We Met Jose Miguel Covarrubias

corvarrubias-art-pacific as Smart Object-1

The six murals by Miguel Covarrubias depicting the Pacific Rim in all of its cultural and natural glory were the center piece of the Golden Gate International Exposition. Today, however, only five of murals remain. See The Lost Mural of José Miguel Covarrubias

Also check out this YouTube homage to Covarrubias.

Saturday March 4, 1939 “Sam had to work most of the day. Nite: with Marc, Ruth + Jerry to the Fair + what a time. Met Eureka people, rode on rolling chairs, and saw Palace of Fine and Decorative Arts.


“On return we met Covarrubias.”

Fior D Italia

Image source Center For Creative Photography Fior d’Italia lays claim as the oldest Italian restaurant in the USA.

Friday March 10, 1939. “Walked to the beach + back in the A.M. Nite: Jeanne and I met Sam. Dinner at Fior d’Italia.

“Then to Izzy’s, and a grand time as usual. Met Russian artist Hurt, and to his studio. Home at 3 a.m.


Saturday March 11, 1939. “Took Sam to work. Took Jeanne and friends to the ferry. Met Marc at 1:30, an afternoon of drinking. Went to Ruth’s at eight. Then to Izzy’s for dinner. Sam and Marion fell asleep but I danced. Paul Dohrman drove us home and stayed over.”



The Library of Congress photo caption reads “Italian Restaurant, North Beach, San Francisco.”

Saturday February 25, 1939. “To town with Jeanne. Bought Jeanne a hat and Expo tickets. Me-lipstick and powder. Lunch with Sam at Amerigos. Walked around North Beach.”


“Nite: Sam, Marc, Ruth Taylor, et al, to Izzy Gomez, and William Tell Place. Lots of fun.”
San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay lists William Tell Place in Historic San Francisco at 630 Clay Street. It was a German Swiss Restaurant with nightly dancing. All indication of this time and place has been erased by modern tall buildings.


Sunday February 26, 1939 “With Jeanne, Phil + Tony to the Fair. Saw the Ski Jump.
Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 7.50.02 AM

The Google View of The Shack today, 400 Bay Street at Mason.

Back to the city about 6:30 Dinner at The Shack. Sam came home drunk again. Awful!”

This was the last mention about Sam coming home intoxicated. The issue it appears was really about Helen not being included in Sam’s festivities. She mentions being upset about the issue on Monday, but that was the last of it.

Monday February 27, 1939 “Very depressed today. Washed + picked up the apartment. Sent money orders + paid garage. Met Jeanne and went to the library.”

Tuesday February 28, 1939 “Phil + I to the Fair. Saw more exhibits.”


Sally Rand was fairest of the fair when she became number one  on the Gayway.

WaltRoesnerCapitoliansCapitolTheatreApedaNewYork1928 as Smart Object-1

“We listened to the Expo Band and Walt Roesner’s Band.”


Fifth biggest attraction of the Gayway was Stella, who first appeared at the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Stella grossed $100,000 in 1915. A string was attached to the back of the painting, then pulled back and forth, causing Stella to “breath.” After the Panama Exhibition a dozen imitation Stellas appeared. This one was said to be original.

“We saw “Stella,” then came home about Six. It was a grand day.”

Saw The Incubator Babies

Sally Rand's Troubles Begin

The Sally Rand Nude Ranch was the talk of the town in San Francisco at this time

El Portal Menu

Image source: John Freeman

Monday February 20, 1939 “To town in the A.M. Had the car greased, etc. Nite: to El Portal, nice dinner. Saw Tony at her apartment. Home + Sherry. Letter from Irene. Lovely day.”


