Irene (Jeglum) Rinaudo (1912–1993) was my grandmother Dorothy Ruth (McMurry) Black’s first cousin, the middle daughter of Dorothy’s father’s younger sister Maud “May” Belle (McMurry) Jeglum. Her full name at birth was Lucy Irene Jeglum, but she went by her middle name Irene throughout her life. Irene was born on July 24, 1912, in Irma, Alberta, Canada. She was the middle child of three daughters born to Melvin Elmer Jeglum (1884–1965) and May Belle (McMurry) Jeglum (1888–1931). Her older sister was Ella May (Jeglum) Moore (1911–1986), who I was lucky enough to correspond with in the 1980s, as she was an active family historian. Her younger sister was Verna Mabel (Jeglum) Arthur (1914–1990).
My cousin Linda sent me a few of her mother Irene’s albums and photos to digitize and research. This post is on the first album I’ve digitized—a photo album of Irene’s life from about 1924 to 1928. This album covers Irene’s life from when she was 12 years old and living in Nampa, Idaho, until she was 16 years old and living in Porterville, California. During these four years, she also visited several sites in central and southern California.
The album measures 5¾ by 8 inches and has two cardboard covers stamped with a leather-like texture. It contains 19 black paper pages covered with photos and captioned with a fountain pen in white ink. The cover has an embossed title: “The Favorite Portrait Album,” and the whole album is bound together by two dark-brown laces.
The inside front cover has Irene’s inscription and a cartoon portrait, although the ink is faded and a it’s now a bit hard to see:
To make the inscription and portrait easier to see, I’ve enhanced them in the following image:
The inscription reads:
May 19, 1924
Completed April 21, 1928
On the first page are two photos of Irene and her sister Ella on an ostrich-drawn cart at the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm. Irene captioned the photos as taken in Long Beach, California, but the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm was actually in Lincoln Heights, right next to the California Alligator Farm, which they also visited (see the next page).
The captions read:
Long Beach, Calif.
Taken while Lewis Jeglum + family were visiting in Calif. during the winter of 1927–8.
We spent the week end in Los Angeles.
Saturday while at the ostrich farm we took these pictures.
I don’t know who the two men in the Ostrich Farm photos are. Presumably one of the them is Lewis Jeglum, but I have no reference photos of him with which to compare these photos.
Allegator [sic] Farm
same week end while in Los Angeles we visited the alegator [sic] farm
This alegator [sic] acted in the play of Mary Pickford in Sparrows.
I find it charming that she referred to motion pictures as plays. Sparrows was a silent film that was released in 1926, when Irene was 14 years old.
The California Alligator Farm was located next door to the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm in Lincoln Heights, and opened in 1907. A silent film of the Alligator Farm was shot in 1927, so just about the same time that the Jeglums visited. You can watch that film here. You can see the alligator ladder pictured below at 2:45–2:51.
On the following page is a photo of 14 people, 12 of whom are identified by initials. Thanks to my cousin Linda, I know that IJ (front, center) is Irene Jeglum (1912–1993), EJ (front left) is Ella Jeglum (1911–1986), VJ (front row, second from right) is Verna Jeglum (1914–1990), HM (front right) is Harriet Hoyt (Chilson) McMurry (1855–1935; my great-great-grandmother), and MJ (back left) is Maud “May” Belle (McMurry) Jeglum (1888–1931).
I was able to identify five other individuals in this photo, all members of the Humble family: C. O. Humble (back row center), his wife Ruth (Borron) Humble (back row, third from left), his daughter Alma Humble (directly in front of Ruth), his daughter Aileen Humble (front row, second from left), and his younger sister Alma Humble (back row, right). C.O. and Ruth were both born in Kansas, but moved to Texas where Alma was born in 1918, and then moved to Idaho where Aileen was born in 1919. This photo is captioned as being taken in 1918 (when Irene would have been 6, but from the ages of the Humble children I think it was more likely to be taken in 1921 or 1922. In support of this, Irene and her two sisters Ella and Verna are also in the photo. Irene appears to be about 8–10, Ella appears to be about 10–12, and Verna appears to be 6–8. Those ages are spot on for a 1921–1922 photo.
The next page is a real photo postcard (RPPC) of the Southern Pacific Depot in Porterville, California. When moving from Nampa, Idaho, to Porterville, Irene’s family would have probably taken the train and arrived at this station.
I could find no matches for this particular postcard, but I would presume it was made in the early-to-mid 1920s.
On the next page is a tintype photograph of Irene and a friend at the 1928 Tulare County Fair. The caption reads:
Gertrude Kronenburg and myself—Taken at the Tulare County Fair in 1928 Tulare Calif.
On the next page is a photo of Irene and her sisters Verna and Ella. Irene’s caption hints that she feels a bit self-conscious about the rural setting of the photo:
Hicks Well I guess
On the next page are two photos of some of the children in her old neighborhood in Nampa, Idaho. Perhaps Irene babysat these children, or maybe she just liked young children?
Reid Kelmer and Jack Mattson. Nampa Idaho age 2 and 2½.
