Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Women

Merry Christmas from the Priscilla Art Club — 1968

xmas_priscilla-art-club_123168_uta“Say ‘fondue’!” … (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

These women look like they’ve stepped out of a catalog — perfectly dressed, perfectly coiffed, perfectly posed. They are members of the Priscilla Art Club, the oldest African-American women’s club in Dallas. The club was formed in 1911, and I think it may still be active — the most recent news I could find of the club was from 2012, when the “centennial legacy quilt,” made by members to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary, was displayed at the African American Museum. Below, a little history of the club from the press release announcing the exhibit in February, 2012.


In honor of Black History Month, the Priscilla Art Club, the oldest African American women’s organization in Dallas County, will host a display of its centennial legacy quilt made by its members […] at the African American Museum of Life and Culture, Dallas Fair Park.

“The idea of a custom designed legacy quilt started out as a novel idea from our Systems Committee in recognition of our 100th anniversary. The twenty-two club members quickly became engaged in seeing it to fruition and we are happy to honor the beauty, the inspiration and the legacy of our Club” said Shirley Porter Ware, Club President.

The Priscilla Art Club, organized in 1911 as a club for young matrons, was organized under the encouragement and direction of Mrs. Mattie Mansfield Chalmers. The organization’s purposes were to establish and maintain the aesthetic, promote congenial companionship and foster all social and community interests that pertain to the general uplift. The Club was named for Priscilla, a New Testament woman of extraordinary culture and the wife of Aquila, a Jewish tentmaker.

Since its auspicious beginning, the Club has invited into its membership many of Dallas’ most distinguished homemakers. These members have exhibited an interest or are talented in arts and crafts.

Besides being homemakers and mothers, the members have been and some still are principals, school administrators, teachers, business owners, social workers, church leaders and servant volunteers in the local community.

Throughout the century of service and sisterhood, recorded in The Priscilla’s prolific history include mention of service rendered in support of the World War I efforts by rolling bandages that were sent overseas to the field hospitals in France. For several years, the Priscillas decorated the shotgun house, located in Old City Park, in observance of the holiday season. In more recent years, the members have decorated t-shirts and jackets made from sweat shirts to give to men and women in local assisted living facilities. Club members have made crocheted skull caps in a variety of vivid colors and patterns and donated to cancer patients actively engaged in treatment regimens.

Regardless of change, the Priscilla Art Club’s concern for its artistic endeavors and for civic and social uplift will continue with deepening interest and commitment as the tradition of the founders’ legacy is carried forward.

I hope the club is still around. This year marks its 105th anniversary.


Sources & Notes

Photo was taken on December 31, 1968; from the Culmer Family Papers, UTA Libraries, Special Collections, accessible here.

The 2012 press release was posted on the Facebook page of the Dallas Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists, here.

More on the history of the club can be found in the Dallas Morning News article “Reception to Honor Art Club’s 65th Year” by Julia Scott Reed (DMN, April 2, 1976).

The most in-depth history of the club that I could find online can be found in the guide to the Culmer Family Papers at UTA, here (scroll down to the paragraph that begins “The Priscilla Art Club was one of the most prestigious, if not elitist clubs for African American women in Dallas….”

Photo and newspaper article are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Voting Day

voting-instructions-for-youth_marion-butts_dpl_1965Lever-pulling behind the curtain, 1965 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s here, y’all. Get out and get it done.




Sources & Notes

Top photo from 1965 by Marion Butts, from the Dallas Public Library’s Marion Butts Collection: “Young woman demonstrates the use of a voting machine” — more here (you may have to be logged into to your Dallas Public Library account to reach this page).

Second photo is undated and has no photographer info: “Early voter, Mrs. Gene Savage, looking at long Democratic party ballot,” from UTA Libraries, Special Collections — more info here.

Third photo is from 1972: “Students voting in Fall Elections, University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), 1972,” from UTA Libraries, Special Collections — more info here.

More on Dallas elections can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “How Dallas Used to Get Election Returns,” here.

Click photos to see larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Lady Godiva and the “Flesh Shows” of the Texas Centennial — 1936

tx-centennial_streets-of-paris_ticket_cook-coll_smuGeorge W. Cook Collection/SMU

by Paula Bosse

When one thinks of the Texas Centennial Exposition, the splashy 6-month extravaganza held at Fair Park to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Texas independence, one might not immediately think of the three things associated with the big show that were making headlines around the country (and were undoubtedly responsible for healthy ticket sales): according to Variety, the Centennial had “all the gambling, wining and girling the visitor wants” (June 10, 1936).

