Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 14: Fearless Females: Ethel's Scrapbook

March 14 Prompt— Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

My grandmother Ethel, was in the paper all the time, but not exactly as I portrayed her in this image I created with my Photo2Fun app by Ethel's picture was never on the front page, though she was truly a newsmaker! My grandmother was a reporter, during her years at Rice University (1936-1940). She joined the staff of the Thresher, the weekly student publication at Rice during her sophomore year and worked her way up to associate editor. She also worked as the Rice reporter for the Houston Press (a Scripps Howard paper) during her junior year and the Houston Chronicle during her senior year.

Upon graduation, Ethel finally made the headlines at the Chronicle as one of the youngest students to ever graduate from Rice.

"Ethel Bloomfield, Chronicle Rice correspondent who will receive the bachelor of arts degree Monday, is one of the youngest persons ever graduated from Rice Institue and is the youngest of this year's class.

The 18-year-old Houston girl has won high honors in her four years, including the Lady Geddis award freshman year for an essay concerning relations between England and the United States.

A member of the choral and dramatic clubs, she was on the honor roll in her freshman and junio years and served for two years as associate editor of the Rice Thresher. She also served as president of Menorah Society.

Miss Bloomfield who has been The Chronicle correspondent at the school for more than a year, majored in English and chemistry and for tow years has coached mathematics students. She is a graduate of Sam Houston High School where she topped her class of which she was the youngest, in scholastic honors."

In a chapter she wrote for a memoir writing class, Ethel mentioned her writing brief writing career:

"....I had taken the only two writing courses offered at Rice University, creative writing 101 and 102.... I wanted to study journalism, but Rice didn't offer a course in journalism in the 1930s. The Chronicle liked my work, and my pay averaged about $15 dollars a week, which was very high for that job at that time."

Ever since I discovered Ethel's memoir chapters, I've been looking for samples of her writing with little success. Last December, everything change. My mother, arrived at my home with a gift—a scrapbook she found hidden in a box. The fragile scrapbook belonged to her mother, Ethel, and contains close to THREE HUNDRED newspaper clippings dated 1939-1940! A true Treasure!

The Fearless Females series of blog post, spearheaded by +Lisa Alzo, and especially today's Newsmaker prompt, inspired me to start a new blog, dedicated to my grandmother Ethel. Today, I'm announcing the birth of Ethel's Scrapbook, A Young Reporter at Rice University (1939-1940). The blog will tell the story of the Rice Campus through Ethel's eyes. It will include articles from the scrapbook as well as Ethel's photo collection from the same time period.

I invite you to join me on an exceptional journey as I explore a new side of my grandmother. Come and discover life on a college campus more than seventy years ago, as told by an exceptional young woman!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Shelley! Looking forward to an exciting Journey with you!

  2. I've been reading posts later than this one, and now I come to the story of how you found your treasure trove of articles by your grandmother. I see that she majored in both English and chemistry. She really made her mark! I also read the bit about discrimination against women for the prizes, and somehow, I'm not surprised!

    1. Ehtel's scrapbook does need to be read in order doesn't it? Maybe I should put a note about that! Just a correction Mariann, Ethel did not major in English, she took two creative writing classes only and then worked on her writing through the Writing Club and the various publications she worked at.


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