Diary of Helen Hussey

More Adventure With Party!!

An ongoing series illustrating the diary of my grandmother Helen Hussey. Current entries: The San Francisco Sojourn 1939-1940.

The Palace Of Fine ArtsFullPage

Saturday June 24, 1939. “Sam, Jeanne and I to the Fair. Sam and I went to the Palace of Fine and Decorative Arts.”


“After met Jeanne and Tony in Brazil.”

HappyValley Image Source San Francisco Public Library. “Lona Norman and Chuch Price exhibit the latest in jitterbug technique at the opening of Treasure Island’s newest $1,000 cash prize jitterbug contest. Lona and Chuck took one of the nightly prizes at the Happy Valley Ranch, where nightly competitions will be held for the next six weeks. (GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION PHOTO)”

“Happy Valley! Sam went home but Jeanne and I stayed for more adventure with party!”

Hussey SF Fair 1939

Sam Hussey walking away from Happy Valley Ranch (sign above his right shoulder).

FortScottUniversity of North Texas Libraries

Image Source: University of North Texas Libraries

Sunday June 25, 1939 “Sam and I took a nice ride in the morning to Fort Winfield Scott and the 49 Mile Drive. Lazed and read rest of the day.”


Monday June 26, 1939. “Downtown with Tony – Window shopped and bought bath powder. Walked in the park in the afternoon. Nite: bought two lamps.”


Tuesday June 27, 1939 “Went to the Fair with Tony. Indian exhibit was marvelous!”


“Visted Hawaii…”




“Columbia and the Island Club…”

Musée Mécanique TicketFoodsAndBeveragesBldg2

“At nite went to Musichanique. Home about 9:30.”


Crystal Palace Market Video

Wednesday June 28, 1939. “Jeanne and I to take magazine to Sam at K.C. Shopped at Crystal Market. Home. Then to the library and Clement Street.


Clement Street Video


Thursday June 29, 1939 “Jeanne and I to the Fair. Saw the Clipper take off. To the Swiss Village, etc. Home about 9:30.”


Friday June 30, 1939 “Cleaned the flat. Jeanne and I rode to Fort Winfield Scott and Coit Tower. Nite: Pacific Gas and Electric man over. Sherry. Marc and Bess over for a while. Rene here and sang.”

Diary of Helen Hussey

Jeanne Bought A Fur Chubby

Portal Of The Pacific_Tower of SunBjorn Palenius

Friday June 16, 1939. “Mrs. H sick!! Kids arrived from Santa Monica at 12:30. Nite: Rooke and Jeanne to the Fair. I picked up Sam. Had a few drinks at Tony’s. Then to Leache’s apartment. Back home and Tom Collins. Paid Rent!!

Saturday June 17, 1939. “Reilly’s over at nite. Tom Collins.”

Sunday June 18, 1939. “Another day of Tom Collins. Sam got Phil a job at the Plant.”


Monday June 19, 1939. “To the beauty shop early. Hair fixed better. Jeanne bought a fur chubby.”

Tuesday June 20, 1939. “The curse so didn’t feel very well all day. Letters fro Yvonne and Irene delivered.”


Wednesday June 21, 1939. “Jeanne, Zella and I to the early show at Golden Gate. Saw the Kay Kyser and His Band movie. Swell!!!”

ManningsSan Francisco Public Library Collection

Thursday June 22, 1939. “Jeanne and I to town in the afternoon with Tony and Dodo. Lunch at Mannings. Bought shirt for Sam’s birthday. Window shopped. Rene out at nite.”

Officers' Club, Fort ScottFort Winfield Scott Officers’ Club InteriorFt_Winfield_ScottLegionOfhonorPostCardLegion of Honor

Friday June 23, 1939 “Cleaned the flat. Jeanne and I took a ride to Fort Winfield Scott and to the Legion of Honor. Super!”