The Dallas exposition (and the coattail-riding Frontier Exposition, which was held at the same time in Fort Worth) was “wide open” in 1936: there was gambling, liquor, and nudity everywhere. The Texas Rangers cracked down on some of the gaming in the early days, but alcohol and girlie shows continued throughout the expo’s run.

As far as the nudity, it really was everywhere. It’s a little shocking to think that this sort of thing was so widely accepted in very conservative Dallas — 80 years ago! — but it was (despite some local pastors disdainfully referring to the big party as the Texas Sintennial). Many of the acts — and much of the personnel — had appeared in a version of the same revue in Chicago in 1933 and 1934. Some of the offerings for the Centennial visitor: peep shows a-plenty, the clad-only-in-body-paint “Diving Venus” named Mona Lleslie (not a typo), a naked “apple dancer” named Mlle. Corinne who twirled with a “basketball-sized ‘apple'” held in front of her frontal nether regions, and the somewhat obligatory nude chorus girls. There was also an “exhibit” in which nude women were on display as “artists’ models,” posing for crowds of what one can only assume were life-drawing aficionados who were encouraged to render the scene before them artistically (…had they planned ahead and brought a pencil and sketchpad); those who lacked artistic skill and/or temperament were welcome to just stand there and gawk. (Click photos and ads to see larger images.)



tx-centennial_apple-dancer_franklin-ind-evening-star_071136Franklin, Indiana Evening Star, July 11, 1936

Another attraction was Lady Godiva, who, naked, rode a horse through the Streets of Paris crowds. Her bare-breastedness even made it into ads appearing in the pages of staid Texas newspapers. (Click to see larger images.)

June, 1936

There were two areas along the Midway where crowds could find these saucy attraction: Streets of Paris (which Time magazine described as appealing to “lovers of the nude”) and Streets of All Nations (“for lovers of the semi-nude”). Lady Godiva was part of the Streets of Paris, and she rode, Godiva-esque, nightly. The gimmick (beyond the gimmick of a naked woman riding a horse in Fair Park) was that she was supposed to  be a Dallas debutante who rode masked in order to conceal her identity. The text below is from the ad above.

MASKED…but unclothed in all her Glory…Riding a milk-white steed. […] Miss Debutante was introduced to Dallas society in 1930. She was later starred in Ziegfeld’s Follies, in “False Dreams, Farewell,” “Furnished Rooms,” and other Broadway successes. She appeared in motion pictures, being starred in “Gold Diggers of 1935,” “Redheads on Parade” (yes, she is a redhead) and other picture successes.


And, of course, none of that was true (including the fact that this “Lady Godiva” rode a white horse — apparently one could not always be found), but I’m sure it got local pulses racing. My guess is that there were several Ladies Godiva (none of whom were members of Dallas society). One woman was actually named as the Centennial’s exhibitionist horsewoman. I haven’t been able to find mention of a “Paulette Renet” anywhere other than the caption of this photo, but here she is:


Madera (California) Tribune, Aug. 29, 1936

Another photo featuring what appears to be the same woman, with this caption: “No white horse for Lady Godiva, at the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. A feature of the ‘Streets of Paris,’ a midway show, Godiva rode a ‘paint pony,’ first week because no white one was available.”

Altoona (Pennsylvania) Tribune, June 23, 1936

I think this is still the same woman, but on a rare white steed:


The Godiva who appeared in the March of Times newsreel “Battle of a Centennial” appears to be a different woman. (Watch a 45-second snippet of the newsreel which features both a glimpse of Lady Godiva and a head-shaking son of Sam Houston wondering what the deal is with the younger generation — here.)


Imagine seeing performers and attractions like this along the Fair Park midway today!


godiva_dmn_070536-detJuly, 1936 (ad detail)

June, 1936 (ad detail)

What was the Centennial Club? It was an exclusive, invitation-only private club located within the very large George Dahl-designed building which housed the Streets of Paris (and which was shaped like the famed S. S. Normandie ocean liner). It had three levels (“decks”) and housed a lounge, dining rooms, a main clubroom, and a “dance pavilion” — all air conditioned. From various decks, well-heeled patrons could look down at the action going on below: the milling throngs of the hoi polloi, the Streets of Paris shows, and the Midway.

June, 1936




Can’t miss the ridiculously large land-locked ocean liner in the center of the photo below. Mais oui!