Tuesday February 21, 1939. “To Tony’s at her shop with Phil + got 3 piece suit. Then to the mechanic to pick up car. Drinks with Phil. Nite: picked Sam up. Dinner in Chinatown + wandered around. Grand evening-balmy-”

Incubator Babies

“The incubator babies exhibit was a premium attraction, meaning an additional quarter collected at the door on top of the fair admission. The spin was that the purpose of the display and admission fee was for scientific public education purposes and fundraising for the nurses, but in reality it was a common side show attraction at fairs back in the day.” –Shawn Clover

Wednesday February 22, 1939 “With Jeanne + Phil to the Fair. Met Tony at  nite. Saw incubator babies + lots of exhibits. Home at 9:30. No Sam! Called K.C., Sam out with Marc.”

Thursday February 23, 1939 “Jeanne and I to town. Bought hose  + hat. Back home, picked up at the house. Phil over. Sam home late + drunk! So discouraging-”


My first search for a San Francisco Trocadero turned up the Trocadero Inn. However apparently it may have been closed by 1939. A more likely site, located downtown (fitting with what the diary says), is listed in the city directory. A Trocadero French restaurant at 609 Montgomery Street, which today the site of a tall building across the street from the TransAmerica building.

Friday February 24, 1939 “Lovely day. Walked. Met Jeanne and we went downtown + met Sam. Saw big fire at Sutter + Kearny. Dined at Trocadero. Good. Home + Sherry.”
609 Montgomery Street

The Google View of 609 Montgomery Street today

Another Day At The Fair

California and SF Buildings

The California Building on the left. The San Francisco Building on the right. They are joined by the circular Court of Seals and its slender columns. At the Portico of the California Building was a 10,000-square foot mural. These were the host buildings of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

Sunday February 19, 1939 “Another day at the fair. Toured the San Francisco and California Buildings.”

California Auditorium

California Auditorium on the shores of the Lake of Nations features programs of radio, music, and drama for the entertainment of Exposition visitors.

“We went to concerts.”


“Sam had to leave early. Jeanne and I went to the phone exhibit. It was fun.”


“Heard + saw Ray Noble and His Orchestra. Home at 9:30. Sam and I drank good sherry.”

The Fair Opened

Jeanne1939 Sam+Helen1939

Jeanne with a Coke and sandwich, above. Husseys on the move, below.

Saturday February 18, 1939. “The Fair Opened. Breakfast at the Ferry Building. Then ferried to Treasure Island. Grand!”

Ferryboat Slips

“We rode around the Island.”

Elephant Train and Federal Building


Sally Rand Nude Ranch

“Went to Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch and Riply’s Believe It Or Not.”

Riply's Post Card+Phot

“Then back San Francisco…”



Photo Source: gorillasdontblog.blogspot.com

“…and Chinatown for food.”

Parades, Fireworks, and Noodles

World's Fair Poster

The flurry of parades and fireworks at this time was to herald and celebrate the opening of the San Francisco World’s Fair–just days away for Jeanne and the Husseys.

Tuesday February 14, 1939. “Jeanne + I went to Market Street to see a parade. A very good and gala crowd. ”

Portsmouth Square

“Met Sam at noon + went to Portsmouth Square to see a pic. being made. Had noodles + walked through Chinatown.”

exotic China Town

“Nite: Sam, Jeanne, Tony, + I to Chinatown. Music and fashion show. Lovely Chinese gown. Fog out here!”

Wednesday February 15, 1939. “Walked in the park. Friends of Cy here from L.A. Scotty called. Marion didn’t go home.”

Marina San Francisco

“Nite: Sam, Jeanne, + I to the Marina. Marvelous display of fireworks. Beautiful day + nite.”

Thursday February 16, 1939 “Beautiful day-out to shop. Scotty over, no word from Marion yet. Nite: With Tony, Jeanne + Sam to parade on Clement Street.”

Season Ticket Book

Jeanne’s World’s Fair Tickets, either found or replaced.

Friday February 17, 1939. “Jeanne’s Fair tickets + my bracelet missing + no word from Marion. Nite: Tony, Jeanne, Sam + I to parade + then to Marc’s.”
John's Rendezvousjohns rendevous wine list

“Tony and Jeanne came home + Sam and I went with Marc to John’s Rendezvous. ”

The San Francisco World’s Fair Opened the next day, Saturday February 18, 1939.

