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Shaw’s dream of funding a Garden was threatened by a lawsuit for breach of promise.

Portrait of Effie Carstang from New York Illustrated News. April 5, 1860.

Sketch of the Breach of Promise Case, Carstang vs. Shaw, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1860. Published in Harper's Weekly, March 31, 1860.

In 1858, Shaw made headlines when Effie Carstang sued him for breach of promise. The young St. Louis woman claimed that Shaw had promised to marry her and then backed out, the basis of her claim focused on a gift of a piano which Shaw requested that she return. The trial made headlines not only in St. Louis but also around the country. Initially, Carstang won a judgment of $100,000, but Shaw later won on appeal in 1860. The amount of the award may have impacted Shaw's plans for the Garden had he lost.


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