The articles below on “gals, likker, and gambling” are GREAT. They are from the show biz trade publication Variety, which really latched onto the rampant nudity on view at the Texas Centennial. Remember: 80 years ago! (The abbreviation of “S. A.” in the headline of the second article stands for “sex appeal.”) (As always, click to see larger images.)

Variety, June 10, 1936

Variety, June 24, 1936

Variety, July 1, 1936


Sources & Notes

Top photo shows an admission ticket to the Streets of Paris, from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information is here. Another interesting item from this collection is a brochure (here) which describes Streets of Paris as “the smartest, most sophisticated night club in America. Here you will find the gay night life of Paris in a setting of exotic splendor.”

Photo of “Mlle. Corrine” also from the Cook Collection at SMU; more info on that photo here.

Photo of Lady Godiva on a white horse (with the words “Dallas Centennial” near the bottom … um, bottom of the image … is also from the Cook Collection at SMU, here.

The photo showing the night-time crowd outside the Streets of Paris Normandie is from the Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago; more info here.

The aerial photograph showing the S. S. Normandie is from Willis Cecil Winters’ book Fair Park (Arcadia Publishing, 2010); photo from the collection of the Dallas Historical Society.

All other sources noted, if known.

See quick shots of the Streets of Paris and the Streets of All Nations in the locally-made short film “Texas Centennial Highlights,” here (Streets of Paris is at about the 7:00 mark and the more risqué bits showing the parasol chorus girls followed by Mlle. Corinne and her apple dance (I mean, it’s not really shocking, but … it still kind of is…) at the 8:45 mark. (Incidentally, there appears to be a new book on Corinne and her husband — Two Lives, Many Dances — written by their daughter.)

A very entertaining history of the State Fair of Texas and the Texas Centennial Exposition can be found in the article “State Fair!” by Tom Peeler (D Magazine, October, 1982), here.

A Flashback Dallas post on the feuding Dallas and Fort Worth Centennial celebrations can be found here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on the Texas Centennial can be found here.

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Zap Those Extra Pounds Away in Mrs. Rodgers’ Electric Chair — 1921

ergotherapy_jewish-monitor_090921_detThrowing the switch in 3-2-1… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

While looking for something completely unrelated (which is always the best way to find unexpected things), I came across this full-page ad which appeared in the Sept. 9, 1921 edition of The Jewish Monitor (click to see a larger image):


Why Be Fat When

Within the last few years a method of automatic exercise, known as the Bergonie treatment, has found favor among physicians abroad in the treatment of obesity and other chronic disorders.

One advantage is that with the Sinusoidal current, which is employed, very powerful muscular contractions may be induced without pain or sensation other than that due to the muscular contraction itself.

The Treatment chair is the last word in comfort. It is fitted to meet the physiologic needs of the body as well as being comfortable. The arm and leg electrodes are wide and comfortably curved to fit the arms and legs of the patient easily. 


The Kellogg-Bergonie System of Battle Creek, Mich., will reduce you just where you wish to be reduced. No drugs, exercise or inconvenience. We will reduce you from one (1) to three (3) pounds per treatment and improve your physical condition. Trained nurses in attendance (under a registered physician’s supervision).

Treatments by Appointment Only

Hours for Men, 8 A.M. to 1 P.M.
Hours for Women, 1 P.M. to 6 P.M.
Phone X 5759
Ruth Rodgers, Mgr.
1614 1/2 Main Street, Dallas, Texas.


“The arm and leg electrodes are wide and comfortably curved” — there’s a line one doesn’t often encounter in an ad!

So what was this treatment of obesity that required “no drugs, exercise or inconvenience”? Well, basically, it was a low-voltage electric chair in which the naked, smock-draped “patient” reclined on wet towels and was covered with sandbags (which weighed up to 100 pounds). Electrodes were attached to the arms, legs, and abdomen. When the switch was flipped, electrically-provoked exercise began, and electric current caused muscular contractions (up to 100 a minute) without fatigue to the “exerciser.” All sorts of physiologic things were happening during these sessions, including a whole bunch of sweating. Patients would lose from 1 to 3 pounds during their time in the chair, hose themselves down and walk away refreshed.

Jean Albard Bergonié (1857-1925) was a French doctor/researcher/inventor who specialized in radiology in the treatment of cancer, and this odd electric chair was something of a departure from his oncology studies. It was used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions such as obesity, heart conditions, diabetes, “suppressed uric acid elimination,” and, later shell-shock. Professor Bergonié died in 1925 as the result of prolonged exposure to radium in his research to find a cure for cancer (in the years before his death, he had lost an arm and fingers to continual X-ray exposure). The Institut Bergonié continues in Bordeaux, France as a cancer research center.

