The Silver Baron’s Wife
by Donna Baier Stein
Looking for a Rags-to-Riches-to-Rags story? Then – Wow – you have hit the jackpot.
Elizabeth McCourt Tabor, better known as Baby Doe, is a true person that inspired an opera and a Hollywood movie. Born in 1854 to Irish-Catholic immigrants, McCourt would marry her first husband, Harvey Doe, and move with her husband’s family to Colorado in the mid-1870s. The marriage was a rocky one, and she would divorce Harvey for his gambling, drinking, and involvement with prostitutes.
Seeking a better life, Baby Doe relocated to Leadville, Colorado. It was here that her life would change in a drastic way. She would catch the eye of Horace Tabor, a mining millionaire, and twice Elizabeth’s age. Although married, Tabor would leave his wife of twenty-years to be with Baby Doe. He would move quickly to set up their homes in plush suites at hotels in Leadville and Denver. They would dub her the best-dressed woman in the West, but she was shunned by polite society. The Tabor’s would be involved in politics, the Colorado suffragette movement, and more. Then downfall would ensue. Her survival afterward is one that has made Baby Doe a legend among women of the mining West.
The Silver Baron’s Wife captures all the elements of this woman’s life – her time as a great beauty, a home-wrecker, and madwoman. It is an incredible story.