Shirlie Montgomery: Picturing San José Since 1938

McKay Gallery at the Pasetta House
April 14 – December 14, 2014

The online version of this exhibit has been created in conjunction with Google Cultural Institute. Click to view.

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.

Exhibit Press