So back to the chair. By the time of the 1921 ad above, Bergonié’s “ergotherapy” had become a weight-loss feature in beauty spas and salons. The ads I found mentioning the electric chair as something corpulent men and women of means might have seen in Dallas newspapers appeared between July and October of 1921, touting the miracle chair at Mrs. Ruth Rodgers’ beauty salon, The Old London Beauty Shoppe at 1614 ½ Main Street, a couple of doors from Neiman-Marcus.

July, 1921

I don’t know if it didn’t catch on or whether it just wasn’t mentioned in ads, but the chair made its final appearance in an Old London Beauty Shoppe ad in early October of the same year.

The splashiest news about Bergonié’s invention was a few months later, in early 1922, when it was revealed that the UK’s Queen Mary had availed herself of the chair in order to slim down in time for her daughter’s wedding, with Prof. Bergonié himself apparently operating the current flow. The best part of the lengthy and breathless article about the plump royal allowing herself to lie in this electric chair as she was rather unceremoniously weighted down with royal sandbags was this sentence:

[Mrs. David Lloyd George, the wife of the British prime minister] lost no time in telling Queen Mary all she knew about Professor Bergonie, the famous French ergotherapist, and his marvelous electric chair, which is said to jar fat from the human frame with the ease and almost the rapidity of a man peeling a tangerine.

Hey, I want that!

One would assume that sort of free publicity would be a boon to spas and salons offering State-side ergotherapy — I have a feeling Mrs. Rodgers had moved on by then and was probably kicking herself for concentrating on the more mundane treatment of wrinkles and sagging skin and the administering of marcel waves (her specialty).

Below, some views of The Chair over the years (all pictures larger when clicked).


Above, a drawing from a 1913 medical book, found here.



From the journal Medical Record, May 1, 1915.



A World War I soldier being treated for shell-shock, from The Electrical Experimenter (Feb. 1919), here (continued here).


Jan., 1921

Ruth Rodgers was the proprietress of the Old London Beauty Shoppe (later the Old London School of Beauty Culture), which seems to have operated in Dallas from the ‘teens to at least the late-1930s. The location during the period of the ergotherapeutic chair was in the basement of 1614 Main Street.


Aug., 1921

Mrs. Rodgers did it all. That might be her in the ad.


Aug., 1921


Aug., 1921

It’s a bit unusual seeing ads like this directed toward men.


San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 25, 1925



Above, a very Aubrey Beardsley-esque depiction of the “distressingly stout” Queen Mary, ready to undergo her course of treatments. Read the full, widely-circulated article from February, 1922, “Queen Mary’s Jarring Anti-Fat Ordeal; Yearning for a Girlish Figure to Grace Her Daughter’s Wedding, the Queen-Mother Got One by Sitting in an Electric Chair and Losing 3½ Pounds a Week,” here. (They don’t write headlines like that anymore….) The photo below, showing the control panel, was also part of the article.




The caption for this photo (which appeared five years after the cutting-edge Ruth Rodgers was offering it to Dallas patrons): “The new French electric chair on which one reclines in comfort while form-fitting electroids [sic] direct the fat-melting current, as demonstrated by Alice Harris, a stage beauty who must keep thin.” (Ogden Standard-Examiner, April 18, 1926)


And, finally, to bring this back to Dallas, the location of Mrs. Rodgers’ Old London Beauty Shoppe in 1921 — 1614½ Main Street (basement) — is circled (this building was later the Everts Jewelry store before it moved across the street to the north side of Main). To the left is Neiman-Marcus, at the corner of Main and Ervay. (Full view of this postcard, from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, SMU, is here.)



Sources & Notes

Top photo is a detail from the ad below, which appeared in the Sept. 9, 1921 edition of The Jewish Monitor; it can be accessed via the Portal to Texas History, here.

Read a doctor’s account of just how Bergonie’s chair worked, in the article “Modern Treatment of Obesity” by Edward C. Titus (Medical Record, Jan. 24, 1920), here.

I’m not sure about the connection of this chair to J. H. Kellogg (the treatment in the ad was referred to as “The Kellogg-Bergonie System of Battle Creek, Mich.”). It appears that he and Bergonie might have developed similar chairs independently of one another and decided to form some sort of partnership — either by mutual agreement or court edict. Here is a photo of Kellogg’s “patented electrotherapy exercise bed” used in his Battle Creek sanitarium:

via Oobject (more Kellogg contraptions here)

And speaking of Mr. Kellogg, might I direct your attention to a previous Flashback Dallas post — “Electricity in Every Form — 1909” — here.

