How do you tell the story of someone whose voice has been effectively lost from history?
That’s the problem I’m grappling with right now as I work on my first big non-fiction project, In the Land of Missing Girls. It will be the first full analysis of the still-unsolved disappearance of Dorothy Arnold, Edwardian-Era Manhattan socialite.
When Dorothy disappeared, her family destroyed virtually everything – her journals, letters, photos she’d taken with friends, etc. On one hand they argued they wanted to find her, on the other they were not just evasive with the police and press but frequently caught in bold lies.
There are thousands of newspaper articles chronicling Dorothy’s disappearance. There are hundreds of opinions about her, her family, and the case in general. But her voice is unreachable and I think that is even sadder than the fact that she disappeared.