G – Glimpses in Detroit’s Mirror!

This is my tenth A to Z Challenge. My first was in 2013, but I missed 2021. This April I am going through the alphabet using snippets about my family through the generations. On Saturdays I’ve combined my usual Sepia Saturday post with the letter of the day. A double challenge.

Several years ago I shared the photograph below from my grandmother’s scrapbook of my mother dancing at a formal dance. The other day I decided to see if I could find any more information in the newspapers. I was overjoyed to find two articles in two different Detroit papers with photos and mentions of my mother. Both were African American newspapers. The Tribune was published by my maternal grandmother’s first cousin, James McCall.

From my grandmother Fannie’s scrape book. An article from The Tribune March 18, 1939

I am sharing the photo from the Michigan Chronicle and the original photograph from my grandmother’s album and the article from the Detroit Tribune, because it mentions what my mother was wearing.

In March 1939, my mother was 16 and a senior at Eastern High School. She graduated in January 1940, and entered Wayne State University.

The Michigan Chronicle, March 18 1939. My mother is in the center of the circle looking up at us.

Glimpses… In Detroit’s Mirror

By Sylvia Penn

The Detroit Tribune, March 18, 1939, page 4

Hello , Folk! The hour for twisting and turning our “little ole” mirror for you to catch reflections of the doings of Detroit, is at hand again. We have always heard that the weather is a safe topic of conversations at any time; so right here for a second or two, we shall discuss the weather Sunday and Monday of this week, we were tempted to think of Detroit as the “Crystal City,” instead of the Motor City for the handiwork of nature stretched before our gaze a picture of dazzling beauty with trees, houses and streets encased in ice. The sparkling beauty of it all equaled the splendor of the jewels in the King’s Crown. It was a magnificent sight, but it is all gone now, except the memory of it and in it’s stead we have warm sunlight, which reminds us that spring is just around the corner.

Yes, Folk, but there have been other scenes of beauty in Detroit other than that afforded by Dame Nature. Such was the Chesterfields ball at Wayne university last Saturday evening. The affair was as colorful as a rainbow and was distinctly an occasion for dress. The frilly crisp gowns worn by the young ladies were as beautiful and picturesque as springtime. The gowns were rampant in color, ranging from polka-dots to mulberry taffetas, sky blue satins and black and gold nets. Then there were the many lovely corsages, also orchids for two of the Chesterfieldians chose and pinned gorgeous orchids on the gowns of their company. The members of the club identified themselves by wearing green and gold ribbons in their lapel, these being Wayne’s colors. They further used the same color scheme in the. ceiling decorations. Of course, there were multi-colored balloons and a profusion of confetti. The swingy, swingy music brought forth the usual group of jitterbugs doing their number on the sideline with maybe one or two doing the “Boogey.” The Chesterfieldiana and their invited girl friends were: Bobby Douglas and Doris Graham, Doris looking very sharp in peach chiffon and corsage of sweet peas and roses, Howard Tandy and Martha Bradby, Martha very cute in black and white net, Jack Barthwell and Marjorie Cook, Marjorie being quite smart in black chiffon; Leven Weiss and Helen Nuttall, Helen very sophisticated in black taffeta striped with gold; Theodore Washington and Margaret Book, Billy Allen and Alice Tandy. Alice very ravishing in red and wearing orchids too; Tony Martin and Lorraine Porter. Louis Bray and Shirley Turner, Shirley lookin lovely in white crepe; Conklin Bray and Harriet Pate. Harriet quite charming in blue and white. Demar Solmon and Lillian Brown; John Roxvourgh and Mary L. Singleton; Robert Johnson and Veralee Fisher, Vera very stunning in her new gown of aqua-blue chiffon, embroidered with silver; Charles Diggs Jr. and Christine Smoot. …

Today I did two “G” posts, unawares. The other is G-Gardening.

Click to see other Sepia Saturday
#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter G

28 thoughts on “G – Glimpses in Detroit’s Mirror!

  1. I just uncovered my great grand uncle, Edwin Booth, on my tree (after you wanted me to let you know where he might be.) He was actually Lucinda’s nephew, brother to my great grandmother. So is my face red that I couldn’t locate him. I think the way the family tree page is set up I don’t always see all the children if there were two wives…or something like that. I am going to blame them, anyway.

  2. Both are neat photos, but the first one is really cute and probably shows a bit of Doris’s personality, I’ll bet? 🙂

    1. At least at that age! I liked the dancing one best too. I liked the other one mainly because I could recognize some of the people in it.

  3. This was the perfect post to read today. The descriptions of the dresses, the fabulous photos and the reminder that ‘spring is just around the corner’ — created a colourful and joyful feast.

    1. So do I. And this doesn’t apply to this event, but I also appreciate descriptions of the food when it’s mentioned, not just a delightful repast was served!

  4. What a beautiful event that must have been and the newspaper article was such a gem. I also liked your g post on gardening but I am consolidating my comments here.

  5. Two great photos to match our S.S. theme. I like how you’ve ‘fixed’ the first clipping. I can’t remember when our newspaper here in Asheville last printed photos of social events like this. News and photos of school parties, society balls, anniversaries, weddings, has disappeared completely from newspapers. It’s sad that family researchers in the next 100 years will be unable to find people like you’ve been able to do. Maybe they will have to search in social media web archives for that kind of history.

    1. People take so many photos now, including selfies so maybe they’ll find some. I don’t know but it’s a shame! I guess we’re lucky to be on the cusp of the change.

    1. Meanwhile outside was an ice storm, according to one article. I hope they had as much fun as they look like they’re having.

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