Click pictures for larger images


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Scenes by Florence McClung — 1940s

mcclung_dallas-cityscape_1941_kever-collectionFrom the collection of Mark and Geralyn Kever

by Paula Bosse

Florence McClung (1894-1992) — a painter, printmaker, and pastelist in the circle of Regionalist artists known as The Dallas Nine — lived in Dallas and often painted nearby rural scenes as well as more rugged Western landscapes. I haven’t seen many urban scenes by McClung, but there were two oil paintings that appeared in a one-woman show at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in the spring of 1945 which I’d love to find images of: “Triple Underpass” and “Big D,” the latter of which sounds very similar to the one seen above, “Dallas Cityscape,” from the collection of Mark and Geralyn Kever (whose impressive collection of Texas art can be seen in the Jan./Feb. issue of American Fine Art Magazine — jump to page 53 in the PDF to find the story, “Cream of the Crop”). (UPDATE: “Triple Underpass” has surfaced! More here.)

Here’s another urban scene, “Industrial Dallas,” with what looks like the Medical Arts Building in the background.

mcclung_industrial-dallas_david-dike-gallery_jan-2016-catDavid Dike Fine Art

I always love to see artistic renderings of the Dallas skyline, and I really like these two city scenes which are so different from McClung’s usual subject matter.

Florence McClung (née White) was born in St. Louis in 1894. Her family moved to Dallas, and she eventually studied art under several of Dallas’ finest instructor-artists (including Frank Reaugh). After several years as a college art instructor in Waxahachie, she began to participate in numerous group shows, juried shows, and one-man shows, reaching the peak of her career in the 1930s and 1940s. She died in 1992 at the age of 97. Art-wise, that spans the years from Toulouse-Lautrec to Banksy!

I had a hard time finding photos of her, but I managed to find two, including her senior photo which appeared in the 1912 yearbook of Dallas High School (more commonly known today as Crozier Tech) (where, incidentally, she was in the Art Club with Allie Tennant who went on to become a noted sculptor, best known for her Tejas Warrior at the Hall of State in Fair Park).

Florence White, Dallas High School yearbook, 1912

Florence McClung, circa late 1930s


Sources & Notes

I ran across the “Dallas Cityscape” painting on the CASETA (Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art) site.

The top painting has the title “Dallas Cityscape” and media mentions of it carry the date 1941. I couldn’t find a painting by McClung with that title (admittedly, my sources are limited!). Also, 1941 seems off because construction of the Mercantile Bank Building (seen in the painting) wasn’t completed until 1942. I wonder if it’s possible that this painting actually was the painting McClung titled “Big D” (which was most likely painted in 1944) and was included in her 1945 show at the DMFA? Might those planes have something to do with World War II? Because the Portal to Texas History has been so nice to scan them, McClung’s application for a show at the DMFA can be seen here, and her list of works to be shown is here.

“Industrial Dallas” is from a January, 2016 auction catalogue from David Dike Fine Art.

The Handbook of Texas entry for Florence Elliott White McClung can be found here.

A selection of works by Florence McClung from the Dallas Museum of Art can be found on the SMU Central University Libraries Digital Collections site, here.

UPDATE, Oct., 2018: “Triple Underpass,” from the same period as the two paintings above, has surfaced — more about it can be found in the post “‘Triple Underpass’ by Florence McClung — 1945,” here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Happy Flag Day from the Girls of Miss Hockaday’s School — 1957

flag_hockaday-yrbk_1957On flag detail in lovely Vickery Place (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today is Flag Day. This seems an appropriate day to post this photo of Hockaday girls on flag duty in 1957, a few short years before the prestigious school moved from this Lower Greenville campus which once occupied the entire block at the northwest corner of Belmont and Greenville to its present location in North Dallas.


Photograph from the 1957 Hockaday yearbook.

Click picture for larger image.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

On the Grounds of the Ursuline Academy and Convent

ursuline-convent_cook-colln_degolyer_smuBetween classes… (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love this photo of Ursuline girls at the fantastically ornate school and convent in Old East Dallas. See more photos of the school, convent, and grounds in my post “Nicholas J. Clayton’s Neo-Gothic Ursuline Academy,” here.


