Miss Burke’s School – Who was Constance? (For Holly)

Connieopenuse Earlier this week, I found a 1932-1933 Yearbook from Miss Burke’s School for girls at the bookstore in the San Francisco Main Library. I had never heard of the school, but the book was interesting as it has autographs from most of the high school senior girls graduating to a girl named Constance, who the yearbook belonged to. There was no Constance among the senior girls or the faculty, and none of the names of the students from the lower classes are in the yearbook. I became curious about who Constance, who must be long dead by now, was, and also about Miss Burke’s School.

Conniesignituresuse Nearly all of the thirty three graduating seniors had written loving and thoughtful sentiments to “Connie” and I learned from the autograph written by Frances Crosby Beedy at the lower left of the above picture that Constance was a freshman! Wow, when I was a freshman, asking a senior to sign your yearbook was a good way to get punched out! (I get a kick out of what Janice Sanborn in the upper right wrote. I’m going to have to borrow that sometime if I’m ever asked to autograph a yearbook.)

Conniefront This was the building on Jackson Street in the Pacific Heights District where Miss Burke’s School was in 1933. This is now the San Francisco University High School.

Constcourtyarduse The top picture was one of the pages of photographs from Connie’s yearbook. Four of the pictures were taken in the courtyard behind the main entrance. Holly Johnson, the Director of Alumni Relations at San Francisco University High School, was kind enough to send me a photograph of the courtyard today. The yearbook picture at the lower right is the closest to the current picture of the courtyard. The archways seen on the left of the main building, which were also on the other side of the courtyard, have been filled in with additional wings since then.

ConnieMarchtimeuse The March of Time events of the school year are a great time capsule. For instance, on March 9th the Intermediate IV class went to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction on the bridge had only began two months earlier in January of 1933, so this would almost make them pioneers; one of the first groups of people to visit the Golden Gate Bridge! On March 24th, the school “swarmed down Lyon Street” to watch “Old Ironsides” come into the Bay. The USS Constitution did, indeed, sail into the Bay in March of 1933 ; something else I’m just learning from Constance’s yearbook. Check out the link below.


Connieswarmuse This would have been where the school “swarmed down Lyon Street” to get a glimpse of “Old Ironsides”. The building with the white dome is the Palace of Fine Arts. Behind it is the Bay.

Connieintelluse The Intelligence Test and Myths pages show that the girls had a wonderful sense of humor! I love “Work and answer 5 out of the 3 problems given below:”

Connie'spageuse The girls in Constance’s freshman class all signed on one separate page, and they tell us a lot about the young lady, such as that she had a crush on her Dramatics teacher, Ronald Telfer, her “silent love” and she slapped “Jimmy” in the face! I missed it when I first went through the yearbook, but she signed this page. Her name was Constance Crowley!


I found a text on the internet co given in 1994 by a Constance Crowley Bowles entitled ‘A California  Heritage: The Bowles Collection of 18th Century Porcelain’ and plowed through it until I found what I was looking for; Constance Bowles was born in 1919 and started high school at Miss Burke’s School in 1932. There was my girl, and she had still been alive in 1994, bless her heart!

Crowleycloseuse Constance had, indeed, gone far in life, and she only died a little over six months ago in February of 2016. She was 97. The link below has her obituary from SF Gate where this picture of her is from. Rest in peace, Connie.



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