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

Monday, December 7, 2015

Shirlie at San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition 1939-1940

Like virtually everyone in the Bay Area ... and across the nation ... Shirlie went up to San Francisco's Treasure Island for the Golden Gate Expo ... i.e., World's Fair. Treasure Island is a man-made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay next to Yerba Buena Island. It was specifically built for the expo of 1939 ... something that would not happen today.

Treasure Island included a landing area in Clipper Cove for the famous Pan Am Clipper ships ... large spectacular seaplanes that went from San Francisco to Hawaii and beyond in the late-1930s and into the mid-1940s. It was expected that Treasure Island would become an airport for San Francisco once the world's fair ended. BUT when WW2 started, the US Navy took over the island and did not give it back to the city until recently.

Back to the Golden Gate Expo. Shirlie went up to the fair several times ... with her parents and with friends. She left behind a fantastic album of photographs and comments, which is now in the History San Jose Shirlie Montgomery Collection. I just love the photos of Shirlie and best friend Harriette all dressed up wandering the exhibits and walkways of the expo. No shorts, T-shirts and backpacks. They were dressed to kill in dresses, hats and handbags ... and of course the coat or jacket needed to keep warm in the San Francisco summer!
Hariette (L) and Shirlie (R) at the World's Fair
Below are a selection of photos from Shirlie's album. Enjoy.

Rea & Mantie ... Shirlie's Parents

Shirlie ... Hat & Gloves

Shirlie Again

Statues Galore!

Trapeze Artists Way Up High!

View of Treasure Island and the Expo from the Bay

The above photos from Shirlie's album are from the Bob and Susan Bortfeld, Shirlie Montgomery Collection at History San Jose. Used with permission.

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