Sources & Notes

Photo by Clogenson, from a postcard in the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it is accessible here. I have un-colorized it.

See the scale of the Ursuline property on a 1922 Sanborn map, here. It is now mostly a parking lot, across from the Dallas Theological Seminary; a sad 21st-century view of what the former campus property looks like is here.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Bonnie Parker: “Buried In an Ice-Blue Negligee” — 1934

bonnie-parker_mortician-account_cook-colln_degolyer(George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU)

by Paula Bosse

This amazing (and amazingly gruesome) first-hand account of an unnamed McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home undertaker details the incredible amount of work required to prepare the bullet-ridden body of celebrity outlaw Bonnie Parker for burial. This odd little historical document comes from the absolutely fantastic George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection housed in SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The four-page handwritten document can be viewed in its entirety on SMU’s Central University Libraries’ website here. Below is the full account, transcribed by SMU, with a few corrections/additions made by me.


Tear this up please? Tear this up please?

Heres [sic] first hand on Bonnie & Clyde as we had Bonnie. She was about the size of Rose Grace, weighing a 100 pounds. (a thousand pounds of dynamite though) She was very pretty of course her skin was somewhat tan. Her nails were beautiful. Likewise her toe nails. Her toes looked like fingers. The cuticles pushed back, the nails filed to a point, and a deep coral shade polish on them, the most beautiful toes I ever saw, just perfect. Her permanent just a month old we had it waved. Her face, right side was blown off. We fixed this and you could hardly tell it. Just one bullet went through her brain, however and number grazed her head as there were 3 big holes in her scalp, but not through skull. Her left eye terribly black, however I used eye shadow on other eye to match, so that was covered up. Now, her body was just mutilated and torn to pieces from shots. Her right hand nearly blown off (known as her trigger hand) her body besides being full of bullet holes was full of buckshot, pellets all over her

[Page 2] body. We received body ten minutes of nine. Joe and I sewed on her until three that afternoon. At that time they say 25,000 people were lined up outside. It took 2 hours picking dirt, rocks etc. from her hair then to wash it and have waved. A tattoo on right leg two hearts one read Roy, the other Bonnie. Roy you know was her Husband (Roy Thornton now in Pen) All fluid the undertaker in Arcadia La. used leaked out she was torn up so she was a a [sic] mass of blood, caked & dried. Several hours in bathing her. Had to scrape some of it off, and used gold dust to remove most of it. Had skin slip that night account Fluid leaking from it, began to smell the next morning, turning dark, smelling worse. The last day was rotten so to speak The odor was awful. Her Mother thought [sic] sat in room alone with her head over casket. How she stood it Lord knows. The other children couldn’t. Mother fainted 2:30 that night I asked if she wouldn’t like to go home, she went. By then the entire house smelt. We had to keep her so Sister Billy that was in jail in Ft Worth could get out & come to Funeral. She was buried in an all steel metal casket. Paper said $1000.00 wrong about $600 maybe less. Paper said $1000.00 vault Wrong there was no vault Page 2

[Page 3] Buried in an ice Blue Neglegee [sic] (is this spelled right) She was dressed in expensive clothes when killed. About 40,000 people came to view her. Paper said $1,500.00 damages done to Funeral Home. Wrong about the extent of $2.50. They did not tear windows etc as stated. The woman next door though turned Hose on Them to keep her flowers from being walked on. We had 38 officers stationed (3 shifts) all over house and front & back yard keeping crowd in order and all of us as well. 4 operators on the 4 phones. They rang every minute for two days & nights. More people came to see Bonnie then [sic] to see Clyde. Our new Porch Furniture was damaged. We had a Rubber mat about ½ inch in thickness all over Funeral House. Officers

[Page 4] stationed to keep people on it so as not to wear rug out (Big movie Star) my picture was shown in Movies. The paper stretched their stories. She was not to become a Mother as stated. She was diseased slightly though as stated. Now you have it first hand as I worked on her. Joes [sic] & My work was praised very highly in every other line in papers. And if I do say it, It was good. And she looked swell no trace of disfigures showing. The crowd did not steal anything to take home. All paper talk. Example crowd lined up as Far as Fair Park, now judge how it looked. They brought their Lunches. Such Fools.


Below, two photographs of the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home, located at 1921 Forest Avenue in South Dallas, besieged by curious spectators.




I’m unsure who the “Rose Grace” was who was mentioned on the first page.

