Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Birmingham Photo of the Day (47): Ladies of the Club

The photo below can be found in the digital collections of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The description there reads, "'Miss Bland Tomlinson, Miss Mary Munger and Mrs. Henry Howze at the Country Club.' From the rotogravure section of the Birmingham Age-Herald, Sunday, October 31, 1915."

From June 1942 until September 1945 Henry R. Howze served as Probate Judge of Jefferson County. He was also an early trustee of the Birmingham Historical Society. I did not find a Mary Munger in Birmingham in the 1910 U.S. Census, but I did find a Mary "Manger" who was 16 at the time. No one named Bland Tomlinson or anything similar turned up in the 1910 census.

A photo of the Country Club as it looked in 1915 can also be seen below. The history of the organization can be found at the BhamWiki site.

Rotogravure is a type of printing process developed in the late nineteenth century.
Reproduction of art and photographs benefited from this method. The Age-Herald apparently ran a Sunday feature of such reproductions.

You can read some history of women's golf attire here.


Monday, May 23, 2016

"The Climax" at the Tivoli Theater in Montgomery in 1930

I was looking for something else recently at the wonderful Alabama Mosaic site and stumbled across the advertisement below. The ad appeared on May 8, 1930, in the Alabama Journal and the Times, a newspaper published in Montgomery from 1927 until 1940.

The "all-talking" film being promoted in its last showings at the Tivoli Theater was The Climax. By the early 1930's sound films were very popular in the U.S. and around the world.

The movie was based on a comedy that first ran on Broadway in 1909 and had four revivals there by 1933. None of the film's cast appeared in any of those versions.

You can learn more about Jean Hersholt, Kathyrn Crawford and LeRoy Mason at their Wikpedia pages. I assume "Universal News" is the Universal Newsreels released to theaters between 1929 and 1967. I have no idea what "Screen Song" is, although like the newsreel it's probably a short film. Presumably the two prices listed are for the floor and cheaper balcony seats.

The only thing I could find about the theater is that the Tivoli Theatre, Inc., was registered as an Alabama Domestic Corporation on December 4, 1928.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pondering Alabama Maps (6): A 1913 Highway Proposal

The main map below was developed in 1913 by the National Highways Association, a private organization founded two years earlier by businessman Charles Henry Davis. The group's motto was "Good Roads Everywhere" and it supported a national road system developed and maintained by the federal government. This map illustrates the proposed 50,000 miles of roads. The partial map shows Alabama's share in better detail. 

The NHA's proposal was never adopted by Congress, but the idea of a national highway system lived on. A "Good Roads Movement" had actually begun in the 1870's, long before automobiles needed them. Bicyclists were behind that idea. 

You can read about the U.S.'s national highway system here and the country's numbered roads system here.    

National Highways System Proposed in 1913


Charles Henry Davis [1865-1951]

Monday, May 16, 2016

Alabama Natives on the Cover of TV Guide

I stumbled into the TV Guide magazine cover archive again recently and decided to look for some Alabama natives who have made one or more over the years. Here's what I found; comments are below the covers. Some of these individuals appeared on more covers than shown here.

TV Guide began national weekly publication in April 1953. I have limited these choices to people born in Alabama; I'm sure there are many with other Alabama connections. Maybe I'll do a post on some of them in the future. I've probably missed some Alabama natives, too. 

December 7, 1957

Well, a photo of actress Tallulah Bankhead didn't make this cover, but her name did! By this time Tallulah was famous for her stage, film and radio appearances.

September 25, 1976

Kate Jackson was born in Birmingham, but attended school in Mountain Brook. She started college at the University of Mississippi, and left before graduating to study acting in New York City. She has had a long career, especially in television. After a supporting role on The Rookies, she starred in two very successful programs, Charlie's Angels and Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

February 11, 1984
By 1988 Jackson had appeared on at least four more covers of TV Guide.

November 18, 1989

Courtney Cox is another Mountain Brook girl who grew up to become a well-known actress, especially for the television series Friends. She has appeared in numerous other TV programs and theatrical films.


June 8, 2002

July 25, 1970

Hiding behind the kid on the left and the piece of watermelon is George Lindsey, who played "Goober" Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show and its followup, Mayberry R.F.D. His character was a cousin of Gomer Pyle, played by another Alabama native Jim Nabors. For the record, we have a cat named Goober. 

March 21, 1964

Jim Nabors was born in Sylacauga in 1930. A few years after graduation from the University of Alabama, Nabors ended up performing an act in Los Angeles in which he could use his talents for both comedy and singing. He was soon discovered by Andy Griffith and made an appearance on the Andy Griffith Show as the character of Gomer Pyle. Intended very as a one-shot, the character turned out to be popular and became a regular. Nabors eventually moved the character to another very successful show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. 

November 21, 1964

September 20, 1969

Nabors' long career in entertainment has included television, films, touring stage productions, nightclub shows and the release of 28 albums featuring his rich baritone. Nabors has appeared on the cover of TV Guide at least eight times.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Birmingham Photo of the Day (46): Robert H. Henley, First Mayor

The rather dapper looking gentleman in the photograph below is identified here as "John Henley--First Mayor of Birmingham." However, BhamWiki and the Encyclopedia of Alabama identify the first mayor as Robert H. Henley and include the photo below. Appointed by Governor Robert Lindsay in 1871, lawyer and journalist Henley contracted tuberculosis in early 1872 and died in April 1873 at the age of 30. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. James Powell became the city's first elected Mayor in 1873. 

John Henley was a merchant and banker and considered one of Birmingham's founding fathers. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Birmingham Photo of the Day (45): The City's First House

This photo appears in the Samford University Library digital archives. The site has the following information:

"First House Built in Birmingham, AL, 1869. Located on First Ave. North, just east of the Southeast Corner (site of the Steiner Building). It was first used as a tool supply house--then for a blacksmith shop. This photo shows the building enclosed by a fence. There is another, which shows it without the fence."
-William H. Brantley

I wonder if anyone actually lived in this "house". 

William H. Brantley, Jr. [1896-1964] was a lawyer and historian. He published a classic book of state history, Three Capitals: A Book about the First Three Capitals of Alabama. In 1946 he became one of the founding members of the Alabama Historical Association. The Beeson Law Library at Samford houses a collection of his manuscripts, photographs and other materials.