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

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Shirlie in Santa Cruz 1939

Shirlie loved Santa Cruz ... loved the beach, loved the "hunks" and loved getting her picture taken in a bathing suit. These photos (pictures, she liked to call them) are from a 1939 album of Shirlie's. It starts at the 1939 World's Fair on Treasure Island and goes on to a lot of fun things she did that year. I focused here on Santa Cruz.

One thing I learned from seeing Shirlie's albums was that she was not just a photographer, but an artist! Take a look at some of her illustrations and graphic layout in these pages. Pretty neat!









Great sources for old photographs and historical information about Santa Clara Valley are the websites The Valley of Heart's Delight and The Society of California Pioneers of Santa Clara County.

I found this great video titled Trips to Santa Cruz, 1937 and 1938 on the Pioneer website. 
Submitted by Bob Bortfeld

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