Elizabeth Eaton Converse, better known as Connie Converse, disappeared in 1974 after telling friends and family that she wanted to start a new life. She left her family home to set out on her new adventure… and was never seen or heard from again.
During the 1950s, Connie was living in New York City and working at the Academy Photo Offset printing house as she pursued her musical career. She would write and perform her songs in front of friends as she smoked and drank alongside them. Her parents refused to hear her perform and did not support the path she was on.
After only one public appearance (on the CBS Morning Show with Walter Cronkite), Connie got frustrated with the music business and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to work at the University of Michigan, where her brother Philip was a professor.
After spending some time as a secretary, she would eventually become the Managing Editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution in the early 1960s. Because of the demands of this position, she didn’t have the time, energy, or drive to continue writing her own songs.
By the early 1970s, Converse was depressed and severely burnt out with life in general. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, a job that she really enjoyed, moved to Yale University without her knowledge. She was devastated. Her close friends and mother tried to cheer her up by offering to take her on trips to England or Alaska, but to no avail.
In August 1974, Converse packed up her things, hopped into her Volkswagen Beetle, and drove off. She included the following words in letters she sent to her friends and family before she disappeared:
“Let me go. Let me be if I can. Let me not be if I can’t. Human society fascinates me & awes me & fills me with grief & joy; I just can’t find my place to plug into it.”
Connie has yet to be seen, nor has her body been found in over 54 years.
Included in a letter to her brother Phillip was a check that she asked to be used to cover her health insurance until a specific date. Her brother suspects that his sister took her own life by driving her car into a body of water. Her request to end her health care insurance at a specific date may have been associated with her premeditated suicide.
Several years later, someone had told Philip that they had noticed a listing in the phone book for the name “Elizabeth Converse” in either Kansas or Oklahoma, but he never investigated further.
Approximately ten years later, her family hired a private investigator in hopes that even a small bit of information could be uncovered about Connie’s disappearance. Unfortunately, nothing ever materialized, and the family has abandoned all efforts.
Converse didn’t receive much recognition during her 12-year musical career. However, in 2004, her music was featured on a radio program and was later released on the album How Sad, How Lovely in March 2009. She is known as one of the first artists in the singer-songwriter genre.