Leonard and David McKay Gallery at Pasetta House

Shirlie Montgomery: Picturing San José Since 1938

Shirlie photographing wrestler

Shirlie working at a wrestling match held in the San Jose Civic Auditorium, April 1956. (Shirlie Montgomery Collection, History San Jose)


Saturday & Sunday
11:00 am to 4:00 pm


Pasetta House at History Park

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For more information call 408.287.2290

Exhibit runs April 14th through December 14th

Shirlie Montgomery led a colorful life. Her love of photography, sports, and journalistic photography lent her a unique eye on history. Born on Chapman Street in San José in 1918, she was the only child of Rea Montgomery. Her dad, an avid sportsman, passed along his love of boxing and wrestling matches. Montgomery was the great niece of T. S. Montgomery, a local realtor and developer, who donated the land to the city where the Civic Auditorium stands today.

As a professional photographer, Montgomery pointed her 4×5 Speed Graphic camera on behalf of the San José Mercury, the San Francisco Examiner, freelancing, even working events for Lou’s Village. Through her career she met celebrities, politicians, and professional wrestlers.

She passed away in 2012, leaving thousands of photographs from her collection, most of which are in the Collection Center of History San José. This exhibit will be augmented by photos from private collectors, personal items owned by Shirlie, and other ephemera of old San José.

Special for Members: Preview reception for the Exhibit April 13th, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

About the Gallery

The Pasetta House was moved to History Park in 1985. Thanks to a generous gift from the Pasetta family, restoration of the house began in 2004; the building was dedicated in 2005. Leonard McKay was instrumental in planning this space as a gallery with climate control and lighting that would meet museum standards suitable for exhibiting art and artifacts. This generosity has afforded History San José the opportunity to host multiple exhibits and to display countless works from its collection. History San José wishes to thank these families for their significant and permanent contribution to History Park and to the community.

Original copyright 2011+ History San José | All rights reserved