Lunch At Girards

johns_grill as Smart Object-1girards_salad021 as Smart Object-1

Girard’s was located on the third floor of the building at 65 Ellis Street occupied on lower levels by the historic John’s Grill, established in 1908. Image Source: cable-car-guy.com. The only trace of Girard’s today are the retail-sold salad dressings.

Girard's Ad

1939 ad from the Golden Gate International Exposition Guidebook.

Thursday June 8, 1939. “Downtown with Zella Reilly. Bought drapes and rods for the living room. Lunch at Girards.”

Hotel Empire Sky Room

“A drink at the Sky Room. Lots of window shopping. Nite: Sam and I walked in the the park.”


Friday June 9, 1939 “Got the drapes hung. Nite: met Marc, Bessie, and Streets at the Blue Fox Room for a couple of drinks. Then to see Ice Follies at Winterland. Swell show! After to Jacopetti’s, Cafe Diablo’s, and then home at 12:30. Rene over to see Jeanne.”

SFfogsource: http://www.monkeyfacenews.com/my-blog/2010/09/

Saturday June 10, 1939. “Quiet day. Home mostly. Sam worked all day. Picked him up at 5:30. Home for dinner. Nite: read and to bed early. Fog.”


Sunday June 11, 1939. “Sam and I walked to the beach in the A.M. Seal Rocks were covered with seals. Marc, Palmer, Murphy, Doni over. We went to Doc’s Ranch at Walnut Creek. Stoped at Palmer’s place in Alameda. Got cat. Hot in the country. Fog in our distance.”

I tried digging for information about Doc’s Ranch. Not much there. Here’s a note from the Contra Costa County Historical Society:

“We believe “Doc’s Ranch” refers to Dr. A.H. Rowan, who built a hotel and spa on Ygnacio Sibrian’s Sulphur Springs Ranch property. He called it “Bareges Sulphur Springs, named after the Bareges-Barzun Springs in the French Pyrenees Mountains. He charged $12 a week for board, lodging and use of the baths until fire destroyed the hotel in 1875. The sulphur spring still exists, near Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek.”Seems like there must be more to this story.

Monday June 12, 1939. “M. stayed here last night. Lazy day. Felt the cold. Took kitten and Bijou to meet Jeanne after school. Little Jimmy called up – also F. this afternoon, surprise. Picked up Sam at 5. Bed early.”

Tuesday June 13, 1939. “Lovely afternoon. Nice walk in the park. Quiet evening.”

ModelYachtClubSpeckels_postcard as Smart Object-1

Wednesday June 14, 1939. “Zella over. We walked in the park and saw the miniature yacht club house.”

“Saw the baby Buffalo. Foggy. Nite: to the library. Half day at school for Jeanne. Took Sam down to do work at the plant. Home 12:30”


Thursday June 15, 1939. “Rather sleepy this A.M. Lazy day but cooked nice dinner. Tony and Phil over in early evening – slight rain tonite. Sam and I up late drinking Tom Collins.”

Diary of Helen Hussey

Tom Collins

Muir Woods Postcard Rescan Muir Woods Postcard2

Tourists and Ranger at Muir Woods

Thursday June 1, 1939. “With Clarence and Claire to Marin County, Muir Woods, Mill Valley, San Geronimo, etc. Beautiful! Check for $40 from Ruth.”



Sinaloa’s menu

Friday June 2, 1939. “Met Sam at 5:45 – Dinner at Lucca’s – Good! To Jacopetti’s, Sinaloa, and Izzy’s – Marc, Palmer and Eve joined us there.”

Court Of The Seven Seas 3

Image Courtesy of Bjorn Palenius

Saturday June 3, 1939 “To the Fair with Tony. Several drinks in various places. Lots of walking and seeing some new exhibits. Home about 10:30.”


Sunday June 4, 1939 “Clarence and Claire left this morning before we were up. Sam and I went to the park. Saw baby buffalo.”


