Ethel's Rice Graduation Photo 1940
Ethel Alzofon, my grandmother, was born Ethel Girlie Crane Bloomfield on August 6th, 1921 in Laconia, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Minnie Crane and William Bloomfield who were both Jewish immigrants from Russia. The family moved to Houston, Texas in the fall of 1923, where they settled and opened a small grocery store. Ethel was an only child and very close to her parents. She was a extremely bright student, skipped a couple of grades and graduated High School at the age of 14! She enrolled at Rice University, where she excelled and graduated with a high honors and a degree in Chemistry. She was only eighteen years old at graduation and one of the youngest persons to ever graduate from Rice. While at Rice, she took a couple of creative writing courses as well as worked as a reporter in several publications, both on and off campus.

This blog is based on the scrapbook she left behind from her last year at Rice. The scrapbook contains articles dated 1939-1940 and provide an insight to life at Rice from a young woman's perspective. The blog follows the scrapbook in a chronological order and I suggest that if you are a new follower, take the time to read the blog from its inception.

Following graduation, being Jewish and a woman, she suffered from discrimination and found it difficult to get a job in her Chemistry. She worked as a legal secretary and much later on, attended Law School. At the age of twenty-one, she married my grandfather Morris Bogdanow on Oct 4, 1942. Three months later, her father passed away, which was a great loss for her. Morris and Ethel went on to have four wonderful children, three sons and a daughter. The divorced in 1955.

Ethel was a devoted mother. She raised her children as a single parent for many years. She help each of them through collage and several post graduate degrees. She had a large extended family, and kept in touch with scores of cousins. She loved to take photographs and send copies to the family. She was extremely organized labeling her documents, records and letters. After retirement, Ethel relocated to the Boston area where she spent the last five years of her life surrounded with her children and grandchildren. She died peacefully in her home in 1996, at the age of seventy-five.

Since I became interested in genealogy, I've been researching Ethel's life, along with many of her ancestors. As the family historian, I've inherited a treasure trove of records, photo albums and miscellaneous photos from my grandmother. In her files, I discovered nine chapters from a memoir she began but never completed. In the memoir, she mentioned the creative writing classes as well as her brief career as a reporter. Until recently, I only found a few articles attached to a photo album from 1939. The rest of her writing was presumed lost.

In December of 2012, my mother discovered a scrapbook which belonged to Ethel. It contains close to three hundred articles most likely written by her. The articles are dated but none of them list the name of the author. Apparently, it was not customary in 1940 to credit the reporter. I can only assume the reason she collected them and pasted neatly into the scrapbook, is that she wrote them herself. It is possible that she also pasted other articles that she enjoyed.

Ethel's Scrapbook 1939-1940
In addition to the scrapbook, the blog includes supplement materials from Ethel's photo album as well additional articles from the Thresher, the Rice student publication where she also worked, the Rice Year book and other external sources. I invite you to join me on this journey of getting to know another part of this amazing woman!

For more stories about Ethel, visit my other blog, Past-Present-Future: