BAKER Gladys Pearl born MONROE
Also named Gladys Mortenson then Gladys Eley.
Date of birth : May 27, 1902, Porfirio Diaz, Mexico (previously the city was named Piedras Negras).
Date de décès : March 11, 1984, Gainesville, Florida.
Places of living
1910 : 2440 Boulder Street, with her mother Della.
1912 : 324 bis South Hill Street, Los Angeles (at her mother's second husband home Lyle Graves).
1916 : 26 Westminster Avenue,Venice (California, south of Santa Monica), with her mother.
1917 : 26 Westminster Avenue, Venice (California, south of Santa Monica), with John Baker.
June 1921 : 46 Rose Avenue, Venice, with her mother.
Summer 1923 : 1211 Hyperion Avenue ()(now Silver Lake, Los Angeles), East Hollywood, with Grace McKee.
1926 : 5454 Wilshire Boulevard.
1927 : 549 East Rhode Island, Hawthorn, with her mother.
1945 : 11348 Nebraska Avenue.
1953 à 1967 : Rockhaven Sanatorium 2713 Honolulu Avenue, Verdugo City, Glendale District, California.
Tel : CHurchill 9-2838.
End of her life : Collins Court Home for aged people : 4201 S.W 21 Place, Gainesville, Florida.
StoryHer parents were Della Mae (born Hogan) and her father Otis Elmer Monroe.
Spring 1903 : her parents settled in Los Angeles where her father had found a better paid job at the Pacific Electric Railway.
They lived in a one-room small bungalow, 37th West Street (south zone of downtown).
Between 1903 et 1909, they lived in not less than 11 houses or furnished apartments.
In 1908, Otis health broke up in an alarming fasteness. His memory became erratic, his answers often irrelevant.
He suffered of violent headaches and his behaviour became more and more neglected.
Some temper tantrum, which scared Della
and the children alternated with tear crisis and he was seized by
violent tremors, sometimes followed by attacks.
July 22, 1909, without having left his hospital bed during 9 months, Otis died. He was 43 years old.
Terrified maybe by the dazzling mental decline of her husband, Della told her children that their father had became insane, maybe because of alcohol, maybe because of his chaotic life.
However, the medical file given to her after Otis death, clearly explained that he had died from an organic disease and not from a mental illness. Yet, Della, Gladys and Marion were intimately convinced that their husband and father, who died of an infection which had destroyed his nervous cells, had been killed by insanity.
March 17, 1912 : Della, her mother, married Lyle Graves, switchman in chief at the Pacific Electric, where he had worked with Otis.
November 1912 : Della left the marital home with her two children, Galdys and Marion, and lived in a furnished flat.
Christmas 1912 : she returned to Graves, apparently because she hadn't any resources anymore. But, instead the presents Lyle gave to the children, the reconciliation didn't last.
May 1913 : Della definitely left Graves.
January 17, 1914 : the divorce between Della and Graves was pronounced.
End of 1916 : Della rented a room in a private hotel located 26 Westminster Avenue, Venice, south of Santa Monica (California).
The owner of the private hotel was named Jasper Baker and hired her to run his estate while he dealt with a rumpus room on the beach.
Gladys was aged 14; she was brilliant, effusive, coquettish (-); her hair was light brown clear, her voice crystalline and high, easy laughter, and, like Della, was thirst for attention from mature men (not very astonishing for a girl who hadn't know her father a lot).
Gladys fell in love with Jasper, aged 26.
Della Monroe declared that her daughter was aged 18 (but in fact she was hardly 15) under the pretext that there were no real proofs of her real date of birth.
Della, smiley, attended to the wedding then gave to the young grooms the room located at Westminster Street, and quickly moved in Charles Grainger bungalow.
At the beginning of her wedding, Gladys was a happy young married woman :
November 10, 1917 : birth of Robert Kermit Baker (called Jack).
July 30, 1919 : birth of Berniece Inez Gladys.