Monday June 5, 1939 “To town and paid bills. Home and Mrs. H asked me to go with her. Back home and a check from Ruth and Broox Randall Insurance Co. for safe driving. Out again with Mrs. H. to pick up her daughter.”

Sunbeam+Toaster as Smart Object-1

The 1938 & 1939 Sunbeam Model T-9 Toaster

Tuesday June 6, 1939 “Perm and touch up. Home 3:25. Surprise! Found toaster, tray, etc from Claire and Clarence. Evening walked through the park with Sam and took Bijou.”

1939 Fleischmann’s Gin Extra Dry Tom Collins Cocktails Drinks Vintage Print Ad

Wednesday June 7, 1939 “Slight hangover. Slept till ten. Zella Reilly over. Had Tom Collins and talked. Shopped and picked up Jeanne. Nite: radio and Tom Collins with Sam.”


Diary of Helen Hussey

Lighting Of The Courts


Wednesday May 24, 1939. “Jeanne home with a cold. Nite: Sam and I to Parks for grand dinner. Home about 10:30.”

Aquatic Park Beach
The beach at Aquatic Park

Thursday May 25, 1939. “Jeanne and I walked to the beach in A.M. Layed on the beach in sun for a time. Marc, Eve, little Eve, and Lyle over.”
IzzyGomez200px Izzy Gomez.

Friday May 26, 1939. “Met Sam after work with Carola and Joe. To The Shack for dinner. Then to Jacopetti’s and Izzy’s. Then to William Tell House and ended at Izzy’s.”

1939-Kedettes-Shoes as Smart Object-1

Saturday May 27, 1939. “Jeanne and I bought skirts, coats and kedettes at Tony’s. ”

Jeanne'sAlbumSanFrancisco3Fair_BrazilGuatemala PavilionGuatemalaBlurb

“Then to the Fair in Tenny’s car. Grand Time! Guatemala, Brazil, etc. Nite: to Eve’s about 10 PM. Waited to meet Marc, but he never showed. Home about 1:30.”


Sunday May 28, 1939 “Another lovely day. Took Sam to the plant and picked him up again at 12:30. Noodles in Chinatown. Home and napped until 5 PM. To Geary Street for a short time.”

Monday May 29, 1939. “Clarchen and Clarence came out in the afternoon and later for dinner. Tony out too. Carola and Joe left at 8:45.”

Lighted Courts and PondsImages courtesy of Bjorn Palenius

Tuesday May 30. “Jeanne, Tony, and I to the Fair. Met Mary B. Nite: to various courts for lighting. Gorgeous! Very warm day and nite. Sam home writing and resting.”


Helen, Tony, and Jeanne. The photo is dated August 26, but illustrates here just as well. 

Wednesday May 31, 1939. “Shopped and took Bijou to the park. Nite: to bed early.

Diary of Helen Hussey

Kiss The Boys Goodbye


An ongoing series illustrating the diary of my grandmother Helen Hussey. Current entries: The San Francisco Sojourn 1939-1940.


Monday May 15, 1939 “Met Tony at 4:30. Had dinner at Veneto.”


“Then to the first night for ‘Kiss The Boys Goodbye.’ Sam worked late. Jeanne went to the Golden Gate Theater with Al.”
Tuesday May 16, 1939. “Took several of loads of stuff over to the new flat. Took Zella Reilly over in the afternoon. Nite: read and radio.”

Wednesday May 17, 1939. “Movers came at 2pm, cost $121.95. Plumber set up the stove. Cost $4.75. Hardly got anything done after. Had dinner at Betty’s. Nite: Hortense called. Went to bed early–tired. Letter from Irene and B.”

Thursday May 18, 1939. “Unpacked dishes, put books away. Ordered phone. Nite: Sam and Harry R. took trunks and pans over. Tony came over and showed her the flat.”

Friday May 19, 1939. “Straightened up the flat. Marc brought Eve and Sam home–crab and prawns for dinner. Marc back later with sherry–quite an evening. Our first nite at 4320 Fulton. Ruth called from Santa Monica.

