The Social Sixteen

I never realized how sociable my mother and other family members of her generation were until I started reading the social items in The Detroit Tribune. I first found this photograph in the family photographs of my mother, (center back row), her sister Mary Vee (seated on the floor), and my father’s sister Barbara seated on the couch to the far right. I also recognized my uncle Bud (Frank Elkins) who later married Mary Vee and a few family friends. I wondered what sociable things they did and when I found the following items in the Tribune, I found out.

No wonder my mother worried that I wasn’t social enough.

"The Social Sixteen"
The Social Sixteen – 1937 – from my family photos.
The Social Sixteen 1937. Howard Tandy, Phyllis Lawson, Shirley Turner, John Roxbourough, Doris Graham, Bob Johnson, Christine Smoot, Bud Elkins, Gladys House, Lewis Graham, Connie Stowers, Burney Watkins, Jean Johnson, Barbara Cleage, Jack Franklin, Mary V . Graham
The Detroit Tribune, January 8, 1938

“The Social Sixteen Club met at the residence of Gladys and Walter House, Monday, Dec. 27. Plans were completed for the club’s New Yea’s Eve swing, which was held on December 31. Following the completion of these plans, members turned their attention to the refreshments and dancing, both of which were enjoyed. Later in the evening, the crowd went out to Bob Johnson’s home on Montclair, where they had a grand time. These young folk included Jean Johnson Howard Tandy, Shirley Turner, Lewis Graham, Bob Douglas, Bud Elkins, Connie Stowers, Jack Franklin, Jack Barthwell, Vee Graham.”

From The Detroit Tribune, March 12, 1938

“Members of the Social Sixteen Club feel that they will have pleasant sailing, under the pilotship of their winsome new president Doris Graham, talented daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Graham of Theodore avenue. Miss Graham is very popular among the “teen-age” set and is an honor student at Eastern High School.”

The Detroit Tribune, March 12, 1938

“The Social Sixteen Club held its latest meeting at the home of Mrs. Christine Smoot. After the completion of business, a repast was served by the hostess. The next meeting will be held at the residence of Miss Barbara Cleage, on Scotten avenue. At this meeting, they will render a program as follows; vocal solo, Christine Smoot; tap dance, Shirley Turner and Connie Stowers. The newly-elected officers of the club are; Doris Graham, president; Howard Tandy, vice president and corresponding secretary; Bob Johnson, secretary-treasurer.”

8 thoughts on “The Social Sixteen

  1. Yes – I think people definitely did socialise much more but did so consciously and thus had more of a chance of having a “grand time” if they actually planned it

    1. I think you’re right. At least they socialized more than I did. I don’t think most of my grandchildren are part of groups who plan and give so many dances, parties and social events, even casual ones seemed to often include quite a few people.

  2. What fun, and any club at all, or group of people doing something together (picnic, dinner parties, rituals of life changes) were published in the “society section” of the paper! I need to pay more attention to notices that may be in newspapers about my own family members. We today have fun, but are just more spontaneous…except my Facebook family which posts pictures where they go for entertainment or to eat! (I don’t!)

  3. Along with your family, a number of notable historic families were represented here, the Tandys, the Stowers, the Smoots, the Elkins and the Barthwells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.