Debutante Distractions in 1933

In light of all the current crises affecting Americans, who would believe that during the fall and winter season the tradition of holding debutante balls still continues in major cities?  Yet look how many of us loved immersing in the pageantry of Downton Abbey. The practice of presenting marriageable daughters to eligible young men from…

An Artist or Writer or Both?

For decades Cooper Union had been directed by a Ladies Advisory Council, “whose members drove to the monthly meetings in early American Pierce-Arrows.”* In 1931, these prominent matrons decided to modernize the school. They found a new director, Austin Purves, Jr., who convinced the ladies of the value of coeducation – eventually 40% of the…

A New World at The Cooper Union

Whatever happened to the Nightingale-Bamford Class of 1932?  Jane and one of her classmates described what they’d been up to for the  school’s 1933 Year Book: Five of the sixteen girls entered women’s colleges: two were at Vassar, two at Sweet Briar and one at Sarah Lawrence. Two others were on a European trip with one of their…

“In Righte Gude Fellowshipe . . .”

The Hickses were thrilled that Dick Wick Hall, Jr., would attend Randolph’s alma mater, The University of Virginia. Once he was settled in Charlottesville, Jane and her aunt and uncle returned to New York and moved to a new apartment at 1100 Park Avenue near Jane’s new school. At the beginning of October, Jane put on…

“With you, my heart and soul have flown . . .”

“An American Paper for the American People – The Great Newspaper of the Great Southwest—The Paper for People Who Think.” The Los Angeles Examiner was bold in its claims and, on February 18, 1930, for the Hall family, it was  also the paper to read. On the front page of Section Two a short article proclaimed:…

Finding Jane Hall in Manhattan Beach, California

  One soggy March Sunday a few years ago, my daughter, Carlyn Maw, and I headed to Manhattan Beach where Jane and her small family lived between 1927 and 1930. First stop, the small cottage in Polliwog Park that is home to the Manhattan Beach Historical Society. Steve Meisenholder, the society’s former president, has spent most of his…

“Take It on the Chin”

“Mother decided to drive it right home from the store,” Jane recalled in August 1928 when Daysie Hall bought the boxy Six -Cylinder Special. They named the Studebaker “Teresa,” but before Dickie had even seen it, they had an accident on the less-than-perfect roads. Autos still had no turn signals or rearview mirrors, driver’s licenses did not require a road test, and danger…

Where Is Dick Wick Hall Now?

On October 4, once again, the town of Salome, Arizona, and the surrounding community will celebrate Dick Wick Hall Days. I’ve been fortunate to participate in these festivities with each of my daughters. My grandfather’s most visible legacy still lies in Salome (where he’s pictured here), and in the other towns of the McMullen Valley among…

“Writer’s Career Shines Bright”

Redondo Union High School 1928 They seemed an unlikely pair as they climbed the wide steps to Redondo Union High School at the beginning of September 1928.  Dick Wick Hall, Jr., a thin, lanky 16-year-old with dark brown curly hair towered over his sturdy younger sister.  “Little Jane” was both eager and apprehensive as they passed through…

“Do Your Best” – Calamity as Inspiration

It was summer 1928 in Manhattan Beach. Thirteen-year-old Jane had just graduated from the eighth grade and remained focused on her goals. She defined herself as a writer. Her work provided a defense against the unbearable loss of a father who was also her mentor. Her stories and fairy tales about animals or other children often have…