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, September 17, 2016

Shirlie Childhood Photos



Shirlie's friend Kirk once said ... and I am in firm agreement ... tha "the only thing Shirlie liked better than taking photos was having her photo taken!" So true. Even as a child, Shirlie liked to be in front of the camera. I put together a series of snapshots of young Shirlie from age one or so (1919) to age twelve (1931). See what you think.

These not only show Shirlie growing up, but give a glimpse into living in San Jose as a middle class family in the 1920s.

Kinda looks like the other famous "Shirley"

Miss Toddler Shirlie

Great hair Shirlie!

She loved to pose for the camera

Shirlie told me that the only place she loved as much as San Francisco was the beach at Santa Cruz ... she started early

Posing with a hoop

Shirlie absolutely LOVED her Teddy Bear ... She kept it all her life and it now resides with her collection at History San Jose

In her white bloomers

Back at the beach

Studio photo of Shirlie with a toy rabbit

Must have been the same day
Shirlie with her new friend

The spaniel has grown up ... Shirlie just a little bit

Shirlie in her "all together" ... hand-colored by Shirlie later

Shirlie being coy

Ahhh ... the actress in Shirlie is showing!

Blossom Festival in 1929

Shirlie (in the middle right) and friends

School play ... Shirlie on right

Shirlie loved the sailors in the 1940s ... looks like she liked the "look" c1930

Shirlie nearly a teenager at twelve in 1931
All photos are from our Private Collection

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