Top of page

Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Joseph Papin. Jean Harris Breaks Down on Stand, February 6, 1981. Porous point pen and colored pencil on gray paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (103.00.00)
Gift of Jane Papin

Jilted Lover Jean Harris

On March 10, 1980, in Purchase, New York, police received a call that Dr. Herman Tarnhower, a renowned cardiologist and author of the celebrated The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet, had been shot. They arrived just as Jean Harris, headmistress of the exclusive Madeira School in Virginia, tried to drive away. On February 6, 1981, several days after her defense attorney, Joel Aurnou, had called her to the stand, she broke down under the cross-examination of prosecutor George Bolen. Rejecting her story that she had intended to commit suicide when she accidently shot her lover, the jury found her guilty of murder on February 24, 1981. She served twelve years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, N.Y.