If the fact that Gladys had been pregnant during her wedding which had happened before the legal age would have been discovered, Jasper would have risked a trial for statutory rape.
With Della address mentionned as her own, this meant Della's agreement, or at least that she presented herself as responsible for Gladys and her children.
Her father's death, the emotional fickleness of her mother didn't compel Gladys to stability.
She didn't seem to look for a conformist home.
Quickly tired of motherhood and its demands, she prefered confide her children to her neighbours so she could go to balls and parties on the beach.
On his side, her husband worked during long hours as salesman.
June 20, 1921 : Gladys asked the divorce for "extreme cruelty and extreme mental cruelty (...)" :
Jasper Baker replied by accusing Gladys of indecent and lascivious behavior.
1921 or March 1922 : she left the marital home and rented a bungalow at 46 Rose Avenue, Venice, she shared with her mother.
Gladys signed the lease in the name of Della Monroe, where she agreed to sublet two of the rooms, to be paid as manager and to deposit 100$ a month to the owners, Adele Weinhoff and Susie Noel.
End of June 1922 : the last rent-check hadn't been mailed. Then, there was an argument between Gladys and Della, blaming each other to waste the money. Because both of them hadn't any job, the main part of their income was given by Charles Grainger, the other part consisting of a small amount sent by Jasper Baker.
Their short room-mates experience ended in July, after an eviction threat.
Della, with Grainger's permission, went to live in an empty bungalow he owned in Hawthorn (working-class suburb, now the Los Angeles International Airport).
May 11, 1923 : the divorce was pronounced and Gladys obtained the care of her children ().
At the Consolidated Film Industries, she became friend with a supervisor, Grace McKee :
End of summer 1923 : Gladys and Grace McKee shared an apartment at 1211 Hyperion Avenue, East Hollywood.
They were authentics "Flappers", those young women of the roaring twenties who, thanks to the right ot vote they'd just obtained, had décided to appropriate themselves the same social and sexual liberties as the men enjoyed.
In their manner, they just imitated the stars they saw every day, at work.
1924 : on Grace McKee's advice, Gladys dyed her hair in red :
1924 : Gladys returned again in Kentucky to see her children, but they had become strangers to her. She went back, leaving them to the permanent care of their father.
Her carelessness maybe inspiring her guiltiness and regret, she would rarely try to get in touch with them.
Robert never saw his mother again (he died aged 16) and she would see Berniece again after several decades.
Summer 1924 : she met Martin Edward Mortenson, a meterman at the Southern Califonria Gas Company.
The circumstances of their meeting are unknown.
He was immediatly attracted by Gladys spell, her mischievous attitude, her sense of humor and her nature without complex.
Moreover, being educated as a good Lutheran, he was very impressed by Gladys interest for religion.
But he couldn't doubt at all nor about the youth of this passion for spiritual things, neither about its short-lived character.
This year, Gladys sometimes attended to the Christian Science Church services. As always, Grace McKee's experiences were shared by Gladys, but none of these two women considered to devote themselves to faith.
For Mortenson, Gladys was the ideal woman. On her side, she thought he was a handsome guy, generous, stable and with a very flattering jealousy. He looked older than his age and wore a discret scar.
So probably unconsciously, he seemed to have for her something of her own father. Anyway, she might have looked around, there wasn't any reason to refuse his marriage proposal and a more safer life.
Unfortunately, Gladys was incapable to confine herself to the faithfulness bounded by the holy matrimony.
As she would tell later to Grace McKee, life with Mortenson was appropriate, safe and boring above all.
May 26, 1925 : she left the marital home and returned to live with Grace McKee.
She also tied again with Gifford.
Edward Mortenson tried several times to get in touch again with her. He waited, full of hopes, but Gladys didn't answer to his many reconciliation attempts, he resolved to request the divorce( )(because "disregarding the solemnity of her marriage vows, wilfully and without cause deserted him").
The divorce was granted to him on August 15, 1928.
End of 1925 : Gladys learned she was pregnant.
Separated from his husband and emmeshed in the divorce formalities, she went back to her mother's home to have some support.