Busy Weekend – No Less on Monday

Empire Hotel

Saturday February 11, 1939. “Jeanne + I to Tony’s business. Bought a skirt for me + a suit for Jeanne–wholesale. Then to other stores. Bought hat and purse. Marion + friend over for short time. Nite with Phil + Tony to Polk Street. Dinner at German American Restaurant. To the Sky Room at Empire Hotel.”

Empire Hotel Picture+Blurb

“Then to Izzy Gomez’ and the Beach.”


Izzy Gomez and salt shaker, “M’ Fren'” Image Source CLAY BANES.

“Home about 11:15.”

Sunday February 12, 1939 “Jeanne, Sam + I took Bijou for nice walk in Golden Gate Park. Started to rain on the way home. Sam + I walked to the branch library + Clement Street. Shopt. Took bus home. Took streetcar to the big library.”

Ferry Building

“Walked to the Ferry Building and took streetcar line number 21 home.. Marion here. Jeanne to movie alone.” 21-car as Smart Object-1

Monday February 13, 1939 “Jeanne + I to town early-paid phone bill. First scraping of fenders.”

san-francisco-chinatown-circa-1950 as Smart Object-1

“Lunch in Chinatown.”

cable+cars as Smart Object-1

“Rode the cable car.”

Jeanne Helen Hussey4


“Nite-Sam all decked out Western Style.”

cissie-loftus-and-hilda-trevelyan1 as Smart Object-1Curran-Theatre_San-Francisco_1922-1 as Smart Object-1

“Took me to see Cecilia Loftus at the Curran.”

Friends, Movies, and Tea at Fosters

Clement Street Today_DSC2651

Clement Street 3/15/2014

Monday February 6, 1939. “Quiet day. Home + read except for shopping on Clement Street + picking Jeanne up + to Clement Street again. Nite: with Sam to the branch library.”

Fosters1939 Tranist Terminal

Tuesday February 7. 1939 “To the park early with Bijou-nice walk. Cousin Gen came at 1pm + we had a long visit. Picked up Jeanne + had tea at Fosters. Then Gen stayed for supper + we took her to the bus station about 8 pm. Showers today.”

Wednesday February 8, 1939. “Marion Flack called in the a.m. + came out. Having trouble at home. Took her to lunch + show “Idiot’s Delight.” Good. Home for dinner. Marian and Jeanne to a show. Cold day-saw snow on the mountains across the bay.”

Paramount Theatre SF 1939Honolulu_(1939)mysterious mr

Thursday February 9, 1939 “To three agencies with Marion + to Paramount Theatre. Saw Honolulu + Mr. Moto. Left Marion downtown. Bought Chicken. Chocolate roll. Finished Jeanne’s plaid dress. Cold day + rain. Sam growing a beard.”

Friday February 10, 1939. “Took Bijou for a nice walk in park A.M. Picked Jeanne up after school + tea at Fosters. Nite Tony over-Scotty called up about Marion. Some rain in the A.M. but starts out tonight. Second day of Sam’s beard.

Dined at Vanessi’s. Stopped at Sutro Park.

Diary of Helen Hussy February 5, 1939 – Sunday.

Vanessi'sVanessi's Post Card

Sunday Febrary 5, 1939. “Went to the museum in the A.M. Went to Marc’s office, met Kathleen. All to eat at Vanessi’s.”

Venessi's Crew



“Nice ride home. Stopped at Sutro Park.”

Sutro Heights Palm Avenue Post Card

Sutro Heights Park was the estate of Adolph Sutro, land developer and a mayor of San Francisco. The estate once contained many Romanistic statues and a plant conservatory.

