Shirlie Alice Montgomery • June 9, 1918 – Nov 5, 2012

Shirlie always had her camera handy.
Shirlie Alice Montgomery was born on Chapman Street in San Jose on June 9, 1918. She was an only child. To her friends and neighbors she was a treasure trove of history. Shirlie remembered it all. She remembered the Great Depression as a child, the Second World War as a young woman, and eventually the transformation of the Santa Clara Valley from a moderately sized agricultural town to the hustle and bustle of modern Silicon Valley. The majority of her memories were supported by the thousands of photographs in her collection.
Young Shirlie Montgomery

Shirlie a few years ago from an article in the Rose Garden Resident.

She was the grandniece of San Jose’s forefather T.S. Montgomery. Shirlie lived a colorful life but professionally she photographed it with a 4X5 Speed Graphic in B&W. She was a celebrated photographer that shot Hollywood stars, U.S. Presidents and pro wrestlers. Although Shirlie did work for the S. F. Examiner and the San Jose Mercury her works remain some of the best representations of pro wrestling from the 40’s thru the 60’s. When asked about her penchant for shooting professional wrestlers she would answer “I always liked the big boys”. Such stories Shirlie had! She passed away quietly on November 5, 2012. She will never be forgotten. God rest her soul.

Obituary written by Shirlie's good friend and neighbor Joe Holt

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dough Girls at the Germania Masquerade Ball 1938

Shirlie Montgomery and Harriette Moulton (Saunders) were bosom buddies from an early age. We see her in so many of Shirlie's early photo albums ... on the beach, with the boys, at the dance. This party was the second annual Germania Masquerade Ball held at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. It was Feb 6th, 1938, and the girls were both 19 years old. Shirlie and Harriette dressed up as the Dough Girls! Even these "crazy" dough girls disguises could not hide the attractiveness of this duo.

(L) Harriette • (C) Gov. Merriam • (R) Shirlie


The Mercury Herald referred to them as the "Beauty and the Beast." The "Beast" was then Governor of California, Frank Merriam! Pretty good company, I would say, as he was the guest of honor at the ball. Shirlie remembered the party well. She told me that they really had a good time that night.

She wrote about it in her diary:

Dear Diary --
The week has been full of thrilling things, and here I am just writing about them now! … Saturday was the big German Brawl – whoops – I mean Ball. Some fun! Larry Stringari was there, also hundreds of others. I had so much fun! 

This photograph is from the Mercury Herald archives. Shirlie rescued it from the "morgue" when she was first working there, along with a bunch of other photos of Santa Clara University and San Jose State College sports and entertainment events. Those photos are now in the SCU archives.
 
Submitted by Bob Bortfeld

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