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09/25/2009

Marguerite P. Justice and the Case of the Missing First Name

September 25, 2009 |  6:40 pm
While researching the obituary on Marguerite P. Justice, the second woman to serve as a police commissioner in Los Angeles, I set out to find out who was the first but, amazingly, her given name was nowhere in our files. Even the obituary The Times ran on her when she died in 1950 referred to her as “Mrs. Curtis S. Albro.” She may have been “one of the city’s most distinguished women,” but she merited only six paragraphs.

Although Times writers and editors may have been influenced by mid-20th century conventions, it struck me as oddly hilarious that the relatively powerful “Mrs. Curtis S. Albro”  seemed destined to be remembered in our archives by only her husband’s name.

Creative Googling led me to “Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty,” a 2001 biography by Dennis McDougal. 

There, on Page 194, was my answer: Agnes Albro, wife of Security Pacific Bank manager Curtis Albro.

She had died of breast cancer — also omitted from her newspaper obit — on July 30, 1950.

Apparently, at the time of her death, “Mrs. Curtis S. Albro” was estranged from her husband.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

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