The “gold dust” mentioned in the account as being used to remove caked blood from Bonnie’s body was actually Gold Dust Washing Powder or Gold Dust Scouring Soap, a popular, commercially-available “all-purpose cleaning agents” — Wikipedia article is here.


Sources & Notes

Top image of the handwritten account on Adolphus Hotel stationery is from the aforementioned George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, viewable here.

First photo of the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home is reproduced all over the internet; the second photo is from the files of the Dallas Police Dept., Dallas Municipal Archives, via the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History database, here.

Even though the identity of the person who wrote this account is not known, he (…it was probably a man) mentions that he was seen in newsreel footage of the funeral of Bonnie Parker. My wild guess is that he can be seen in this clip from a longer newsreel on the funerals and burials of Bonnie and Clyde at the 2:34 mark. I could never find who his co-worker “Joe” was.


Is this our man laying flowers on Bonnies casket?


If you really want to see the state of the bodies of Bonnie (and Clyde) — before and after their time with their undertakers — they’re easy to find via your favorite search engine.

More Flashback Dallas posts on Bonnie & Clyde here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The Moskovitz Cafe

moskovitz-cafe_winegarten-schechterA stool is waiting for you… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The Moskovitz Cafe was located at 2216 Elm Street, between S. Pearl and what is now Cesar Chavez Blvd., in an area of predominantly Jewish businesses. The restaurant served “Kosher and American cooking” and was owned and run by Lui Moskovitz, a Romanian immigrant, and his Polish-born wife, Eva. Eva, recently widowed, had arrived in Dallas in about 1928 with her three children and seems to have married Lui that same year. They had run another restaurant before the Moskovitz Cafe: the New York Kosher Dining Room on Commerce had been located across from the Adolphus Hotel for several years before it moved to 2011 Main, around the corner from City Hall. After that closed, they ran the Moskovitz Cafe between about 1937 and about 1944.

In 1945 there was no Lui or Eva Moskovitz in the Dallas directory. There was, however, an Eva Haberman — it appears that the Moskovitzes had split, Lui had left town, and Lui’s ex-wife had taken back the name of her late first husband. At this time she must have been about 60 years old, but she worked for the next few years as a department store seamstress and lived with one or more of her three sons from her marriage to Nathan Haberman. She died in April, 1961. Not only is there no trace of Lui after his time in Dallas, there is also no trace of 2216 Elm.

moskovitz_dmn_0101361936 ad

Elm St. businesses, 1943 Dallas directory (click for larger image)

Location of Moskovitz Cafe (det. of a 1919 map)


Sources & Notes

Photo appeared in the book Deep in the Heart: The Lives & Legends of Texas Jews, A Photographic History by Ruthe Winegarten and Cathy Schechter (Austin: Eakin Press, 1990); from the collection of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society.

I’m not sure who the people in the photo are. When the Moskovitz Cafe opened, Lui would have been in his mid-40s and Eva would have been in her early 50s. UPDATE: Per the comment below (from Eva’s grandson), the woman in the white apron is the proprietress, Eva Moskovitz, and the man at the cash register is her son, Jack Haberman.

More information about Mrs. Eva Haberman can be found in her obituary, published in The News on April 19, 1961.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The Dallas Chapter of “The Women of the Ku Klux Klan” — 1920s


by Paula Bosse

I’ve managed to avoid mention of the Ku Klux Klan since starting this blog a couple of years ago, which is saying something, because the KKK pretty much ruled this city for a good chunk of the 1920s. The Dallas chapter — Klan No. 66 — had more than 13,000 men as members; it was one of the largest chapters in the nation (by some accounts, THE largest chapter). Members included politicians, judges, and law enforcement officials. But what of the Klan-leaning ladies who were not allowed to join? Before I plunge into that, let’s look at what’s going on in this weird, be-robed group shot, a photo taken around 1924 in Ferris Plaza with poor Union Station as a backdrop. (Click these for much larger images.)







In the early 1920s, women — who had led the temperance movement and whom had recently been given the right to vote — began to form groups that tackled social issues. Some of these groups espoused the same general rhetoric as the KKK. One of these groups was formed in Dallas in 1922 — the “American Women” group was the brainchild of three women, including Alma B. Cloud, who appears to have been only 21 years old. One of the other founders was her partner in a short-lived ladies’ clothing boutique. Cloud immediately hit the lecture circuit, giving free lectures on “Americanism” to (white Protestant) women around Texas.

cloud_taylor-tx-daily-press-08222Taylor Daily Press, Aug. 22, 1922

By the following summer, the male leadership of the Klan allowed a “Women of the Ku Klux Klan” to be created; its national headquarters was in Little Rock.


