Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ralph Barton's Last Words

I was going to post a “Quote of the Day” when I stumbled onto this quote. I saved it and went on to other quotes, but it kept coming back to me. So I thought I’d share this with you. First a little background:

Ralph Barton (born August 14, 1891, Kansas City, Missouri, died May 19, 1931, New York City, New York was an American artist best known for his cartoons and caricatures of actors and other celebrities. Though his work was heavily in demand through the 1920s and is often considered to epitomize the era, his personal life was troubled by mental illness, manic-depressive disorder and he was nearly forgotten soon after his suicide, shortly before his fortieth birthday.

 This is his suicide note:


“Everyone who has known me and who hears of this will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it. Practically all of these hypothesis will be dramatic--and completely wrong. Any sane doctor knows that the reasons for suicide are invariably psychopathological. Difficulties in life merely precipitate the event--and the true suicide type manufactures his own difficulties. I have had few real difficulties. I have had, on the contrary, and exceptionally glamorous life--as lives go. And I have had more than my share of affection and appreciation. The most charming, intelligent, and important people I have known have liked me--and the list of my enemies is very flattering to me. I have always had excellent health. But, since my childhood, I have suffered with a melancholia which, in the past 5 years, has begun to show definite symptoms of manic-depressive insanity. It has prevented my getting anything like the full value out of my talents, and, for the past three years, has made work a torture to do at all. It has made it impossible for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that seem to get other people through. I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from myself. In doing so, I am very much afraid that I have spread a good deal of unhappiness among the people who have loved me.”

Ralph Barton’s suicide note (American artist)

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