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Dorothy Arnold

A Manhattan socialite vanishes over 100 years ago

  • Last updated: April 20, 2023
  • New York, NY
  • December 12, 1910

Overview of Dorothy Arnold

Dorothy Arnold is the oldest missing persons' case in New York City.

Dorothy was the second of four children in the Arnold family, a well-to-do family known for their business in fine goods imports, namely perfume. She loved reading, parties, her friends, and shopping for new clothes and jewelry from the early 19th century. Dorothy was freshly graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she studied literature and language, and subsequently moved home to New York to pursue a writing career. Her attempts at obtaining publication were faltering, as she had been rejected by local magazines before her disappearance. Her atypical career choice of the time was a source of amusement for her friends and family; they often teased her for her failed pursuits. As a result, she kept a private, secret mailbox where she would receive correspondence from magazines and publishing houses without fear of ridicule.

There are multiple avenues this investigation has taken over 100 years.

They all include Dorothy's lack of success as a commercial writer, her failed relationship with a man named Junior, and the idea that she may have slipped on ice in the park and drowned in a reservoir.

Dorothy was a freshly graduated writing student from Bryn Mawr College, and her attempts at getting her works published proved unfruitful. She had been receiving multiple rejection letters from popular publications, some of which were found burned in her fireplace.

Her secret boyfriend, Junior, was also the main focus of attention during the investigation. Junior was a few years her senior and was disliked by the Arnold family. In fact, the family forbade the pair from dating after finding out that the two had met secretly at his family's home months prior to her disappearance. Junior was in Italy when Dorothy disappeared, ruling him out as an immediate suspect.

As news of Dorothy's disappearance became public, hoaxes and fake correspondence was being sent to the family and Junior. Postcards from "Dorothy", ransom notes, and fake sightings of Dorothy in Los Angeles came rolling in. When investigated, none of these notes or sightings were ever corroborated. The NYPD also drained the reservoirs in Central Park to follow up on the theory that she slipped on ice while walking and drowned.

Years after her disappearance, two more interesting claims surrounding her whereabouts surfaced. An illegal abortion center in Pittsburgh claimed that Dorothy had died there after getting an abortion and dying in the process; her body was then cremated to cover up the evidence. Another man named Edward Glennoris claimed that a man matching Junior's description gave him money to help transport Dorothy's dead body across state lines and bury her.

To this day, there is no resolution surrounding Dorothy's disappearance, and no further information has surfaced for over a century. There is no current investigating agency looking into her case.

Her family tried to avoid going public with details of her disappearance in an attempt to avoid a high-society publicity disaster, which may have sullied her chances of being found safely. Her mother, father, and relatives passed a few years after her disappearance; most of them believed she had also passed not soon after she was reported missing.


  1. Date Missing:December 12, 1910
  2. Birthday:July 1, 1885
  3. Current Age:138
  4. Age at Incident:25
  5. Race:Caucasian / White
  6. Gender:Female
  7. Height:5'0" - 5'4"
  8. Weight:140-160 lbs
  9. Hair Color: Dark brown worn in a Pompadour

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