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Property Rites – The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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Property Rites: The Rhinelander Trial, Passing, and the Protection of Whiteness

Elizabeth M. Smith-Pryor


In 1925 Leonard Rhinelander, the youngest son of a wealthy New York society family, sued to end his marriage to Alice Jones, a former domestic servant and the daughter of a “colored” cabman. After being married only one month, Rhinelander pressed for the dissolution of his marriage on the grounds that his wife had lied to him about her racial background. The subsequent marital annulment trial became a massive public spectacle, not only in New York but across the nation—despite the fact that the state had never outlawed interracial marriage. This book makes extensive use of trial transcripts, i ... More

Keywords: Leonard Rhinelander, Alice Jones, domestic servant, marriage, racial background, annulment, New York

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780807832684
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807894170_smith-pryor


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elizabeth M. Smith-Pryor, author