Street Scene Chinatown

Saturday May 20, 1939. “Bought a lot of odds and ends for the house. Jeanne and I picked up Sam at two and had noodles in Chinatown. Back home then Jeanne and I went to the show. Back home and eats. Then to Reilly’s for one drink.”

Sunday May 21, 1939. “Moved everything today. Was charged for cleaning! Tony and Phil over late afternoon. Carola and Joe came in about 10:30. Sat up for short time drinking sherry.”


Monday May 22, 1939. “Refrigerator works! Had the car greased, oil change, etc $9.15 Jeanne and Carola out. Back with tennys, and out again this evening. Sam home at nearly 9 PM.”


Tuesday May 23, 1939. “Party! Cerwins, Hughes, MacHenry and gal, Harry Lerner and gal. First at Mark Hopkins…”


“To the Blue Fox…”

“La Conga…”

Finocchio3 Finocchios4
“There was a fight at Finocchios…”


“Club 440…”

“Vanessi’s. Met Rena Borzage and brother. Swell time. Home at 2 am.”


Diary of Helen Hussey

Found A Place

4320 Fulton

Tuesday May 9, 1939. “House hunted. Found a place on Fulton that I think we’ll take. Nite at Tony’s.”

Wednesday May 10, 1939 “Rented 4320 Fulton. Will move on the 20th when rent starts. Wrote to Ruth. Picked Jeanne up after school.”

Thursday May 11. “Took Bijou to the park-nice-foggy. To the library. Bought shelf paper-out to the flat after meeting Jeanne. Nite-read+radio.”


Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery south of San Francisco in Colma. The 1909 view after the earthquake, and the view today.

Friday May 12, 1939. “Took Gen to Woodlawn. Met Jeanne after school and went to Foster’s for tea. Took Gen downtown and met Sam. Stopped and got crabs at Fisherman’s wharf. Nite-sherry.

1 Columbus

The 1939 City Directory lists Jacopetti’s Restaurant at 1 Columbus Street. It’s tough to tell for sure this is it. A number 1 appears, but numbers got moved around sometimes in the wake of major redevelopment. This site is across from Transamerica and other huge new buildings.

Saturday May 13, 1939 “With Sam + Marc to Jacopetti’s. To Aquatic Park. To the new flat. At nite Eve joined us, and to Vanessi’s. Then John’s Rendezvous, Izzy’s + William Tell House. At home Jeanne had rolling chair boy there, and we took him home. Bed about 3.


Helen has mentioned the rolling chairs before. I haven’t found much about them–except in movie footage you can see them. You get pushed around the fair in a rolling chair by a rolling chair boy! At 6:20 in this film you can see. The whole film is worth having a look.

Sunday May 14, 1939 “Carola here. We went to Aquatic Park + Fisherman’s Wharf. Furniture for the new flat will be coming on Wednesday. Jeanne gave me a fishnet turban and a giraffe lapel pin.”



Diary of Helen Hussey

Of Mice And Men

An ongoing series illustrating the diary of my grandmother Helen Hussey. Current entries: The San Francisco Sojourn 1939-1940.GoldenGateExpo5 Courtesy of Bjorn PaleniusGoldenGateExpo4c

Saturday April 29, 1939. “Another bad day! In bed most of the day-got up in late afternoon. Sam and I drove to the beach and Presidio. Jeanne went to the Fair. Ruth sent $100. Nite at Apt. 6. Reilly’s.
200 Market_Reilly's

Reilly’s is listed in the 1939 San Francisco directory under Restaurants at 200 Market Street. The Google Street View indicates whatever was there in 1939 is long gone.


Sunday April 30, 1939. “Drove to the beach and the Presidio and to Fisherman’s Wharf-to Chinatown for dinner Old Chinatown-Magic Kettle. Nite: radio and read.” Couldn’t find anything on the Magic Kettle.