Della reacted badly to her daughter's situation; she ignored her daughter's wails and crying and went to a trip in South-East Asia she had scheduled for a long time, with Charles Grainger, who had been sent there by Shell company for professionnal reasons.
At 9.30 AM she gave birth to Norma Jeane; the doctor who made her born was Dr Herman M.Beerman.
Her stay at the hospital was paid with a fundraising done by her work colleagues.
On the birth certificate, she made written Edward Mortenson, baker and with an unknown residence
Athough Mortenson had asked for divorce because she had left the marital home, he was still legally married to Gladys and so legally Norma Jeane's father, unless he could refute it.
During 7 years, they didn't live together.
December , 1926 : Norma Jeane was baptized by Ster Aimee Semple McPherson, at the Hawthorn Foursquare
At the beginning of this year, Della's heart began to fail and she suffered from sereal severe respiratory infections.
She was totally dependant on Gladys who, despite the extra trolley transportto go to her job, had settled at her home (the Consolidated Film Industries had settled far on Santa Monica Boulevard and Gladys needed two changes in trolley).
End of spring : Della was in bad condition; her respiratory problems were worsened by her heart disease evolution, which dropped her in a deep nervous breakdown.
The drugs only allayed her occasionally.
Between the intervals, as many sick people affected by cardio-respiratory problems, she drifted in pleasant reveries, delirium and some moments of total exhilaration. Gladys couldn't keep her from thinking of the whimsical behaviour of her father, during his last years.July 1927 : Della was convinced that it was the end of her life. The guiltiness and the memories alternated with hallucinations : her parents, Tilford and Jenny Hogan had buried the hatchet, she told Gladys. They would rescue her and bring her back to her home.
August 15, 1928 : the divorce with Edward Mortenson was pronounced.
1929 : Gladys learned by some friends from Ohio, that a man named Martin Edward Mortenson had been killed in a motorcycle crashed-accident.
She settled at the Bolenders to take care of Norma Jeane who suffered of whooping cough.
During this year, she removed Norma Jeane from the Bolenders, after she had found her in an extreme distress condition and much disonsolate because one of the neighbours had killed her dog Tippy.She lived with Norma Jeane at 6021 Afton Place, not far from the Hollywood studios and still worked at the Columbia Pictures.
Gladys and Norma Jeane had the 2 bedrooms upstairs and shared with the Atkinson the kitchen and the bathroom.
May 29, 1933 : Gladys learned that her maternal grand-father, Tilford Hogan, had committed suicide by hanging himself. This event and the responsability of a house she couldn't afford and a child she didn't know how to take care of, led Gladys to a depression and the prescribed drugs didn't help her; because her father and her mother were dead in a mental institution, she was convinced that her own mental health was in dangerJanuary 1934 : the Atkinson faced with an hysteria attack; they called an ambulance which brought Gladys by force to the Los Angeles General Hospital.
January 15, 1935 : she was declared definitely insane (paranoïd schizophrenia) by the doctors from the Norwalk State Hospital, where her own mother was deadd severla years earlier. The surgeon general report declared : "Her illness is characterised by religious preoccupations and a deep depression and some excitation; this condition seems to be chronic".
March 25, 1935 : Grace McKee became her legal guardian (decision of the Superiori Court of the State of
- 60$ : money in bank
- 90$ insurance checks received
- one small radio
- 350$ due for the Plymouth
- 200$ due for the baby grand piano.
Grace resold the car to its previous owner, sold the piano for 235$ and made sure to resell the house credit.
September 28, 1936 : Gladys bank account status under Grace McKee responsability :
1938 : after an attempt to escape from the Norwalk State Hsopital, she was transfered to the Agnew State Asylum (specialized in her type of affection) in San José, near San Francisco; she justified her escape by a serie of phone calls she pretended to have received from Edward Mortenson.
Since that moment, Norma Jeane did'nt see her mother a lot.
