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Gay, Getty (1840?-1860)

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Actor, Journalist

Getty Gay, born Gertrude Louise Vultee, was an actress as well as a major contributor to the Saturday Press (Gunn 11.162, 14.16-7). Although not much is known about her artistic career, the obituary of Henry Clapp calls Gay "a talented bit of womanhood" (7). A. L. Rawson connects Gay to the scene at Pfaff’s through Ada Clare and Charles Gayler: “Ada [Clare] was never without a woman companion, and one of them was Getty Gay, who was pretty, bright and witty. Her lithe and petite figure and sweetly sad face were ever welcome among the Pfaffians” (103).

While Rawson goes on to assert that Gay “became the wife of Charles Gaylor,” the diaries of Thomas Butler Gunn clarifies that she was Gayler’s mistress and that the two lived together. Gunn writes that Gayler “was not constant to his mistress nor – in all probability – is she faithful to him (10.35). Writing disparagingly of Gay as one of several “Unfortunate Literary Females,” Gunn also accuses Gay of “add[ing] direct prostitution to her ‘literary’ pursuits” (11.161) and suggests that she was romantically involved with Cahill, Wilkins, and possibly Ada Clare. However, Gunn admits that he never met Gay. Gay was married to a Mr. Wilmshurst, both of whom lived with Clare at one point, and died around the age of twenty of consumption (Gunn 14.16-17).