They were not officially part of the KKK but were, in theory, a separate entity. While not, perhaps, as outwardly extreme as their male counterparts, they were certainly as virulently racist and intolerant. They might not have been lynching people and threatening violence, but they were busy pushing their exclusionary, white supremacy agenda. And both the men and the women liked to dress up in white robes and hoods. Here’s what the women looked like when they added masks to the ensemble (not Dallas — location of photo unknown).


Several of the independent women’s groups founded previously were happily absorbed by the WKKK — including Miss A. B. Cloud’s group. In fact, Miss Cloud became the leader of the Dallas chapter. The “Klaliff.” The headquarters for this group — which campaigned for “progressive morality”– was in a little space on North Harwood.

WKKK_1924-directory1924 Dallas directory

1924 seems to have been the big year for both the KKK and the WKKK. The women found themselves at lots of parades with burning crosses and other … “functions” — so why not form a drum corps? A few clippings. (Click for larger images.)

kkk-women_amarillo-globe-times_031624Amarillo Globe-Times, March 16, 1924

klan-women_dmn_073124Dallas News, July 31, 1924

kkk-women_mckinney-courier-gazette_111224McKinney Courier-Gazette, Nov. 12,1924

By 1926, the KKK was starting to lose its power, and the fear and intimidation they had instilled in much of the pubic began to wane. The (men’s) KKK had had to downsize and move into the women’s headquarters, and their candidates began losing elections. Even worse, you know things were getting bad if someone was suing the KKK for delinquent robe-payment!

KU KLUX KLAN WOMEN SUED FOR ROBES BILL: Suit for $4,463.80 was filed in the Forty-Fourth District Court on Friday afternoon by John F. Pruitt against the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, Inc. The petition alleges that the plaintiff sold the defendant, a corporation, 6,000 robes at $2.50 each during the two years preceding the filing of the suit, for which the defendant agreed to pay $15,000 to the plaintiff. It is alleged that $4,463.80 remains unpaid. (DMN, Nov. 28, 1925)

The power once exerted by the Ku Klux Klan had diminished greatly by the end of the 1920s, and while the Klan has never disappeared completely, it will never again reach the heights it had attained in the 1920s.

Whatever happened to Miss A. B. Cloud? After having been ousted from her “imperial” position (for reasons I don’t really care enough about to investigate), she had a few sales jobs and eventually began to present motivational sales talks. There was an Alma B. Cloud in California who was mentioned in several news stories from the 1930s — she presented motivational lectures to students on how best to plan their future adult lives. Um, yes. I’m not 100% sure this was the same A. B. Cloud who was the former WKKK gal from Big D, but it seems likely. I wonder what those students would have thought had they known of her pointy-hooded past?


Sources & Notes


Top photo is titled “Ku Klux Klan Women’s Drum Corps Dallas in Front of Union Station,” taken by Frank Rogers; it is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University — it can be accessed here. I have manipulated the color.

Women of the Ku Klux Klan letterhead comes from the Women of the Ku Klux Klan Collection, Archives and Special Collections, University of Mississippi Libraries; the collection can be accessed here.

The photo of the masked WKKK women is all over the internet — I don’t know its original source or any details behind it, but it’s creepy.

“Women of the Ku Klux Klan” on Wikipedia, is here.

“Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s” by Kathleen M. Blee, is here.

“Charity by Day, Punishment by Night: The Ku Klux Klan in Fort Worth” — from the great FW history blog Hometown by Handlebar — is here.

And, probably best of all, the Dallas Morning News article “At Its Peak, Ku Klux Klan Gripped Dallas,” by the wonderful and much-missed Bryan Woolley, can be read here. This article contains facts and figures, describes the sort of “madness of crowds” atmosphere in the city at the time, and details some of the horrible atrocities committed by the KKK in Dallas. Woolley cites historian Darwin Payne’s assertion that if one considered every adult man in Dallas who would have been eligible to have joined the Klan (this excludes, of course, those of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Catholic, or Jewish descent), one in three of them was a member of the Dallas chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. ONE IN THREE.

A few short mentions of the Dallas WKKK have been compiled here.

UPDATE: For a look at racism in modern Dallas, watch the half-hour film “Hate Mail,” made in 1992 by Mark Birnbaum and Bart Weiss, here. It includes interviews with several prominent Dallasites, as well as interviews with a couple of Klan leaders.

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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