Stanford White was an American architect. He was also a partner in the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, one of the most significant Beaux-Arts firms. He designed many houses for the rich, in addition to numerous civic, institutional, and religious buildings. His temporary Washington Square Arch was so popular that he was commissioned to design a permanent one. His design principles embodied the "American Renaissance".
In 1906, White was shot and killed at the Madison Square Theatre by Harry Kendall Thaw, in front of a large audience. Thaw was a millionaire who had become obsessed by White's rape and relationship with his wife Evelyn Nesbit, which started when she was 16, four years before their marriage. She had married Thaw in 1905 and was working as an actress. Thaw was considered mentally unstable at the time of the shooting. With its elements of murder among the wealthy and a sex scandal, the resulting sensational trial of Thaw was dubbed "The Trial of the Century" by contemporary reporters.