Winter 1938 : Gladys wrote a letter to her daughter Berniece. Because she didnt' know where she was living, Gladys had sent the letter at Jasper's parents, Flat Lick; they were deceased and the postman gave the letter to Jasper's brother who was still in Flat Lick, who, on his turn, sent the letter in Pineville where Jasper lived from now on.
In this letter, Gladys told Berniece that she had a half-sister, aged 12, whose name was Norma Jeane. Gladys gave her the Goddard adress where Norma Jeane was living (Grace McKee has married Ervin Goddard in 1935).The letter was written from the Agnew State Hospital where Gladys was still hospitalized. She begged her to help her to get out of this institution and also gave her the adress of her aunt (Della Monroe's sister), Dora Hogan Graham, who lived in Portland, Oregon.
1945 : Dora Graham stepped in favor of Galdys with the authorities and to be allowed of going out, Gladys agreed to live for at least one year with her aunt Dora in Portand.
Summer 1945 : Galdys had left the Agnew State Hospital and lived with DOra (the hospital had declared that she wasn't a danger for her or for the others anymore).
Norma Jeane visited her.Dora wrote to Bernice that Gladys seemed to be focused on a Christian Science book, and that she wanted to take care of sick people without the help of the medicine. She wore white clothes, like a nurse. First she had short-term jobs and close to Dora's home, then she accepted some jobs away. Her job consisted of house cleaning work and non medical cares to crippled patients or in recuperation.
April 1946 : Norma Jeane sent her some money so that she could come back in Los Angeles.
They lived together in 2 small rooms rented by Norma Jeane, below "aunt" Ana Lower's apartment, on Nebraska Avenue.
August : Berniece decided to go to Los Angeles to visit her mother who had left Portland and had setteld with Norma Jeane.She arrived at the Burbank Airport with her daughter Mona Rae; Norma Jeane, Grace McKee, ana Lower and Gladys were there to welcome them.
Gladys became obsessed by the Christian
Science; she found out, thanks to Ana Lower "healer practitionner"
skills, the possibilities of the spirit on the illness and devoutly
studied the many books on this suject. She attended the Church services
At the end of the summe, Gladys went back to Oregon.
February 1948 : Galdys was back in Los Angeles; she was a cleaning woman and lived at Ana Lower's home.
April 20, 1949 : Gladys married John Stewart Eley, an electrician, native to Boise, Idaho.
But he hadn't warned Gladys that he was already married and hadn't divorced yet from his previous wife who lived in Boise, Idaho.
They lived in Los Angeles.
He died aged 62, on April 23, 1952, from a heart affection.
1951 : Inez Melson, Marilyn new manager, did, on Marilyn's request, regular visites to Gladys, to make sure that she was well while she went from an institution to another.
1952 : Inez Melson persuaded Norma Jeane to nominate her as Gladys legal guardian.
April 23, 1952, Gladys husband died.
Shorty after, Galdys wrote to her daughter :
Please, my dear daughter, I wish I had some news from you. I only have worries her, and I'd like to leave as soon as possible. I wish I have my child's love instead of her hate.
Tenderly, your mother".
February 9, 1953 : on Grace advice, Gladys entered once again in the hopsital, in a much more comfortable institution, the Rockhaven Sanatorium, Verduga City. Marilyn payed 300$ a month for the charges.
1959 : Marilyn insured definitely her mother financial future time with a trust fund.Letter from Gladys to Marilyn for Christmas : .
1962 : it is reported that she was deeply affected by Marilyn's death and she made several suicide attempts.
1963 : she escaped from the Rockhaven Sanatorium and was found the next day in a church of San Fernando Valley; in her hands a Bible and a Christian Science prayers book.
1967 : she went to live in Florida with her daughter Berniece Miracle.
1970 : she went in a nursing-home.
1980 : Lawrence Cusak became his legal guardian.
She lived her last years in Collins Court Home for aged people (4201 S.W 21 Place, Gainesville, Florida) under the name of Gladys Eley :
March 11, 1984 : Gladys died from a heart attack and was cremated.