Shelved Dolls: Lillie Mae Faulk – The Real Holly Golightly

And, of course, all that was later. Long before any difficulties Joe and Lillie moved to a spacious apartment on Riverside Drive, and, after hosting a going away party for himself which was crashed by the Ku Klux Klan (they were upset at the presence of black guests at an 8 year old’s party), Truman joined them.

He was surprised to realize that his mother had changed her name from Lillie to “Nina”. Desperate to disguise her roots, she had, just like Holly, adopted a bizarre accent. Nina sent Truman to the prestigious Trinity high school, and then, worried that Truman’s effeminate eccentricities might damage her rise in society, sent him off to military school.

The military schooling didn’t take. Truman returned home much the same – Nina and Joe lived for a while in Connecticut before moving to 1060 Park Avenue – and Nina’s friend Eleanor Freide (they met at the races) remembered:

“Truman came through in some kind of outfit, very chic, all dressed up in kind of a strange tie and things, and Nina said, “Where are you going?” He said, “well, I’m only going over to Bennett Cerf’s for dinner.” She said, “Well, what about that gray suit we just bought at Brook’s Brothers, you go back in there and put on the gray suit.”… Anyway, he did traipse back into the room. He came back in the gray flannel suit, looking wonderful, but he had on patent pumps. She said, “oh, go ahead.” Afterward, Truman said, “oh, my crazy mother!”

Share This Post:
    • Amy

      Fascinating story! Thanks so much for sharing

    • Caitlin

      Yes, this is great! Super interesting. Excellent work and thanks for posting

    • Samantha

      I love this column so much.
      This might be my favorite yet – it almost brought me to tears.

    • Nancy

      What they said! Keep them coming!

    • Erin

      Thank you for the Shelved Dolls articles. They are lovely.

    • Jaclyn

      Very well done. These pieces are fantastic and each one is more fascinating than the last.

    • Lindsey

      You should put these into a book and sell people the book.

    • Cate

      I agree with the stuff everyone else is saying. I love this series.

      • Jennifer Wright

        AW YOU GUYS!

        I think next week might be Evelyn Nesbit. She is saucy. Also, I need to find someone whose life isn’t incredibly sad. Which is not Evelyn Nesbit. I mean, she’s pretty sad.

    • Robin

      You know, for the longest time, I sort of assumed that Truman Capote had intended Holly Golightly to be a female version of himself (given how others who knew him, such as Harper Lee, had seemed to describe him). I don’t really have time to read past the first page at the moment, but I look forward to reading the rest of your case soon!

    • diane kaston

      thank you thank you, this just blew me away, see you at tiffany’s

    • Kate

      Just had to jump on the “God-this-series-is-fantastic-please-never-stop-writing-it!!” bandwagon. Great writing, fascinating subjects… I’m always so excited to see a new Shelved Doll article. So, please, keep it up!

    • Rod

      “In 1931, when Truman was 8, Lillie married a successful South American businessman Joe Capote (Joe, not Jose, the successful South American Holly wanted to marry in Breakfast at Tiffany’s)”

      But Joe is short for Joseph, isn’t it? That is, José in Spanish (and Joe was Cuban).

    • An Okie

      Loved the piece. But I have one thing. It’s Okie, not Oakie. We’re not made of wood.

    • Luisa

      Wonderful piece! I did have an issue with one tiny bit-Cuba is NOT in South America.