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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Silent film star Nell Shipman gets fan mail at Minnehaha studio

Fan mail from all over the world poured in to a Minnehaha film studio where silent film star Nell Shipman was preparing for her next movie on this day one hundred years ago.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Hundreds of fan letters arrived every day at Spokane’s Minnehaha movie studios for Nell Shipman, silent movie star and filmmaker.

“I am a slave of your charms,” wrote a Cuban fan. “I shall dream it the sweetest of gifts to be able to receive a picture of you. May I hope to have this desire fulfilled?”

A Japanese boy called her “a peerless peach.”

Shipman received so many letters that she never actually read any of them – “it would take all of her time,” said her manager. Instead, a secretary answered all of them and sent back photos.

Shipman was known, in part, for a brief and discreet nude swimming scene in “Back to God’s Country,” which may have accounted for some of her worldwide popularity. Yet most of the letter writers invoked her work as screenwriter, producer and director of nature-based films. Her manager said that more than 50% of the letters were from women and girls.

Shipman was about to start work on a new movie set in the forests around Spokane.

From the addiction beat: Lavest Pruitt, a prisoner being held in the Spokane city jail, had been quiet for several days after being brought in on narcotics charges.

That all changed on the fourth day, when the jailers gave him a razor to allow him to shave.

He waved the razor wildly around, took “vicious swipes” at jailers, and kept yelling, “Give me some coke!”

He was clearly suffering from withdrawal. He backed into the “bull pen” and one jailer eventually managed to pin him by the arms.

“After being placed in a cell, he kept up his howls for ‘coke’ the balance of the morning,” the newspaper reported.