Mrs. Fowler, Betty and Lawana
Nampa, Idaho age 4 and 2
Vera Harris, Nampa Idaho
age 14 graduated from Kenwood Junior Hi
On the next page there were originally three photos, but only one remains affixed to the page.
Velma Duspiva, Nampa Idaho. Graduated from Kenwood Junior Hi. Nampa.
[missing photo] Canada when he was young
[missing photo] Daddy and his gang
Hopefully I’ll find these photos among the loose photos that Linda sent me along with the albums.
“Uncle Al” would have been Melvin Jeglum’s younger brother Almen Olando Jeglum (1886–1963).
Ruth Brady, Freshman chum in Porterville Union High School, Porterville, Calif.
The next page has two photos of a boy and his mother on a donkey in Holister, Idaho.
Will McDowell, Holister, Not such a big load.
A real load and a half. Poor mule. Nellie McDowell, Holister Idaho
The next page has the first of several photos Irene took of the Californian Vegetable Union Ranch. I haven’t been able to find much on the C.V.U. Ranch outside of occasional mentions in Tulare County newspapers. From Irene’s captions, it seems that she either worked there when not in school, or the school had a cooperative arrangement to have students learn farming at the Ranch.
Ducks we raised on the California Vegetable Union Ranch, Woodville, Calif.
Me, Jack Mattson, Ella and Tommy—before we left Nampa to come to Calif.
Wann’a bite? Well so does she
Porterville California Vegetable Union
Patsey, Verna, me.
Another photo of the Californian Vegetable Union Ranch:
Verna, me, Ella, Wove Williams
The Moo Cow moo
The next page has a photo of Irene, a girl who is probably her sister Verna, and a young black bear at Yosemite National Park:
Taken while we were up at Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Another photo of school friends from Nampa, taken at Irene’s junior high school. Note the tall, timber-frame swing set in the background.
Some more from Kenwood Junior High School
Elicia Sacton, Augusta Malory, Vera Harris, [Hirring?]
The next photo was taken in Oakland, California, in 1926. Joy Jeglum was Irene’s first cousin once removed (little 8-year-old Joy was actually the first cousin of Irene’s 42-year-old father Melvin—Melvin and Joy’s Norwegian grandparents had a large family and Melvin was a descendant of their third-born child and Joy was a descendant of their twelfth-born child, hence the wide discrepancy in ages).
Can she dan[c]e. Well I guess.
[erased] Little Dancer
Joy Jeglum, Oakland, California, age 8 years.
The next photo was taken at Irene’s summer camp in the Sequoia National Forest. Camp Sequoia seems to be what is now called Sequoia Lake Summer Camp, in Miramonte, about 45 miles north of Porterville and Woodville.
Come on the water’s fine
Girl Reserve and Camp Fire Girls at Camp Sequoia, Sequoia California
I’m not positive, but the two girls at the center of the photo (see the enlargement below) appear to be Irene and her sister Verna:
The next page has a photo of two girls and their Jack Russell Terrier:
Ruby Piersal, Gertrude Kronenburg
It’s not clear whether the two girls were actually field workers, but my guess is that was just Irene’s way of teasing her friends for having worked in the fields at the California Vegetable Union Ranch. Gertrude and Irene went to the 1928 Tulare County Fair together, as we saw from the tintype earlier in the photo album.
Porterville Union High School, P’ville Calif
A Real Doll
Another freshman chum
On the next page, the captioned photo is no longer affixed to the page:
Better lookin’ this way
Another photo from the California Vegetable Union Ranch:
C.V.U. Ranch, Woodville, Cal.
Ella taking a whiff.
California Vegetable Union Ranch
On the next page, the captioned photo is no longer affixed to the page:
This should be 1828 when they wore long dresses not 1928.
The next photo was taken in late 1915 or early 1916 (the baby Arthur Edgar McMurry was born on March 26, 1915), probably in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:
Aunt Mabel, Arthur, Mrs. Lauther
Years ago. Aunt Mabel, Arthur, Mrs. Lauther
May Lowther (Smith) Cox was Mabel Nellie (Cox) McMurry’s mother, and Arthur McMurry’s grandmother.
Irene’s aunt Mabel probably mailed Irene or her mother both the previous and the next photo of Oscar, Mabel’s husband. Oscar, May Belle, and Frank Ross McMurry (my great-grandfather) were all siblings who grew up together in Olympia, Washington. They kept in touch even as Oscar moved to Alberta, Canada, and May Belle moved to Nampa, Idaho, and then Porterville, California.
Uncle Oscar in the good old days.
The next page shows more of Irene’s school friends in Porterville and Nampa:
Lela Dawson, Neda, Freda, me, Pauline Martin
Another photo from the California Vegetable Union Ranch:
Calif. Veg. Union Ranch.
Verna and First Prise
More of Irene’s school friends from Nampa (not the same tall, timber-frame swings as in an earlier photo of her Kenwood Junior High School friends):
More from Nampa
Grace Hilfer, Dorothy Grant, Ruth Sheffield, Eva Wuff, Dorothy Ely, Velma Duspiva, Everal Parsons
The next page has a photo of Irene and Verna on the steps of an apartment building in Venice, California.
