to her father’s job, living in hotels and miner’s shacks. In 1896, when Evalyn was ten, her life changed completely when her father found gold at the Camp Bird gold mine in Colorado. Her family became exceedingly wealthy and moved to Washington, D. C. in 1897, where she met Ned McLean, heir to a newspaper and railway fortune. In 1908, they married, both at the age of 22, and traveled to Europe for their honeymoon. There, they purchased the Star of the East Diamond from Cartier (McLean 1936).

Creator Harris & Ewing
Photo ID LC-USZ62-71454
Source Library of Congress

Evalyn Walsh McLean wearing the Hope Diamond as a pendant on a diamond necklace.

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