Before and after pictures of the Geary Theater following the 1989 Earthquake.
Monday May 1, 1939. “Jeanne and I to the Golden Gate Theater to see Maureen O’Sullivan picture. Nite to Chinatown for dinner with Sam. Then Jeanne and I went to the Geary to see “Of Mice And Men.” Splendid.

belgian_spring_madness_linen_HP01362_L as Smart Object-1

The English and Belgian version of the Spring Madness poster

Friday May 5, 1939. “Walked in the park early. Picked up Jeanne after school, watch street broadcast. Met Sam and stopped at Fisherman’s Wharf for crabs. Delicious! Nite to the Library.”

Saturday May 6, 1939 “Went to town with Jeanne. In the afternoon to see “Our Town.” Fine! Met Sam and Marc, Skimmy and Eve-To Vanessi’s, John’s Rendezvous, etc. Home at 6 AM.


John’s Rendezvous was at 50 Osgood Place, on the left. It’s a good bet in 1939 it looked a lot more like it is on the right hand side of Osgood Place.

Sunday May 7, 1939 “To The Fair with Tony-met Gert there. To a Fashion Show, the Press Club,  and Dinner at Island Club. Sam went over but couldn’t find me.”


The Press Club Building, right, is listed in the 1939 Directory as 449-453 Powell.

Monday May 8, 1939. “Lazy Day. Over to Reilly’s at nite.”

Diary of Helen Hussey

Fireman Brought Me Home

An ongoing series illustrating the diary of my grandmother Helen Hussey. Current entries: The San Francisco Sojourn 1939-1940.


Sunday April 16, 1939. “Jeanne and I to the Fair. Very Windy. Saw redwood boxes at the Redwood Empire section. Listened to marimbas. Saw Juan Mertins for a short time. Home about ten.

400px-Louis-Roper as Smart Object-1 LewisRoper copy

Monday April 17, 1939 “Reported an accident. Two cops came-made it a lot of bother. Picked up Jeanne after school. Nite: Joe Lewis knocked out Jack Roper after 2 min + 20 seconds in first round. ”

Thursday April 20, 1939 “Received $50 from Santa Monica. Went downtown. Paid phone bill. Bought hat, gloves, hose + a girdle. To the library and Clement Street. Heavy fog. ”

Friday April 21, 1939 “Quiet day. Wrote letters and sent money orders. Apartment agent here-will try to locate us a place. Phoned Tony. Sam gone to the store for wine. Foggy day.”

BrazilianCoffeeMatchCover BrazilianCoffeeMatchCover2

Saturday April 22, 1939 “Jeanne and I to the Fair. Free coffee at Brazil pavilion. Jeanne to the dance at nite with the Salvidor Commissioner. Met Pete Brescido from Santa Monica. Sam and I sat up wining.”

Sunday April 23, 1939 “Sam and I to the Park. Saw the W.P. A. art exhibit. Marvelous! Nite: Jeanne, Sam, and I up late drinking Collins.”

Monday April 24, 1939 “Nice day. Walked to the beach. Back to school for Jeanne. Letters from Gen + Francisco. Pete Breceda over at nite.”

Tuesday April 25, 1939 “Letter and money from Ruth. Went to town and bought a sweater, etc… Nite to Tony’s. Home + wine.”

ChineseVillageTorutuneTelling Birds3

Wednesday April 26, 1939 “Jeanne and I to the fair. To the Chinese Village and Fortune Telling Bird. On the ferry home sat with Juan Mertins and Carlos. Met the Guatemala Commish. Home About 9:30.”

ChineseVillageTorutuneTelling Birds

Thursday April 27, 1939 “Met Sam at Marcs. then met Ruth + to Vanessis. After several drinks met Jerry + Marie there. Later Sam and I to Sinaloa + Izzy’s. Total blank after, until coffee in the fire station.”

Friday April 28, 1939 “Fireman brought me home. In bed most of the day. Felt horrible.”