Ginny Augustin

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Ginny Augustin (1908 – June 1, 1937) was an artist from Kenosha, Wisconsin who died from a gunshot wound to her head. She succumbed at Witchwood Manor, a farm in Highland Mills, New York, owned by Gypsy Rose Lee.

Augustin taught art at Textile High School in Manhattan. She moved from Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois, and then to New York City. Her artistic work was displayed at the Municipal Art Gallery on West 53rd Street.[1]

Augustin had a history of depression and suicide attempts. She wanted to live at Witchwood Manor after she heard about it. After arriving there she looked after Rose Thompson Hovick, the mother of Gypsy Rose Lee, for many months.

Death circumstances[edit]

Coroner Edward Garrison pronounced Augustin's death a suicide on June 2, 1939. Garrison concluded that Augustin shot herself in the temple with a rifle after she returned from a hike.[2]

Augustin's body was discovered by Hovick on a blood-soaked carpet, with blood extending to the door of Augustin's bedroom. However Augustin left no note and the walls of her bedroom were not blood spattered.

Dancer Georgia Sothern insisted that Gypsy Rose Lee was present at the time of Augustin's demise. E. Sergio, a deputy sheriff seconded Sothern's opinion. Rumors of foul play persisted until after the death of Lee. She never confirmed or denied them.

Among the hypothetical scenarios one mentions a party having occurred. It was attended by Hovick's six boarders, numerous men from the neighborhood, and Lee. During the event Augustin flirted with Lee, which angered Hovick. Hovick then followed Augustin into the bedroom and shot her a single time in the head.[3]


  1. ^ American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare, The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, Karen Abbott, Random House, 2010, Pg. 302.
  2. ^ Woman Art Student a Suicide, New York Times, June 2, 1937, pg. 54.
  3. ^ American Rose", pp. 302-303