May 1, 1947
Manhattan, New York
Evelyn McHale jumps from the Empire State Building and lands on a United Nations embassy limousine
A former member of the Women’s Army Corps and employed as a bookkeeper, McHale (23) kissed her fiancé goodbye the morning of April 30; he later remarked she seemed happy as she departed.
A folded note in her purse served as a sort of suicide note, outlining her wishes to be cremated and have no grave or funeral service. She mentioned she felt she would not be a good wife, but had second thoughts and scratched this part out. She also asked for someone to relay to her father she was too much like her mother, who had left the family when Evelyn was young.
The photo of her death rose to fame quickly for the way Evelyn looks to be posing quite peacefully rather than having met a violent and tragic death, especially in the natural and casual way her body rests, with her ankles gently crossed and her hand delicately holding the pearls around her neck. It is often referred to as “The Most Beautiful Suicide.”