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The Ravel Films, no. 2 - Rita's 6th Birthday (1952)

Benita Ravel Neumann

Silent | 1952

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  •  Family gathered together and posing for the camera 
  •  Children gathered to celebrate Rita's 6th birthday 
  •  Rita blowing out her birthday cake candles 
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This home movie from El Paso's Ravel family captures the family posing for a portrait with new baby Elise, followed by scenes of Rita's 6th birthday party where children sit around a table in the backyard for a meal and cake.

Dr. Vincent Ravel was a lifetime El Pasoan born to two Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. He graduated from El Paso High School before attending medical school at Baylor University, doing post-graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, then returning to El Paso to become one of the first radiologists in the region to be certified by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. He also served six years in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He was a pillar of the El Paso community at large, as well as a Jewish community leader. He was a member of B'nai Zion Synagogue, a director of radiology at two El Paso hospitals, and served on the boards of the El Paso Symphony, the El Paso Museum of Art, Liberty Hall, and the El Paso Coliseum. He donated a large collection of Judacia to the University of Texas at El Paso, which remains one of the most prominent Judacia collections in Texas.

Ravel's father, Joseph Ravel, opened a pawn shop with his nephew, Sam Ravel, in 1904 where they once sold guns to Pancho Villa. That and other rich stories from the Ravel family's early days in Texas can be found in this oral interview from the UTEP Library's Special Collections.