Long beach, Calif
Venice and us.
Verna and I. Not Mexicans.
The street number (143) of the apparent apartment building is shown, and there are two signs announcing this as the “Maryland Apartments,” but no Maryland Apartments currently exists in Long Beach or Venice. I looked up all 46 current addresses in Long Beach and Venice that had a street number of 143, but none of these was the apartment in question. In case Irene was confusing Long Beach and Lincoln Heights, as she did with the Ostrich Farm and the Alligator Farm, I also looked up Lincoln Heights addresses with a street number of 143, but found nothing. The building may have been torn down, or it might be one of 256 buildings elsewhere in Los Angeles with a street address of 143, but for now I’ll stop looking unless I find other clues.
Sure, I said I’d stop looking, but I didn’t. I looked up “Maryland Apartments” in Los Angeles newspapers of the early twentieth century and found that there was indeed a Maryland Apartment building that opened in 1913 in Long Beach, but from the photos in the July 15, 1913, edition of The Long Beach Telegram and The Long Beach Daily News, it’s clear that this wasn’t the same Maryland Apartments in Irene’s photo. The site of this Maryland Apartments was 587 West Ocean Avenue, Long Beach (now destroyed and replaced by the City National Bank building).
All of the mentions of “Maryland Apartments” in California newspapers from 1915 to 1930 were of the 587 West Ocean Avenue apartments, and not the one that Irene is in front of.
Another photo from Irene’s time at Camp Sequoia:
More from Camp Sequoia.
Jewell Bennett, Alice Andrews, Irene Jeglum, Alyce Hubbard
Two more school friends of Irene:
Everal Parsons, Nampa, Ida
Veryl Pellé, Porterville, Cal
Same from all over. Mr. Cox—aunt Mabel, Mr. Humble, Daddy, Alma, Arthur, Aleen, and Grandma
Daddy is Melvin Elmer Jeglum (1884–1965), grandma is Melvin’s mother Marit Larsdtr Jeglum (1864?–1935?), Arthur is Arthur Edgar McMurry (1915–2001), aunt Mabel is Arthur’s mother Mabel Nellie Cox McMurry (1887–1961), Mr. Cox is Mabel’s father Edgar Charles Cox (1855–1928), Mr. Humble is C.O. Humble (1884–?), and Alma and Aileen are Alma Humble (1918–?) and Aileen Humble (1919–?). Standing in front of Arthur with only the top of his head visible is Kenneth McMurry, Arthur’s younger brother.
The next page has a photo of Melvin Jeglum and four Rocky Mountain sheep he’s shot.
Good times come again NO more
On the next page are photos of one of Irene’s elementary school teachers and two of her Nampa school friends:
Fifth grade teacher
Lucile Paris, Mabel Ballik
Three more friends from Nampa, two of who are unidentified:
Come from Nampa “20”
The next page shows a young couple standing next to a large boulder:
Viola Williamson, Cylde Goulding
Is Viola Williamson the “VW” in the group photo on the page after the Alligator Farm photos? I can’t tell from just these two images, but my best guess at this point is that they are not the same woman. So who are Viola Williamson and Clyde Goulding, and why does Irene point out that they’re not married? I wasn’t able to find any record of the two from the 1920s in Idaho, but I did find a 1937 marriage record for Viola Williamson of Nampa, Idaho. She was marrying a W. O. Turnridge who was apparently a widower (he stated he had been married before, but not divorced). Viola indicated that she had never been married before.
On the next page (the last in the album), the captioned photo is no longer affixed to the page:
And finally, there is an inscription on the inside back cover:
As this inscription is hard to read, below is a false-color enhanced version that is somewhat easier to read:
This book was purchased in 1924 and filled up in 1928. The value at the beginning was 19¢ now not under $1,000,000 dollars. It is a very good memoriam for such a small place. At the beginning [empty], look what the rest has made it amount to. Irene
So that’s the first of at least three of Irene (Jeglum) Rinaudo’s photo albums that I hope to digitize and share on this blog.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Let me know what you think, if you disagree with anything I’ve written, if you see clues that I’ve missed, or if you know a part of the story that I might not yet know. Or just say ‘hi’—it’s always nice to hear that someone is interested in these posts.
Thank you Michael for all your diligent work in putting this together. The picture of the family including the Humbles that you and I have discussed is particularly interesting to me. I looked just like my mother at her age in that picture, and she grew up to look exactly like her own mother. My cousin Karen thought May WAS my Mom until she read the caption. Life is never a dull moment.You have inspired me to write about my own life as you are doing. I think it would be a compilation of interesting memories for my sons. Thank you again and again and again.
PS (1) One caption of yours says Verna and Ella were Irene’s older sisters. Verna was the baby. (2) Rinaudo is spelled with an i not and e. (Probably just a typo.)
Thank you for letting me dig into these albums! I look forward to seeing how if the remaining albums can illuminate any of the mysteries left by this first album.
I fixed the typo and the “older sister” mistake—thanks for catching those.
I’m so glad to hear you’re writing your memories down for your sons. They may not know it now, but they and their kids will be so grateful you did.