History and Memorabilia | Erie Pennsylvania

The History of the City and County of Erie, Pennsylvania.

Bob Hope's Marriage License

Hope's first, but short-lived marriage was to his vaudeville partner, Grace Louise Troxell, whom he married in January 1933. The following year in 1934, Hope married Dolores (DeFina) Reade, who had been one of his co-stars on Broadway. Both marriages were reported as to have taken place in Erie, but the only marriage license on file at the Erie County Courthouse for Bob Hope shows Hope was married in Erie on January 25, 1933, when he was 29 to his first wife Grace Louise Troxell. The license lists his given name Leslie T. Hope, and it lists his bride as Grace L. Troxell, a 21-year-old from Chicago who worked with Hope as a showgirl on vaudeville. An Erie alderman married them.

The New York Daily News listed that Dolores Reade and Bob Hope were married in Erie on February 19, 1934, but there is no record of the marriage in Erie. Hope was a secretive man, especially regarding his relationships with women, he most likely he wanted to keep the location of his marriage to Delores Reade a secret, so as to keep the availability of the marriage certificate out-of-reach of the press. Having been married in Erie once before, giving Erie as the location of his second marriage was most likely seen to be a plausible location that would be accepted without dispute at the time.

Hope had a reputation as a womanizer and continued to see other women in spite of his marriage. In 1949 while Hope was in Dallas on a publicity tour for his radio show, he met starlet Barbara Payton, a contract player at Universal Studios, who at the time was on her own public relations jaunt. Shortly thereafter, Hope set Payton up in an apartment in Hollywood. The arrangement soured as Hope was not able to satisfy Payton's definition of generosity and her need for attention. Hope paid her off to end the affair quietly. Payton later revealed the affair in an article printed in July 1956 in Confidential magazine. Hope was at times a mean-spirited individual with the ability to respond with a ruthless vengeance when sufficiently provoked; His advisers counseled him to avoid further publicity by ignoring the Confidential expose. Barbara's revelations caused a minor ripple and then quickly sank without causing any appreciable damage to Bob Hope's legendary career. According to Arthur Marx's Hope biography The Secret Life of Bob Hope, Hope's subsequent long-term affair with actress Marilyn Maxwell was so open that the Hollywood community routinely referred to her as Mrs. Bob Hope.

Bob Hope’s Marriage Certificate (1933)
Bob Hope’s Marriage License Application (1933)

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"A Mother's Farewell" Compliments of Firch Bakery

Megan Reichel Last, of Erie, was going through some family mementos when she found a well preserved poster from the Firch Baking Company. The back of the poster contains a 12-month calendar from 1919, that says that the poster was reproduced from a painting by Frederick L. Stoddard.

War posters, often called propaganda, was the governments way to rally the American people to war. The government didn’t have time to waste while its citizens made up their minds about joining the fight. How could ordinary Americans be convinced to participate in the war “Over There,” as one of the most popular songs from the era of the “First War” described it? The answer: advertise.

Posters — which were so well designed and illustrated that people collected and displayed them in fine art galleries — possessed both visual appeal and ease of reproduction. They could be pasted on the sides of buildings, put in the windows of homes, tacked up in workplaces, and resized to appear above cable car windows and in magazines. And they could easily be reprinted in a variety of languages.

To merge this popular form of advertising with key messages about the war, the U.S. government’s public information committee formed a Division of Pictorial Publicity in 1917. The chairman, George Creel, asked Charles Dana Gibson, one of most famous American illustrators of the period, to be his partner in the effort. Gibson, who was president of the Society of Illustrators, reached out to the country’s best illustrators and encouraged them to volunteer their creativity to the war effort.

Many businesses, in the first and second war, voluntary created posters of their own that they would hang in the windows of their businesses. Many businesses would pass out posters as gifts.

The Firch Baking Company gave them out as calendars after the first war had ended. It took a while for these posters to be made and the Firch Baking Company had already placed their order for new posters, for the year 1919, before the war ended on November 11, 1918. When they received the posters, rather than discarding them, they passed them out. At the time it was most likely thought of, by the public, as passing out souvenirs from the war; and not wasting money and perfectly good calendars, from the company’s prospective. In retrospect, it can be seen as a tribute.

A great number of men was lost in that war, which was a trench war. The symbolism may seem strange by today standards, putting a poster out about the lord protecting our boys and their families, when America is counting its dead, but I think it was meant to mean that the lord will continue watch over the mothers who have lost their sons.

Frederick Lincoln Stoddard (1861-1940) was an American artist born in Coaticook, Quebec, Canada. Stoddard studied in Paris and at the St. Louis School of Fine Art. He was a member of the North Shore Art Association and the Salmagundi Club, and exhibited throughout the early 20th century. He was also known for Fresco and had several works at The City Hall Rotunda of St. Louis, and Eastern District High School at Williamsburg. He worked in New York but spent summers in Mount Kisco, New York.

Megan Reichel Last, of Erie, was going through some family mementos when she found a well preserved poster from the Firch Baking Company.
Megan Reichel Last, of Erie, was going through some family mementos when she found a well preserved poster from the Firch Baking Company.

The back of the poster contains a 12-month calendar from 1919, that says that the poster was reproduced from a painting by Frederick L. Stoddard.
The back of the poster contains a 12-month calendar from 1919, that says that the poster was reproduced from a painting by Frederick L. Stoddard.

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