She was born Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, inBrooklyn, New York. She was the daughter of a bricklayer. When she was 4, Ruby's mother Catherine, pregnant with her sixth child, was pushed from a streetcar by a drunken passenger, which killed her almost immediately. A few months later her father Byron Stevens ran away to Panama digging the Canal, leaving her sister Mildred to support the children as a chorus girl. She took Ruby on the road, whetting her appetite to be a dancer.
She went to work at the local telephone company for $14 a week, but she had the urge to somehow enter show business. When not working, she pounded the pavement in search of dancing jobs. The persistence paid off. Barbara was hired as a chorus girl for the princely sum of $40 a week, where she was to start her movie career, which spanned the period from 1927 until 1964, after which she appeared on television until 1986. She was an extremely versatile actress who could adapt to any role.
Workmen digging the sub-basement in the demolished White House in 1950.
Between 1948 and 1952 the White House has been totally reconstructed. Only the outher walls remained, the whole interior was removed and completely replaced.
But as a 1962 Saturday Evening Post article noted: All the mellow feeling of the old house gave way to a stark atmosphere of solidity. As one Washington columnist observed, “The White House is safe, all right, but it has completely lost its charm. That restoration took the heart out of the building. When those floors creaked, you knew Lincoln had been walking there before you. Now it has no more appeal than the Pentagon."
The White House renovation, 17 May 1950. A steel structure is built within the exterior shell.
The All-Russia Exhibition Center (called VVC or VDNKh). It was open in 1939 as an agricultural exhibition, but later the complex was extended and in 1959 it was re-open under the name Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. There are about 400 buildings. Since my hotel was closeby I visited it one evening (while all the other participants of my travel group were attending some folk dancing).
The 'Friendship of Nations' fountain, built in 1954 as a symbol of the Soviet Union: it contains 16 female sculptures, each representing one of the former Soviet Republics.
The Cosmos pavilion with a real rocket and aircraft.
It surprised me to see so many young people here, it was a pleasant visit. (photos by RfA, 2009)
update: photos of the 75th anniversary celebration