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The Rosenberg Library Collection - Oleanders (1931)

Galveston and Texas History Center - Rosenberg Library

Silent | 1931

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  •  Exterior of what is possibly the Sportsman’s Club, a short-lived local attraction 
  •  Oleanders in bloom 
  •  Beach-side swimming pool 
  •  Jean Sealy 
  •  George Sealy III 
  •  Nesting swans 
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  • George Sealy Jr. ... George Sealy Jr.
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This 1930s home movie captures members of the Sealy family in Galveston, including prominent businessman George Sealy Jr.; his wife, Eugenia; and their two eldest children, Jean and George. The family first attends an event in town. Later, they retreat to an opulent beach-side home, whereabouts unknown. While the footage appears black and white to the human eye, the film is actually shot in color on a film stock called Kodacolor. Accessing the color hidden on the film, however, requires specialized technology that most films laboratories do not possess. TAMI hopes to raise the necessary funds to outsource the process of decoding the color information and thereby preserve the film as it was originally shot.
Born on December 13, 1880, in Galveston, George Sealy Jr. was the eldest son of George and Magnolia Wallis Sealy, one of Galveston's wealthiest families. After serving in World War I, he married Eugenia Polk Taylor of San Antonio on November 10, 1923. The couple had three children. 
Sealy followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a prominent businessman in Galveston, serving as an executive or board member of countless corporations, from the Galveston Cotton Concentration Company to Hutchings-Sealy Bank to the Gulf Transfer Company. He also was the commissioner of finance for the city of Galveston. Among his many civic contributions to the city, however, Sealy is perhaps best remembered for his work to establish Galveston as "The Oleander City." In addition to cultivating more some 60 different varieties himself, Sealy also shipped more than 800,000 plants to the island during World War II, and proceeded to give them out for free to residents, visitors, and servicemen stationed at Fort Crockett. He also sponsored an oleander festival and parade. 
Sealy died of pneumonia on November 4, 1944, while on a trip to New York.