Mary Pinchot Meyer was an American journalist and painter whose alleged affair with former U.S. president John F. Kennedy made her renowned. Mary worked as a journalist for “Mademoiselle,” “The United Press,” and “The Atlantic Monthly.” She started painting after deciding to become a housewife. Her artwork was chosen for the “Pan American Union Art Exhibit” at the “Museo de Arte Moderno” in Buenos Aires. In 1945, she married Cord Meyer, a member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). After her divorce, rumors of her liaison with Kennedy began to circulate. In June 2016, a purported love letter from Kennedy to Meyer sold at auction for $89,000. In 1964, a hitman killed Meyer while she was on her daily promenade. Her assassination remains a mystery to this day. Numerous hypotheses were advanced regarding her demise. Since she was always critical of the agency, many people continue to believe that the CIA was behind her assassination. The accused, Ray Crump Jr., was exonerated in July 1965.
Childhood and Adolescence
On October 14, 1920, Mary Eno Pinchot Meyer was born into a wealthy household in New York City. Amos Pinchot, her father, was a lawyer and part of the ‘Progressive Party.’ Her father also supported the communist publication ‘The Masses.’ Ruth Pinchot, her mother, was a writer who contributed to publications such as ‘The New Republic’ and ‘The Nation.’
Mary and her younger sister, Antoinette, grew up in Milford, Pennsylvania. She was Gifford Pinchot’s cousin, a two-term governor of Pennsylvania. She went to ‘Brearley School’ before attending ‘Vassar College’ to pursue journalism. After graduating in 1942, she began writing for the ‘United Press’ and ‘Mademoiselle.’
She also belonged to the ‘American Labor Party.’
Life & Work
Cord Meyer and Mary went to the ‘UN Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. On April 19, 1944, Mary and Cord wedded. She was employed as an editor for ‘The Atlantic Monthly’ at the time of her marriage. She chose to leave her job after her children were born. Around this time, she started to take her art seriously and enrolled in the ‘Art Students League of New York’ to study painting.
Cord Meyer was a lieutenant in the Marine Corps who was chosen president of the United World Federalists (UWF) in May 1947. Mary contributed to the ‘UWF’ magazine. The cord became a member of the ‘CIA’ in 1951. However, it is unknown whether he had previously covertly worked for them.
After he joined the CIA, his family relocated to Washington, DC. Despite the fact that her husband worked for the CIA, Mary had no qualms about criticizing the agency. Cord lost interest in his job with the ‘CIA’ in 1954 and started looking for work with New York publishers. However, he was unable to find work. The cord was accused of being a Communist, prompting the ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation’ to investigate Mary’s political past, which could explain Cord’s abrupt loss of interest in the ‘CIA.’
The Meyers moved next door to the Kennedys in 1954. This was the start of Jackie Kennedy and Mary’s relationship.
The cord was gone from home at this time, mostly in Europe, to manage his job with the ‘CIA.’ Michael, one of their boys, was tragically killed in an accident. After the tragedy struck them deeply, Mary filed for divorce in 1958. Soon after, she became close to John F. Kennedy.
Affair with John F. Kennedy
Following her divorce, Mary relocated to Georgetown and established a garage workshop at her sister’s home. During this period, she became close friends with John F. Kennedy. According to James Angleton, a senior CIA official, Mary visited the ‘White House’ in October 1961 and became close to Kennedy. Her ‘CIA’ pals introduced her to the president.
Despite the fact that Kennedy had been involved with many people throughout his life, Mary was special to him. She was more than just a lady with whom he had an affair. According to ‘Harvard University psychology lecturer Timothy Leary, Kennedy frequently discussed political, economic, and social problems with her. Mary requested Timothy to teach her how to conduct LSD sessions with powerful men, implying her attraction to Kennedy.
A month before his assassination, Kennedy wrote Mary a love note, which was kept by his secretary before being auctioned off for $89,000 in 2016. ‘J.’ signed the note. “After all of these years – you should give me a more loving answer than that,” the letter’s final sentence read. Why don’t you simply answer yes?”
Assassination and Assumptions
Mary went for her regular walk along the ‘Chesapeake and Ohio Canal’ towpath in Georgetown on October 12, 1964. An African-American man shot Mary twice, according to a mechanic who heard her scream for assistance.
The mechanic arrived at the murder site before anyone else and discovered Mary on the towpath. The hitman was characterized as “a black man in a light jacket, dark slacks, and a dark cap.”
Ray Crump, the man accused of her murder, was discovered about a quarter mile distant from the crime scene. The judge directed that no arguments be based on Mary’s personal affairs during the trial. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Crump’s lawyer, claimed that she was unable to gather any information about the victim.
She subsequently stated that the only information she had was that Mary had been discovered dead on the towpath. Roundtree also claimed during the trial that Crump’s features were quite different from those described by the witnesses. The witnesses described a guy who was at least 50 pounds heavier and five inches taller than Crump.
Roundtree disclosed in her autobiography, ‘Justice Older Than the Law,’ that she had a witness who could have proven Crump’s innocence, but she vanished before the trial under mysterious circumstances. According to reports, another African-American man was seen walking around the crime site after Crump was apprehended. Mary was murdered three weeks after criticizing the CIA’s “Warren Commission Report.”
It was strange that the ‘CIA’ had tapped her phone around the same time she died, and that after her death, senior ‘CIA’ official James Angleton had worked hard to recover Mary’s personal diary. These events suggested that the CIA was involved in her death. On July 29, 1965, Crump was acquitted of all counts. Despite being one of the bloodiest murders in history, the case remains unsolved to this day.
Personal History and Legacy
In 1935, Mary allegedly engaged William Attwood. She had a short relationship with painter Kenneth Noland after her divorce. She and Cord had three children: Quentin, Michael, and Mark. Michael died when he was nine years old after being struck by a car.
Meyer was played by Gretchen Mol in the film ‘An American Affair.’ (2009). Meyer was portrayed in the 2011 drama ‘The Kennedys’ by actor Nahanni Johnstone. Her tale was featured in the ‘Hardcover Mysteries’ episode of the ‘Investigation Discovery’ series. The podcasts ‘True Crime Garage’ and ‘Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories’ also chronicled her story.
Estimated Net Worth
Mary is one of the wealthiest and most renowned members of the family. Mary Pinchot Meyer has a net worth of $5 million, according to our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.