I found this article in the September 5th, 1949 issue of Life magazine.
The text of the article reads:
“MARTHA BECK HEADS FOR THE CHAIR
‘Lonely Hearts’ murderess will be the
seventh woman electrocuted in Sing Sing Prison
In a Bronx courtroom last week Justice Ferdinand Pecora, with shaking voice, pronounced the death sentence upon two stolid defendants who seemed less affected by it than he did. Then hefty Martha Julie Beck, 29, and Raymond M. Fernandez, 34, her ‘Latin lover,’ were hustled off to Sing Sing Prison to die for the murder of an Albany widow they had met through a mail-order ‘lonely hearts’ club. When Martha Beck’s sentence, now set for the week of Oct. 10, is carried out she will follow in the footsteps of seven other unglamorous women who have gone to the electric chair in New York state, six of them at Sing Sing. The six (left): Mrs. Martha Place, who killed her stepdaughter (executed 1899); Mrs. Ruth Snyder, convicted with Henry Judd Gray in the sashweight slaying of her husband (1928); Mrs. Anna Antonio, who plotted her husband’s murder (1934); Mrs. Eva Coo, who insured, then killed her hired man by running over him in a car (1935); Mrs. Mary F. Creighton, who helped her lover poison his wife (1936), and Mrs. Helen Fowler, who, with a partner, bludgeoned a service-station attendant in a holdup (1944).
Now I am not sharing this because I wish to get into a discussion about the death penalty or disparate media coverage of the executions of women or any other such matter. I cannot say whether the media's approach to this topic has changed significantly in the past 60 years.
I just want to make an observation.
Under the photograph of Martha Beck arriving at Sing Sing, the photo has a caption that reads, “Escorted by an officer and matron, 200-pound Martha Beck arrives at Sing Sing, two hours after hearing her sentence.” In the body of the article, the reporter notes that Martha Beck “will follow in the footsteps of seven other unglamorous women who have gone to the electric chair in New York state.”
Life magazine is reassuring their readers that it is okay.
Women are being executed in New York State - but only unattractive ones. 1950’s America could rest easy because no women who were thin and pretty had been executed in our fair nation.
Oh. What a relief.
If you would like to read more about the women mentioned
in this 1949 Life magazine article, try the links below:
Martha Place (1899) / Ruth Snyder (1928) / Anna Antonio (1934)
Eva Coo (1935) / Mary F. Creighton (1936) / Helen Fowler (1944)
Martha Julie Beck (1949) / Sing Sing Prison / An article comparing
Helen Fowler's 1944 conviction with other murder trials