Sutro Heights Main Gate

In 1881, Adolf Sutro purchased 22 acres of undeveloped land at the edge of the city, which included a promontory overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Tamalpais, and the Golden Gate. Taking advantage of the views, Sutro turned this property into Sutro Heights, an elaborate public garden that was filled with decorated flower beds, statues, forests and vista points. Photo Source Dennis O’Rorke Collection

Sutro Park Architecture

Sutro built his home on a rocky ledge overlooking the Cliff House and Seal Rocks just south of Point Lobos and north of Ocean Beach. The grounds consisted of a spacious turreted mansion, a carriage house and out buildings set in expansive gardens. The estate dominated the area. He spent in excess of a million dollars trying to recreate an Italian garden. By 1883, Sutro opened his gardens to the public and allowed strolling the grounds for the donation of a dime. That small fee helped to pay the fifteen gardeners he employed to maintain the grounds.
Sutro Park Overlook
Adolph Sutro died in 1898, land rich but cash poor following his frustrating tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. His daughter Emma lived on the estate at Sutro Heights until her death in 1938. The house is visible on the 1938 layer of Google Earth, located at 122°30’42.98″W 37°46’39.71″N. Becoming too expensive to maintain, the family donated the estate to the City of San Francisco that same year. The city demolished the buildings and removed the statuary with the exception of the winged lions at the gate and a few select pieces. The estate became Sutro Heights Park.
An excellent blog article showing Sutro Heights today: http://landscapevoice.com/sutro-heights-park/

Stow Lake Postcard

“Also walked to Stow Lake. Later stopped at Tony’s. To delicatessen, supper + read at night. Some rain.”

An excellent blog article showing Sutro Heights today: http://landscapevoice.com/sutro-heights-park/

M’ Fren’

Postcard_4 as Smart Object-1

Monday January 30, 1939. “Showers today. Drove to the beach. Took Bijou walking then drove through the Presidio. Stopped at Gertrude Meyers. She didn’t remember me at first. Bought walking shoes. Met Jeanne at school. Went to Foster’s for tea. Letter from Irene, card from Carola. Wrote to Kings and Irene.”

Tuesday January 31, 1939. “Phil over early. Walked to Stow Lake. The the museum in the afternoon. To corner stores. Nite: read. Showers and hail storm.
1917_SanFranciscoPublicLibrary as Smart Object-1

The 1917 Downtown Library. Library moved to a new building in 1996. The old main library, which was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, was rebuilt as the new Asian Art Museum.

Wednesday February 1, 1939. “Bold, bright day. Went downtown to the library. Walked Bijou in the park. Saw two “skips.” Went to the African Museum + Natural History Museum. Saw exhibit of semi precious stones. Phil over for a few minutes in the evening. Read + Radio.”  The word “skips” refers to someone skipping class. Based on Jeanne’s record as a bit rebellious as a school student, one of those “skips” Helen saw might have been Jeanne.

Thursday February 2, 1939 “Rainy day. Out to shop. Branch library + picked up Jeanne from school. Marc M. called up. Letter from Scotty. Tony over in evening. ”
Izzy Gomez

Image Source CLAY BANES

Izzy Gomez place was at 848 Pacific Street. From James R. Smith: “Izzy’s Cafe was a gathering place for aspiring artists. Famed writer William Saroyan, himself a regular at Izzy’s, immortalized the place, its characters and their situations in his play, The Time of Your Life. Gomez prided himself on the fact that no one left his place hungry. Izzy’s big heart and expansive nature earned him friends at every layer of San Francisco society. He gave away meals to writers, friends and those down and out that caught his eye. The 300-pound tavern keeper, wearing his ever-present black fedora, served great food – thick steaks, crisp fried chicken, huge platters of French-fried potatoes and big salads, all presented with good homemade grappa at two bits a glass, available even during Prohibition.” Izzy’s Cafe was demolished in 1952.

Friday February 3, 1939. “Took Jeanne to school + drove to the beach. The sea was marvelous. Gen called. Talked with Walter. Several letters today. Nite: with Sam to see Marc M. + two of his friends. Went to Izzy Gomez place. Drank and danced – lots of fun.