George Spencer Millet: Death by Kisses

Mar 15, 2023 0 comments

George Spencer Millet must be rolling in his grave for his family chose to include this nugget of information in his gravestone: “Lost life by stab in falling on ink eraser, evading six young women trying to give him birthday kisses in office Metropolitan Life Building”.

George Spencer Millet was a 15-year-old boy who worked in the New York Metropolitan Life Building as an office boy. Though he had been employed there for only two months, his mild manners and fair complexion “made him the pet of all the girl stenographers,” wrote the Times.

On February 15, 1909, Millet came to office and casually mentioned that yesterday was his 15th birthday.

“At once the girls began to tease him. They told him that on such an occasion he deserved a kiss, and every one of them vowed that as soon as office hours were over she would kiss him once for every year he had lived. He laughingly declared that not a girl should get near him, and was teased about it all day,” the Times article read.

Scarcely after the clock had struck 4:30, announcing the end of the day’s work, the girls made a rush for him intending to smother the unfortunate teen with smooches. Millet tried to wriggle away, and in the ensuing ruckus, Millet suddenly reeled and as he fell, he cried out, “I’m stabbed”.

One of the girls rushed to his aid, but the sight of blood streaming from his wound was so traumatic for her, that she fainted. The company’s doctor from the medical department was summoned and an ambulance was called. But Millet died of his injuries on his way home.

The police initially arrested a certain Miss Robins, a 23-year-old stenographer and one of the girls chasing and teasing Millet that day. Robbins explained that right before the girls tried to hem him in, she saw that Millet was holding a six-inch long “knife ink eraser”, and she believed that it was this sharp edged tool that went into his side and pierced his heart. A quick examination of the body confirmed this fact—there was indeed a knife as described by Miss Robbins in Millet’s coat pocket, and the wound on his body matched with the accidental weapon.

When it became clear that Millet’s death was a terrible accident, the charge against Miss Robbins was dropped. Millet was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. What’s unfortunate, aside from his tragic death, is that his family chose to etch in his tombstone a description of the embarrassing nature of his death, without which, of course, this article would not have been possible.


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